Commonly Asked Questions
Cincinnati Animal CARE runs the Hamilton County animal shelter located at 3949 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, 45223. Cincy CARE is the ONLY county shelter and handles all stray dog calls and conducts animal cruelty investigations in Hamilton County. Cincy CARE is the only organization in Hamilton County that receives funding from the county to fulfill Ohio animal shelter (ORC 955) and cruelty laws (ORC 959).
No. SPCA Cincinnati had the Hamilton County animal services contract for 60 years (1962-2020). They no longer have the county contract and Cincinnati Animal CARE is NOT affiliated with SPCA Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Animal CARE is recognized within the animal welfare industry as one of the best animal welfare organizations in the country. We have been committed to no-kill, community-based, data-driven, transparent and collaborative animal sheltering since day one and we have been successful with the help and support of our wonderful community. We follow national best-practice animal sheltering and are constantly trying new ways to save more lives.
Since Cincinnati Animal CARE took over the county contract in 2020, Hamilton County has seen the following changes:
- A no-kill, Live Release Rate of greater than 90% at the old Northside shelter
- A commitment to housing only one dog per kennel
- A robust foster program (more than 2,000 people have fostered and the number continues to grow)
- Detailed “noses in, noses out” data on our website every single month
- A Behavior and Training program to individually assess every single dog that arrives at the shelter
- Supervised daily dog playgroups
- In-depth matchmaking to find the best fit for each adopter
- Regular shelter assessments in all areas of operations to identify areas of improvement
- Dog Care
- Cat Care
- General operations
- Behavior and Training
In addition, Cincinnati Animal CARE is committed to best-practice animal sheltering including investment in professional development for staff at all levels and Community Support Programming that goes to all lengths to help you keep your pet. We are proud of being nationally recognized, including our selection as one of only 16 Tier One shelters in North America by Human-Animal Support Services.
No-kill has many definitions. It began a few decades ago as animal shelters around the country were killing animals in the millions. Then the goal of no-kill was a 90% Live Release Rate (LRR). Today, thanks to the commitment and collaboration of shelter staff and communities throughout the country, many shelters have surpassed the 90% LRR benchmark.
Cincinnati Animal CARE subscribes to a more modern definition of no-kill. To us, 90% is just the beginning. No-kill means saving every savable animal by giving every animal individual and holistic consideration. Animals with different needs arrive at our shelter every day, so our no-kill percentage may fluctuate month-to-month, but we are confident that our 97% LRR for dogs and 92% for cats is a first in Hamilton County.
To us, no-kill means that not a single animal will ever be killed for space or convenience, nor euthanized without a detailed, multi-faceted assessment of that animal’s individual case. At Cincinnati Animal CARE, this is a commitment we are determined to keep.
Adults (6 months or older) - $75
Puppies - $200
Seniors (8 years and up) - Adoption Fees Waived
Adults (6 months and older) - $40
Kittens - $60 or $30 each if you adopt two
- Spay or neuter (value $75-100)
- Vaccines and deworming (Bordetella, Distemper, Parvo, Rabies)
- Heartworm test
- Preventative Care (Heartworm, Flea & Tick)
- Spay or neuter (value $40)
- Vaccines and deworming (FVRCP, Rabies)
- Preventative Care (Flea & Tick)
Yes! We waive adoption fees for adult animals for veterans, first responders, and registered vet techs and offer 1/2 price adoption fees for animals under the age of six months.
*Hamilton County Dog License, leashes, collars, carriers, and other merchandise not included.
- Visit the shelter! You can walk through the kennels and our matchmaking team will talk through which animal might be best for you and your family.
- See our Adoptable Dogs and Adoptable Cats online. These include animals in foster care which you’ll need to schedule an appointment to see.
- If you have a dog, we highly recommend (and sometimes require, depending on the dog) bringing your dog to meet the dog you plan to adopt. Our team will handle the introduction and make sure it’s a good fit!
Through our comprehensive matchmaking process, we try our best to ensure a good adoption match but recognize it isn’t always a good fit. A full refund of the adoption fee will be given if the animal is returned within 7 days of adoption. The adoption fee for an animal returned within 30 days can be applied to the adoption of a different animal, with an approved application. CAC always remains loyal to adopted animals and our adopters and encourages adopters to reach out so that we can work directly with the adopter to find the right solution for everyone involved. This may include providing resources to help keep the adopted pet and family together, supported rehoming assistance, or potentially returning the animal to the shelter.
We are open to the public 1-6 pm every day of the week. Staff are on-site caring for animals 365 days a year.
3949 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223
Every dog at Cincinnati Animal CARE is assessed immediately upon arrival. Our Animal Control Officers and Intake staff make detailed notes about temperament upon intake. Then, within 24-72 hours of arrival, our 4-person Behavior and Training team handles every dog outside the kennel and introduces them to a playgroup to gauge safety with other dogs.
A 10-person Lifesaving Committee meets weekly to discuss all new bites, dogs that are demonstrating concerning behavior, and the progress of dogs on individual training plans.
Although life-saving is important to us, public safety is number one. Behavioral euthanasia decisions are made when behavior is too egregious for redemption or when we are not seeing the progress needed to feel confident a dog will be safe in a home.
It’s important to note that when working with live animals, not every scenario is predictable. That’s why we use a holistic approach to ongoing assessments, soliciting feedback from volunteers, fosters and staff, and we review in detail any incident that occurs.
In addition to safety around working with live animals, we do everything we can to make sure our facility is safe as well. The following are just some of the strategies, precautions, and protocols we have in place to minimize safety risks:
- Monthly Safety Committee meetings (with each department, volunteers and fosters represented)
- Lifesaving Committee Meetings to discuss and review every single bite and make behavioral euthanasia recommendations
- Volunteer Dog Walk groups that have:
- Mandatory handling training
- Walkie-talkies for each walk leader and on site
- A carabiner is attached to every leash for easy hookup to a fence if needed to create separation from a dog
- Fanny packs that must be worn, with each containing an air horn, a Pet Corrector, and emergency shelter phone numbers
- Dog Care Staff equipped with all of the above, plus specialized leashes designed for easy removal and non-slip footwear.
- 3 leashes that create a safety lead to easily remove over a dog’s head without reaching down
- A carabiner is attached to the leash for easy hook up to a fence
- Walkie talkie
- Treat bag
- Air horn
- Pet Corrector
- Non-slip boots
- Dogs are assigned a color level that designates ease and safety of handling, and every kennel has that dog’s color card posted.
- Volunteers go through training to advance in color, allowing them to handle only those dogs they are trained and prepared to handle
- Every kennel card has the dog’s color posted on it
- Behavior and Training staff offers weekly one-on-one training to volunteers interested in learning how to work with or handle certain dogs
- QR codes are posted around the shelter for staff and volunteers to easily submit feedback about dog behavior
- Facility upgrades for safety include blindspot-eliminating mirrors; multiple emergency toolkits with First Aid supplies, air horns, extra slip leads, Pet Corrector, sanitizers and bite sticks situated throughout the shelter; and regularly scheduled replacement of kennel latches and doors as needed.