Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
For instructions on how to adopt, our adoption fees and what’s included with post-adoption instructions and requirements, see How to Adopt a Pet.
After approval to adopt, you’ll need to bring your current dog(s) to the shelter to meet the dog you’re planning to adopt to ensure a good match for your family. For your convenience we’ll work with you to hold the animal until you return to the shelter later that day.
Our standard adoption fees are as follows:
- Adults (6 months and older) – $75
- Puppies (5 months and younger) – $200
- Dogs with 3 or More Application – $200
- Adults (6 months and older) – $25
- Kittens (5 months and younger) – $60 ($30 each when adopting a 2nd kitten)
See the FAQ for included services.
The following services are included with the adoption fee of a canine or feline from the Hamilton County Animal Shelter.
|Age Appropriate Bordatella, Distemper, Parvo & Rabies (over 3 months)|
Heartworm Test (over 6 months) & De-Worming
|Age Appropriate FVRCP & Rabies (over 3 lbs)|
|Preventative Care||Heartworm, Flea & Tick||Flea & Tick|
Yes. 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 72 hours 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. We always welcome our animals back, and in fact require adopters to return animals to the shelter if they’re unable to keep them.
A sponsorship gift is a one-time gift of at least $25 made to support the feeding and veterinary care of an animal at the Hamilton County Animal Shelter.
Sponsorship gifts support the work of Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society. Together, we are working to become a no-kill nation. Your gift helps animals in Hamilton County find homes, get medical care, and receive spay/neuter. It also supports other efforts within the County that save the lives of pets, keep families together, and more. In order to make sure that your gift has the greatest impact and helps save the maximum number of lives, its use will not be restricted to the individual care of your sponsored animal, but wherever it is needed most.
No it is not. Our caregivers are very busy providing daily care and enrichment for the approximately 2,000 animals that come through our doors a year and are unable to provide updates-on-demand for sponsored animals. However, you can stay in touch with all that’s going on at the Shelter by visiting our Facebook page.
Yes! Sharing your animal’s story and helping him or her find a home is one of the best things you can do for your sponsored pet. Sharing the link to their web page on our site on social media is a great idea to help them get adopted.
Sponsorship gifts are one-time only gifts. If you’d like to help the animals year-round, sign up for monthly giving.
The family or adopter may want privacy. However, we do occasionally get their permission to share their stories on our website, or on Facebook, so be sure to check!
By nature, feral cats are not adoptable. Feral cats are not socialized to humans – they do not want to be petted, picked up, and especially do not want to spend any amount of time at a shelter or in a person’s home! Returning feral cats to their territory after spay and neuter is undeniably the safest and most humane way to help them.
Every person has probably encountered a friendly cat in their neighborhood at least once. Just because a cat is friendly and outside does not mean that cat is lost or stray. They may be someone’s indoor/outdoor pet, or they may just be a community cat. If the cat is healthy and happy – there is no reason to remove them from their neighborhood. Remember – being friendly to humans does not mean a cat doesn’t have outdoor survival skills! Even though they may be adoptable, it doesn’t mean they need to be taken to a shelter. Plenty of cats enjoy living free outdoors, and members of the community welcome them onto their property – and sometimes even inside their homes! – for shelter and food. Bringing community cats – friendly or feral – into the shelter takes the space of cats who are truly in need. Relieving the influx of community cats to the shelter means that more resources can be used saving cats who are truly in need. Empty cages means cats can be pulled from other shelters where the risk of euthanasia is high and pet cats can be surrendered when their owners are no longer able to care for them. When you look at the big picture, it is clear that leaving community cats in their communities saves lives! Of course, every situation is unique, and we make sure to look at every call from every angle. If you are worried about a cat living outdoors, call us. We will always make the decision that is best for the cat.
Besides the fact that there just isn’t anywhere for these cats to go – relocating cats is not only time consuming for people, but it is stressful and even dangerous for cats. And most importantly of all – it is a temporary and ineffective solution.
Cats bond very strongly to their territory, and removing them from that territory causes a lot of stress. In order to safely relocate a feral cat, they must be confined for a minimum of 4 weeks in their new home, otherwise they will run away. Because of the stress of relocating – trapping, confinding, and acclimating to the new area – relocation is a last resort option, implemented only when the cats’ lives are in grave danger. Relocation should only be done by trained or experienced individuals.
Cats populate an area because there is access to resources like food and shelter. Because of their territorial nature, cats will defend an area from other cats to protect those resources. When you remove a group of cats from an area, it just means that they are no longer there to prevent more cats from moving in. It isn’t uncommon for people to “run off” or remove a group of cats from their yard just to have an entirely new group move in a few weeks later! In contrast – spaying or neutering all of the cats in an area prevents population growth because no more kittens are born, and the existing cats continue to monitor and protect the territory from newcomers. It’s a win-win!
Many local governments, property managers, and HOA’s and even some countries have attempted to resolve feral cat overpopulation by banning community members from feeding cats. And all of those groups have one thing in common – they still have a cat problem.
Not only are food bans inhumane – they just don’t work. The reality is, no one will ever completely stop every person in an area from feeding cats. Cats are also extremely resilient – if they don’t get food from people, they will find their own food. While some cats do hunt, they will likely supplement their hunting by other means – usually, they head to the trash. Food bans are implemented in an attempt to settle cat related issues, but in the end, they create more issues.
Instead, we promote aggressive, targeted TNR to stabilize the number of cats in an area, and give community members who care for community cats the tools and information they need to help those cats be good neighbors. We promote a regular feeding schedule and feeding appropriate amounts during daylight hours to reduce the number of other visitors like possums, skunks, raccoons and insects; feeding at designated feeding stations; and keeping feeding stations and shelter areas clean and tidy at all times.
Millions of cats enter animal shelters every year, and a large portion of those unwanted cats are kittens born to feral mothers. Shelters and rescues are overrun with cats! There are too many cats, and not enough homes for them. TNR is THE solution for ending the crisis of feline overpopulation. By spaying just ONE feral female cat, we prevent thousands of unwanted kittens. This relieved the burden on shelters, rescues, and member of the community.
Humane traps, sometimes called box traps, are set in a safe location where the cats live or are frequently seen. The traps are designed so that they do not harm the cat in any way. Once a cat is caught in a trap, it is covered with a towel or blanket to help keep the cat calm. Then, the cat is kept in a safe, indoor place until surgery or transported to the veterinary clinic right away. While at the vet, the cat is sedated and then given a physical exam by veterinary staff.. The cat is spayed or neutered, given a rabies vaccine, and an ear tip. An ear tip is the universal symbol that an outdoor cat has been spayed or neutered, where about a ¼ inch of the left ear is surgically removed. The ear tip is done while the cat is still sedated and does not hurt the cat – it is much like getting an ear piercing! Because the cartilage is so thin at the tip of the ear, it is usually healed within a couple of days and rarely do cats even notice they’ve had one done! The cat is placed back into the trap to safely wake up from anesthesia, and, once awake, the cat is given a small amount of food and water and allowed to rest overnight. The following day, the cat can be released back outdoors.
This simple process safely and effectively improves the lives of so many cats!
By law (ORC 955.01), all dogs in the State of Ohio three months and older must be licensed by January 31st of each year, or within 30 days of bringing a new dog into your family. The standard licensing period runs December 1st through January 31. After that date, the price of a license doubles.
Your purchase of a dog license provides funding and support for Cincinnati Animal CARE’s activities to support the return and re-homing of lost and homeless animals in Hamilton County. A dog license also increases the chances your lost pet makes his or her way back home.
Your generous donation will be used to support all the activities necessary to save more shelter animals in Hamilton County and beyond. Donations not designated for a specific program will be used where it is most needed to maximize our lifesaving work. Specifically, donations go toward veterinary care, supplies, and other general operations that increase our ability to save lives.
All donations made to Cincinnati Animal CARE support our lifesaving mission. Our comprehensive safety net requires critical needs that you may not have considered, and these fluctuate throughout the year as we respond to at-risk animals as they occur. When you generously give generally to our operations, you allow us to earmark money for animals and programs who need it most.
First of all, thank you for your support. We accept donations in person, through mail (Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society, 4025 Filager Road, Cincinnati, OH 45223) and online.
Monetary funds provide us the flexibility to respond to the most pressing needs we encounter every day. However, we also need supplies. To see a full wish-list, please visit our Amazon Wish List.
When it comes to donation drives, there are many household items that we can use here at the shelter. Aside from monetary donations that allow us to designate to our most pressing needs, we need supplies in the form of, but not limited to:
- Paper towels
- Printer paper
- Gently used dog beds
- Dawn dishwasher soap
- Hand soap
- Trash bags (large and small)
- Peanut butter
- Clumping cat litter
- Royal Canin Mother and Baby Cat cat food
- Dry dog food
- Moist, stinky dog treats
- Cat toys
- Gently used nylon dog leashes and collars
Because we are on a mission. It is our goal to be the best shelter in the region but we can’t do it without your support. Cincinnati Animal CARE is more than a county shelter. We are a community resource that uses data-driven best practice and leads Cincinnati in progressive sheltering policies.
To save more animals! Some animals don’t do well in the shelter environment, like puppies, kittens, elderly pets and those requiring special attention, diets or medical care. The shelter’s foster care program saves two animals, the one placed into a loving foster home and the shelter animal taking its place. The success of our mission depends on a vibrant and healthy foster care program. Please consider enrolling as a foster family for a shelter animal.
We have several foster options that allow you to foster for the length of time that works best for you. Fostering can be as short as a few hours and as long as a few months. Any amount of foster time you can offer benefits the shelter and our animals.
Yes! Our Dog and Cat Program Managers will work closely with you to find the right foster animal for your home and lifestyle. If you have pets at home, we may ask you to bring them in for a meet and greet and we will always provide detailed instructions and tips for introducing pets safely. In some situations, we may recommend your pet and foster animal do not meet at all and in that case, we will provide support and instructions for that as well.
That’s OK! You can bring your foster animal back to the shelter at any time. If possible, let us know ahead of time so we can be prepared.
We have found that fostering with multiple organizations can be confusing for the foster as different shelters and rescues have different polices and procedures. In addition, animals from different organizations can come with different health requirements and vaccine history which can be dangerous for the less vaccinated animals.
If you chose to foster with Cincinnati Animal CARE, we simply ask that you have no other animals from other organizations in your care at the time.
Our current hours of operation are posted on the Contact Us page.
Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society accepts cash, credit/debit cards and personal checks for the payment of products and services at the Hamilton County Animal Shelter.
Lost & Found
If you believe your dog is housed at the Shelter as a stray, bring proof of ownership (e.g. vet records, a photo or other confirmation) to the Hamilton County Animal Shelter during normal business hours to reclaim them. See the FAQ regarding fees to reclaim lost pets.
Lost and homeless pets brought to the shelter are provided with basic medical care, food and housing during their visit. Reclaiming your pet makes room at the shelter for one that is truly homeless. To reclaim your lost pet, please be prepared to pay the following:
|Flea Treatment (if required)||$30|
|Boarding / Night||$15|
|Dog License (if required)||See Dog Licensing|
Cincinnati Animal CARE accepts the following forms of payment.
We provide monthly transports to the United Coalition for Animals (UCAN) Spay/Neuter Clinic. Check the calendar for dates and times.
You may have your dog or cat microchipped at the shelter for $25. Doing so provides great peace of mind to help them find their way home and also serves as a form of proof of ownership. Bring your pet (dogs on a leash, cats in a carrier) to the shelter during business hours.
- Morning cat care to get the cat rooms cleaned and the cats ready to welcome adopters.
- Evening “tuck-in” of cats to make sure they have all they need for the night.
- At your home: foster!
- Coming soon
- Spending time with cats to help socialize them and provide them with enrichment.
- Afternoon/evening help getting cats adopted as an Adoption Host!
- Morning dog care to assist employees with cleaning and feeding of our dogs.
- Afternoon/evening dog walking to get dogs out and provide needed enrichment to keep them healthy and happy.
- Saturday morning dog bathing to keep our dogs healthy and looking and feeling good.
- Grooming by volunteers with professional grooming experience to help clean up animals who come to use with overgrown and matted coats.
- Weekend morning/afternoon off-site adoptions to get our dogs out at local businesses and community events so they can be seen and adopted!
- At your home: foster!
- Coming soon
- Advance as a dog volunteer, learning from our Dog Program Manager, to teach dogs basic manners and commands that will make them more adoptable.
- Advance even farther to assist our Dog Program Manager with dogs who need help with behavior issues
Help with play groups so that our dogs get exercise and socialization time with other dogs.
Administrative and Others
- Photographing adoptable animals.
- Writing biographies of animals for adopters to get to know them.
- Data entry
- Return phone calls.
- Make Kongs and other enrichment items.
- Transport of animals and donations.
- Fundraising events
All volunteers must be 13+ years of age and be able to work independently.
- 13-15 year olds – cannot work directly with animals, but may create Kong enrichments, do laundry, wash dishes and assist with general cleaning.
- 16+ year olds may work with dogs or cats, as well as in administrative roles.
All volunteers must be able to work independently, regardless of age.
Yes! Our Community Service volunteer program is ideal for those who need to earn hours on a short-term basis, without a long-term commitment. You may complete an application here (opens in a new tab). Please note the following:
- Community Service Volunteers do not work directly with our animals.
- We reserve the right to refuse court-ordered service, dependent on the charges.
Our general expectation is that our volunteers commit to a regular volunteer schedule (monthly, biweekly, or weekly). The minimum monthly time commitment is generally 2-4 hours. Volunteers who are inactive for 3 months are removed from our program roster.
Yes! It is very important to us that you have the knowledge and tools to work with our animals and on behalf of our organization. All volunteers are required to complete New Volunteer Orientation (online) and those working with dogs or cats are required to complete role-specific training with our program managers.
Yes! We welcome teams of 3-10 members to volunteer at the shelter! Please email our Volunteer Services so we can arrange details.
We generally like to match volunteer groups with walking dogs. But, we have other seasonal opportunities, like landscaping and making enrichment items as well.