Where to Adopt a Dog, Cat, or Pet in Indianapolis

Are you ready to add a new fur baby to the family? Great! There are numerous safe and reputable animal shelters and rescues in Indy with adorable cats and dogs just waiting for their new forever home.

How do I adopt a pet in Indianapolis, IN?

If you're ready to adopt a pet and make a new addition to your family, there are a few things you'll want to know ahead of time. Each animal shelter or rescue will have its own requirements and adoption process. So before you jump in, check out the typical required steps below.

Age minimum to adopt.

Every shelter has its own age minimum. Sometimes it's 18 years and older, but other times they'll require you to be 21 or 25 and older to adopt from them. And every animal rescue or shelter will require you to show a valid ID.

Fill out the online application.

Most animal shelters will have you fill out an application on their website before starting the adoption process. Not only will this ask for your basic contact information, but they'll usually ask about your home situation, pet experience, pet-parenting style, size of the home, size of yard, etc.

The primary purpose of this is to ensure that you're ready for life with a pet, to ensure the safety and well-being of the pet, and to help avoid any pets being returned to the shelter later on.

Cost of adoption fees.

Yes, there is a cost to adopt a pet from a shelter. You may wonder why—since you are rescuing them into your home and taking them off the shelter's "hands." However, these animal shelters and rescues are typically non-profit organizations that spend a lot of money on housing, feeding, and caring for pets. They must pay for staffing, insurance, mortgage, utilities, medical care, and surgeries.

The fee you have to pay may seem high, but the price it costs them to properly care for your pet until you adopt them is much higher. This is also why non-profit animal shelters and rescues often ask for help from volunteers and donations.

Have a "meet and greet."

Before you show up and pay for your new pup or kitten, the shelters and rescues want you to spend a little time with the pet. Their picture may look adorable online, but you should spend time interacting with this cat or dog to see how you get along. And it's helpful if you bring any spouses, partners, kids, or even other pets you currently own to meet this potentially new fur baby of yours.

Home visit.

This step is rare, but some animal shelters and rescues will require a home visit before letting you officially adopt your new pet. Again, this is to be sure that your home life is a healthy atmosphere for a cat or dog. It's the final step in their care for this animal. And it helps prevent animal returns to the shelter.

Indianapolis Dog Getting Adopted

How much does it cost to adopt a dog in Indianapolis?

As stated above, there are many expenses that an animal shelter or rescue has to pay for while they provide proper care for your future fur baby. This includes—but is not limited to—food, water, shelter and facility costs, walks and playtime, toys, supplies, waste cleanup, bathing, staffing, transportation, any medical care needed, spay or neuter surgery, training, and some shelters will even provide microchipping—in case your dog or cat get lost later on.

Every animal shelter and rescue will have different prices, which can change. So it's best to check out the details on their website or call in ahead of time to ask before you get attached to a particular fur baby. For example pricing, check out some of the fees for the animal shelters listed below.


Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies: $250

  • Adult dogs: $175

  • Featured dogs: $0

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens: $25

  • Adult cats: $50

  • Featured cats: $0

Indianapolis Cat Waiting for Adoption

Southside Animal Shelter

Puppies and adult dogs

  • Puppies: $450

  • Adult dogs: $300

Kittens and adult cats

  • Kittens: $135

  • Adult cats: $90

Humane Society For Hamilton County

Puppies and adult dogs

  • All dogs: $35 - $200

Kittens and adult cats

  • All cats: $25 - $100

Hendricks County Animal Control Shelter

Puppies and adult dogs

  • All dogs: not listed on the website

Kittens and adult cats

  • All cats: $35

*$9.95 fee for microchipping

Indianapolis City Skyline with River

Where is the best place to get a dog or cat in Indy?

There are numerous places to adopt a new cat, dog, or other small pet in Indianapolis and the greater metropolitan area. This pet-loving city has multiple humane societies, animal shelters, and rescues or government-funded organizations. No matter which place you choose, you'll find many loving cats and dogs ready for their new forever home.


IndyHumane began in 1905, and they've been a leading voice in the Indianapolis area for homeless cats and dogs ever since. IndyHumane strives to improve animal welfare in central Indiana, provide affordable pet ownership, and help end the cycle of pet overpopulation. Their "vision is that all central Indiana animals are treated with dignity and respect and live free from cruelty, harm, and neglect."

They are open for visits on Tuesday - Saturday from 12 pm - 6 pm. And once you've officially adopted your new pet, IndyHumane will provide you with a certificate to a VCA Animal Hospital for a complimentary wellness exam that covers up to $250 in care. This certificate must be used within two weeks of adoption.

Indianapolis Dog Playing in Field

Animal Care Services (ACS) Indy

ACS Indy is a government-funded and managed animal services and adoption organization. Please be aware that this is not a no-kill shelter, and animals surrendered here are at risk for euthanasia. But this is also why the need for adoption is so great! You can view their adoptable pets through the Indianapolis Animal Care Services page on PetFinder.com.

Southside Animal Shelter

This animal shelter is also known as Rosie's Southside Animal Shelter because it was initially founded by Rosie Ellis and her son in 1994—although she began rescuing stray cats in her own home in 1987. "She has always been and continues to be an active member of the rescue and shelter community and works collaboratively with other leaders to reduce the suffering and pain of Indianapolis' at-risk dog and cat community."

Rosie and this shelter have won numerous awards for the great work they've done for pets in the community. "The mission of Southside Animal Shelter is to rescue at-risk dogs and cats and nurture and restore them to happy, healthy lives in loving homes." You can also view Southside Animal Shelter's adoptable dogs and cats on their PetFinder pages.

Humane Society For Hamilton County

The Humane Society for Hamilton County is located in Fishers, IN—on the north side of Indy. It is a no-kill shelter that "takes in over 4,000 animals each year including hundreds at risk for euthanasia in other Indiana shelters."

Their mission is to save the lives of homeless pets, educate communities on proper pet caretaking, and completing families with their new fur babies. They even have a program called Pets Healing Vets that provides Hoosier veterans with free pet adoption and carefully selected pairings to help vets who suffer from PTSD and TBI.

Indianapolis Dog Waiting for Adoption

Hendricks County Animal Control Shelter

Hendricks County Animal Control Shelter is dedicated to promoting animal welfare. They "provide temporary shelter to pets in need and promote adoption into permanent, loving homes." They work in conjunction with the Hendricks County Humane Society. And you can find all of their adoptable pets on the Hendricks County Animal Control Shelter page on PetFinder.com.

Misty Eyes Animal Center

Misty Eyes Animal Center was founded by Renee Harlor and Cherie Fox in 2011, who met while volunteering at another animal shelter in Poland, IN, in 2009. They were saddened by how many homeless pets ended up euthanized and decided they would do something about it. They adopted the "core values of Teamwork, Integrity, Professionalism and Kindness." Misty Eyes Animal Center is a charitable organization that does not receive any government funding and has an all-volunteer team.

Love of Labs, IN (LOLIN)

Love of Labs, IN (LOLIN) is a not-for-profit rescue dedicated to Labrador Retrievers. They specialize in rescuing, fostering, and finding forever homes for Labs in Indiana. What makes them unique is their focus on this specific breed, understanding their needs and characteristics to match them with the perfect family. They also provide resources and support for Lab owners.

What is the best animal rescue website?

Before you visit an animal shelter or rescue in person, you can search online from the comfort of your own home for adoptable pets in your area. You'll be able to view pictures of cats, dogs, and other small pets from numerous animal shelters and rescues.

You can even filter through the available pets to find the type you're looking for based on species, gender, breed, size, age, and whether or not they are good with children and other pets. Check out the many excellent, reputable websites listed below.


Adopt a Pet


PetSmart Charities

Rescue Me

Petco Love

Adopt a pet in Indianapolis today!

Now that you've seen just how many places there are to adopt a pet in Indianapolis and know the potential fees and requirements for adoption, it's time to start searching for your new fur baby!

At Local Pet Care, we're here to help you not only find the best places to adopt but also the best dog-friendly restaurants and the best dog parks in Indy. We'll also help you find the best local pet care professionals near your home. With all of these resources, you will be set up for pet-parenting success!

Find Local Pet Care in Indianapolis, IN

For more great articles about dog-friendly activities and pet-parenting advice, check out the Blog at LocalPetCare.com.

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