Animal Shelter

Find animal shelters, puppy dog and cat shelters, pet adoption centers, dog pounds, and humane societies. Animal shelters provide information on adopting dogs, cats, and pets, animal care and rescue, and animal control.


What is an Animal Shelter?

Animal shelters provide housing and care for dogs, cats, and other small animals. These facilities (also called humane societies, dog pounds, or pet adoption centers) help pets that are lost, abandoned, or surrendered by their owners. Animal shelters provide information on pet adoption, animal care/rescue, and animal control. State or local governments may run some shelters, while privately funded organizations run others. Certain animal shelters may also hold animals considered a threat to society.

Some locations exclusively serve dogs and cats because of limited equipment or space, while others may focus their efforts on exotic pets inappropriate for housing in traditional dog and cat shelters.

Animal Shelters commonly

  1. Spay and neuter dogs and cats.
  2. Find permanent homes for stray, lost or surrendered dogs, cats, and other household pets.
  3. Euthanize animals considered too dangerous to keep as pets.
  4. Provide animal control services that keep unwanted dogs and cats off the street.
  5. Educate pet owners on the proper care for dogs, cats, and other animals.

Are there different types of Animal Shelters?

Yes. Some shelters function as animal-control agencies run by local municipalities. Others are non-profit animal shelters licensed by government agencies but run by public or private organizations. There are also contract-based organizations that work with the government to provide services such as spaying and neutering, training for new owners, and safe housing for animals. Certain shelters provide euthanasia services to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals, while others are no-kill. Facilities may assign cages to individual animals, or offer open spaces for animals to move around. Shelters may also accept only dogs and cats.

Government-run animal shelters can take any animal discovered by animal control officers, or brought in by the members of the public. Often, these shelters euthanize animals that have been in their care for a certain length of time without being re-homed. To avoid euthanasia, people volunteering or working at animal shelters will often work aggressively to find homes for these animals. Animal shelters commonly promote the importance of spaying and neutering.

Private, non-profit animal shelters often lack steady revenue streams, relying instead on charity donations and volunteers. As such, these shelters are not required to accept every animal. Many people prefer private shelters because they are less likely to euthanize animals in their care. Many private animal shelters encourage volunteers to foster animals waiting to be adopted.