Two women adopting dogs from an animal shelter

The Best Animal Shelters in America

Are you looking for the best animal shelters near you? Animal shelters do amazing work taking care of dogs and cats who’ve been abandoned by their owners. If you could provide a loving home for an abandoned pet, either through temporary fostering or permanent adoption, consider turning to a reputable local shelter. If you’d like to volunteer with animals, your local shelter is also a great place to start.

We looked at hundreds of animal shelters in the United States to find the very best. We focused on no-kill shelters, most of which aren’t affiliated with any government or national groups. We also consulted with our team of veterinarians for their tips on how to choose the best animal shelter in your city.

If you’re looking for a particular breed and decide to go with a breeder, be sure to choose a reputable breeder.

The Top Animal Shelters in America (in All 50 States)

We looked at animal shelters in all 50 states, selecting 2 top shelters for each. We hope you’re able to find a great animal shelter near you to support or use as needed, and we think this list is a great place to start.

NOTE: Use the links below to jump to your state.

Alabama (AL) Hawaii (HI) Massachusetts (MA) New Mexico (NM) South Dakota (SD)
Alaska (AK) Idaho (ID) Michigan (MI) New York (NY) Tennessee (TN)
Arizona (AZ) Illinois (IL) Minnesota (MN) North Carolina (NC) Texas (TX)
Arkansas (AR) Indiana (IN) Mississippi (MS) North Dakota (ND) Utah (UT)
California (CA) Iowa (IA) Missouri (MO) Ohio (OH) Vermont (VT)
Colorado (CO) Kansas (KS) Montana (MT) Oklahoma (OK) Virginia (VA)
Connecticut (CT) Kentucky (KY) Nebraska (NE) Oregon (OR) Washington (WA)
Delaware (DE) Louisiana (LA) Nevada (NV) Pennsylvania (PA) West Virginia (WV)
Florida (FL) Maine (ME) New Hampshire (NH) Rhode Island (RI) Wisconsin (WI)
Georgia (GA) Maryland (MD) New Jersey (NJ) South Carolina (SC) Wyoming (WY)

Alabama

Heart of Alabama: Save, Rescue, Adopt (HASRA)

Heart of Alabama: Save, Rescue, Adopt (HASRA)

What we like: HASRA is a non-profit, no-kill rescue in North Alabama that works with the local community and that’s mainly run by volunteers. They welcome donations and also have a wishlist that you can purchase items from. They care for dogs in all sorts of circumstances but have particular expertise in taking care of dogs with medical conditions, who may need expensive surgery.

Greater Huntsville Humane Society (GHHS)

Greater Huntsville Humane Society (GHHS)

What we like: This no-kill shelter runs various community programs too, including a community kitchen to provide pet food to low-income pet owners. As well as adopting from the shelter, you can donate, volunteer, or buy from the Three Tails Resale store (100% of all sales go back to the animals). GHHS also runs a “Paws for Reading” program where children and adults can read to the dogs and cats in their care, helping boost reading skills and confidence.

Alaska

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Shelter

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Shelter

What we like: The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Shelter takes care of dogs and cats of all ages, as well as small animals, livestock, and exotic pets. If you’ve found a lost or stray animal, or need to relinquish an animal after hours, they have a special night kennel available where you can safely leave your animal. They also have animal care officers who respond to calls for the public and assist with animal rescues in emergency situations.

Alaska Mindful Paws Animal Shelter (AMP)

Alaska Mindful Paws Animal Shelter (AMP)

What we like: This non-profit shelter provides shelter, care, and advocacy for homeless animals in the community. They welcome fostering and adoption and are grateful for new volunteers, too. AMP will work with pet owners who are considering relinquishing a pet, talking them through alternative options and scheduling an admissions appointment if the pet owner wants to go ahead. They’ll accept animals surrendered by the owners regardless of the reason.

Arizona

Friends for Life Animal Rescue

Friends for Life Animal Rescue

What we like: This no-kill rescue organization is powered by volunteers. They aim to significantly impact animal overpopulation through programs that focus on rescuing, adoptions, education, and spaying and neutering animals. They’re a small, limited-intake facility, but will do their best to take in as many animals as possible.

Central Arizona Animal Rescue

Central Arizona Animal Rescue

What we like: The Central Arizona Animal Rescue (CAAR), located in San Tan Valley, welcomes volunteers, including 16 and 17 year olds if accompanied by a parent. Their adoption fees are very affordable, they take great care of their dogs, and the kennels are clean and modern with plenty of room for each dog. Adoptors particularly praised CAAR’s owner Mike, who’s caring, friendly, and very knowledgable. Note that CAAR saves dogs from the county animal control facilities, so don’t contact them for owner surrenders.

Arkansas

Humane Society of Marion County Arkansas

Humane Society of Marion County Arkansas

What we like: This non-profit animal shelter welcomes both adoptive and foster pet parents. You can fill out an adoption application online if you’re looking to adopt a dog or cat from them. All the staff are volunteers who genuinely love animals and the pest they care for are well socialized and happy. They welcome new volunteers, and under-18s can volunteer too if accompanied by a parent.

NorthEast Arkansas (NEA) Humane Society

NorthEast Arkansas (NEA) Humane Society

What we like: This animal shelter has been running for over 50 years. They’re a non-profit that warmly welcomes volunteers, adopters, foster carers, and donations. They also provide cheap neutering and spaying services for cats and dogs through their weekly medical clinic.

California

Pasadena Humane

Pasadena Humane

What we like: Pasadena Humane lets you foster pets, with supplies and supports provided. They also welcome adoptions. As well as dogs and cats, they have a variety of “critters” available for adoption, including a large number of guinea pigs at the time of writing.

Burbank Animal Shelter

Burbank Animal Shelter

What we like: The City of Burbank Animal Shelter is a large government-run shelter with 14 employees and around 100 volunteers. This gives them the resources to run various events in the community to showcase their animals and find as many loving, permanent homes as possible for their dogs, cats, and other animals (including reptiles, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more). They also take in lost pets and provide an online database so you can search for your missing pet.

Colorado

Humane Society of The South Platte Valley (HSSPV)

Humane Society of The South Platte Valley (HSSPV)

What we like: As well as taking care of animals in need of a foster or adoptive home, HSSPV runs behavior and training classes. If you’re an HSSPV adoptor, you get a discount on these. You can take classes on-site or online through live lessons. HSSPV also offers a low-cost spay/neuter clinic, plus other low-cost vaccines and microchipping during their weekly clinics.

Humane Society of Boulder Valley

Humane Society of Boulder Valley

What we like: This shelter offers a wide range of services, including training, play yard rentals, and Safety Net services to prevent relinquishment where possible. This includes temporary pet housing, pet food, discounted behavior services, and grants to help with vet care. They also fundraising events, such as their springtime Puttin’ On The Leash gala and auction.

Connecticut

Connecticut Humane Society (CHS)

Connecticut Humane Society (CHS)

What we like: CHS runs a number of programs, including youth programs for children and young people, where they can come to schools or groups to educate children about pets. They also offer a wide range of adult programs as well as PETtalk workshops and events, including a virtual family trivia night. If you’re struggling to feed your pet, their Pet Food Pantry Program supplies cat and dog food to pet owners in financial need for up to 2 years.

Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS)

Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS)

What we like: They accept both dog and cat surrenders, by appointment only. They have indoor and outdoor cat rooms, so cats are confident and well-cared for. Their community events include low-cost spay & neuter services, a Trap-Neuter-Release program for feral and stray cats, plus clinic services for adopted animals with chronic conditions. They also participate in the Pets for Patriots program.

Delaware

Faithful Friends Veterinary Clinic

Faithful Friends Veterinary Clinic

What we like: Faithful Friends runs a shelter and clinic, offering affordable surgical procedures as well as dental treatment. Their adoption coordinators will carefully pair adopters with the perfect pet for their family or situation. They also help pet owners to find new homes without needing to put their pet into the shelter.

Delaware Humane Association DHA

Delaware Humane Association DHA

What we like: The DHA provides a wide variety of services alongside running their shelter. You can rent a room for an event, allowing guests to tour the facility, and they also run a pet food pantry. The shelter welcomes volunteers through a well-organized program with multiple levels. Teens between 14 and 17 years old can volunteer if accompanied by a parent or guardian. There are a number of satellite adoption centers for cats and kittens, throughout Delaware.

Florida

Jacksonville Humane Society

Jacksonville Humane Society

What we like: The Jacksonville Humane Society is a non-profit shelter that welcomes donations of dog and cat food, as well as blankets and Kongs. They also list pets who are currently with pet owners seeking a new home for their animals. JHS runs a number of programs for children, including summer camp, a “Pawsitive reading” program, and welcoming students on field trips. Kids (and adults) can even have a birthday party at the shelter.

Safe Animal Shelter

Safe Animal Shelter

What we like: This small shelter vaccinates all rescues and also tests for heartworm, putting pets through treatment before adoption in most cases. All their dogs and cats are microchipped for their safety and their future owner’s convenience. The staff are kind and friendly, and very loving toward the animals in their care.

Georgia

Furkids

Furkids

What we like: Furkids operates a large cage-free no-kill shelter for rescued cats along with Sadie’s Place, a no-kill shelter for rescue dogs. They operate four thrift stores to help fund their work and have over 1,000 volunteers caring for 5,000 animals each year. They welcome children of all ages to volunteer and also run a “Read to Cats” program. They also run Christmas events for pet owners to get a photo of their pet with Santa.

Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue and Adoption

Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue and Adoption

What we like: This animal rescue is always looking for new foster families and is heavily involved in the community. They run a “Read to Dogs” program, arrange visits from school classes and scout troops, take dogs to visit a nearby retirement home, offer internship and volunteering programs, and much more. They also take Court Related Community Service workers, though not those involving certain offenses such as cruelty to animals or children.

Hawaii

Hawaiian Humane Society

Hawaiian Humane Society

What we like: The Hawaiian Humane Society runs a number of events, including a virtual pet loss support group to help pet owners who are grieving the loss of a pet. They run a pet food bank to offer temporary assistance and also run a “Feline Fix” program that spays/neuters and microchips free-roaming cats without charge. They run student projects, including service-learning projects and a Teens4Animals council.

Kaua’i Humane Society (KHS)

Kaua'i Humane Society (KHS)

What we like: This shelter offers a number of different services, including dog and cat boarding. Note that you need to be a KHS member to make a boarding reservation. They can also microchip your pet for just $20: you can book an appointment online. They even run a “field trip” program where you can pay $40 to take a dog out for part of the day.

Idaho

Snake River Animal Shelter

Snake River Animal Shelter

What we like: The Snake River Animal Shelter welcomes would-be foster pet owners as well as adoptive pet parents. They run various community events and programs, including their Dog Safe program to offer dog houses and electric bowls for outside dogs. Their facility is really clean and well looked after. Conveniently, they’re located right next to a dog park.

Mountain Humane

Mountain Humane

What we like: Along with animal adoptions, Mountain Humane offers routine veterinary services, pet food assistance, dog training services, and more. They’re a partner of the Home to Home service that helps pet owners find an adoptor without needing to put their pet into a shelter. Children aged 12 – 14 can volunteer along with a parent or guardian. Young people aged 15 – 17 can volunteer with just a parent waiver signed.

Illinois

Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter

Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter

What we like: Orphans of the Storm has a newly built special cat wing, with an adult cat room that visitors are invited to spend time in. With 150 – 200 cats here, you’re sure to find the perfect cat for you. They also have plenty of dogs to adopt, too. Orphans of the Storm runs a special cat adoption program, Friends for Seniors, to help elderly pet owners afford the initial costs of giving a loving home to an adult cat or dog, with no adoption fee.

Anderson Humane – North Aurora Adoption Center

Anderson Humane - North Aurora Adoption Center

What we like: Anderson Humane runs a number of different programs, including a Military Veterans’ Program to help veterans connect with animals through not only adoption but also fostering, volunteering, and pet therapy. They also run a Crisis Care pet boarding service, providing free boarding for the victims of domestic violence. If you’re interested in adopting a pet, they’ll give you plenty of time to meet and play with the animals, without any pressure.

Indiana

Humane Society for Hamilton County

Humane Society for Hamilton County

What we like: This open-admission, no-kill shelter believes every animal deserves a chance to live, love, and be loved … regardless of age, breed, or medical needs. They have a state-of-the-art modern facility that you can support in lots of different ways, including by purchasing a commemorative brick in their Memorial Plaza. Their “Survivor Program” cares for animals who need life-saving medical care. Animals are never turned away due to the cost or complexity of care.

IndyHumane

IndyHumane

What we like: IndyHumane has a dog park that you can register to use (your dog needs to be vaccinated and spayed/neutered). It costs $50 for annual membership, or you can buy a day pass for $10. IndyHumane also runs IPAWW: Indianapolis Professionals Advocating for Animal Welfare Coalition. It’s a great opportunity to network with others with a shared passion for making Indianapolis an even more humane city.

Iowa

Animal Lifeline of Iowa (ALI)

Animal Lifeline of Iowa (ALI)

What we like: ALI is a special needs shelter, rescuing dogs and cats that are injured, handicapped, have a serious medical condition, or are in other types of special need. They accept animals if they have space, giving priority to animals who’d be at higher risk of euthanasia at other shelters. The staff are kind and friendly and the animals are all very well cared for.

Midlands Humane Society

Midlands Humane Society

What we like: As well as catering to dogs and cats, the Midlands Humane Society look after rabbits and often has small pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, and so on available. They also run the Kevin Bills Memorial Dog Park, an off-leash dog park with dog play structures, benches, running water, and dog waste dispensers. An annual membership is $50 for a year, which covers one household for up to 4 dogs.

Kansas

Kansas Humane Society (KHS)

Kansas Humane Society (KHS)

What we like: KHS runs a number of fundraising programs, including a recycling program where you can drop off aluminum soda cans at various locations around Wichita. As well as dogs and cats, they look after small animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs. They also run surgical externships for 3rd and 4th year vet students to perform spaying and neutering operations, costing $300/week. 1st and 2nd year students can observe through free mentorship.

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter

Prairie Paws Animal Shelter

What we like: Prairie Paws prominently lists animals available for adoption on their website. Their employees and volunteers offer humane education presentations in local schools. They also run a number of fun community events to raise funds, including a “Bow Meow” event with a silent auction and a recent chili drive-through.

Kentucky

Kentucky Humane Society

Kentucky Humane Society

What we like: The Kentucky Humane Society not only offers dogs and cats for adoption, they also have horses available for both sponsor and adoption. They’re a large shelter offering services that include two boarding facilities for dogs and cats. They even have a pet grooming and doggy daycare service.

Humane Society of Marshall County

Humane Society of Marshall County

What we like: This small shelter welcomes drop-ins during their open days, both from prospective adoptive parents and simply from people who’d like to come and socialize with the dogs and cats. They welcome volunteers of all ages. They also have a “Donation Day” where you can pick up pet-related items that you need for free, including dog and cat food.

Louisiana

Louisiana SPCA

Louisiana SPCA

What we like: As well as their shelter, Louisiana SPCA runs a Community Clinic in an 8,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. This offers a wide range of services and even has a pharmacy. They welcome foster pet carers, particularly for kittens, as their young kittens need to be fostered until they’re old enough to be spayed or neutered. Their “Bark Break” program brings adoptable dogs into local businesses, either virtually or in person.

Northshore Humane Society (NHS)

Northshore Humane Society (NHS)

What we like: NHS has a “Seniors for Seniors” program, placing cats and dogs over 7 years of age with senior citizens. This program has no adoption fee and offers free vaccinations as well as membership of the NHS “Adopter’s Club.” NHS also runs summer camps for children aged 6 – 13, aiming to help them develop responsibility and respect for animals. Plus, they have a veterinary clinic offering high-quality care at an affordable price.

Maine

Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland

Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland

What we like: As well as cats and dogs, this shelter offers birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals for adoption. They welcome volunteers, including young people from grades K-8 at their various junior volunteer days. These take place on scheduled Saturday mornings, cost $20, and include a snack.

Homeless Animal Rescue Team of Maine (HART)

Homeless Animal Rescue Team of Maine (HART)

What we like: HART is a small shelter for cats, fully run by volunteers. HART has a number of fundraising programs, including their “Cars for Kitties” that lets you donate unwanted vehicles. They welcome volunteers, including foster carers.

Maryland

Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS)

Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS)

What we like: MCHS runs a drop-in pet food pantry along with low-cost clinics. Their thrift store, Humane Together Thrift and Gift, raises money to support MCHS’s work. They also have a number of humane education programs, for children, teens, and adults, though these are currently suspended due to Covid-19.

Animal Welfare League

Animal Welfare League

What we like: This cat shelter welcomes foster and adoptive pet parents and also takes donations of supplies, such as pet food, cat beds, cat litter, and more. They run a pet food bank, providing food for both cats and dogs. They also run a spay/neuter program for low-income Montgomery County cat and dog owners, at a discounted rate.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)

What we like: The MSPCA runs three different centers and has a number of animals available for adoption. They take part in advocacy action as well as having a number of veterinary clinics through the Angell Animal Medical Center part of their service. This includes 24/7 emergency and critical care, with walk-in emergency clinics. It’s easy to search their website for an animal to adopt: as well as cats and dogs, they have animals such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs, birds, and more.

Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts (APCSM)

Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts (APCSM)

What we like: APCSM runs a number of community fundraising events, including a bakesale on the second weekend of every month. Their pet food pantry runs alongside this, on a first-come, first-served basis. They also have a special fund, Life is Precious, that covers medical needs of animals that come into their care.

Michigan

Michigan Humane

Michigan Humane

What we like: Michigan Humane has an investigation and rescue team to look into suspected cases of animal abuse and neglect. They’re also committed to advocacy and education in their community, running a youth enrichment classroom program as well as providing free humane education lesson plans on their website for elementary teachers.

Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL)

Michigan Animal Rescue League (MARL)

What we like: MARL runs community outreach programs to help keep animals with their families, supporting people with food, supplies, and even low-cost medical care. Their educational efforts mean that hundreds of cats and dogs have been able to stay in their homes instead of entering the shelter system. Their shelter has a number of programs, including “Reading to Rescues” and a “Seniors for Seniors” program that lets senior citizens become foster carers for their cats.

Minnesota

Animal Humane Society

Animal Humane Society

What we like: The Animal Humane Society runs in-person and online training sessions as well as Puppy Kindergarten and Puppy Playgroups to help train and socialize new dogs. Their website has detailed information on their adoption process as well as listings of the dogs, cats, and small animals that are available to adopt. They have a wide range of volunteer opportunities, including their summer Student Volunteer Experience program for high school students entering grades 10-12 and recent high school graduates.

Secondhand Hounds

Secondhand Hounds

What we like: Secondhand Hounds cares for both dogs and cats. They welcome volunteers for a variety of roles: some roles are suitable for ages 12+, with a parent or guardian. They’re a foster-based rescue, meaning their animals are in homes rather than being cared for at their offices. Foster carers are heavily involved in the adoption process, including the approval (or not) of potential adopters.

Mississippi

Southern Pines Animal Shelter

Southern Pines Animal Shelter

What we like: The Southern Pines Animal Shelter welcomes volunteers with a range of roles available to view online. They also welcome foster carers and run an Adoption Ambassador program so foster parents can find permanent homes for their pets. The shelter provides everything that foster carers need to look after pets in their home.

Tupelo Lee Humane Society (TLHS)

Tupelo Lee Humane Society (TLHS)

What we like: TLHS runs a number of educational programs, such as their “Have a Heart” Heartworm awareness program. Staff will carefully match pets to the right home, making sure that the adoption process is positive for both the adoptor and the pet. They also have specialist animal care programs, such as their neonatal kitten program to care for baby kittens. Volunteers can help care for the baby kittens.

Missouri

Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO)

Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO)

What we like: The Humane Society of Missouri runs a number of events for children and teens, including their Shelter Buddies reading program and their Kids for Critters summer camps for kids aged 6 – 14. They also have a “Glow in the Park” event: a private, tented dinner to raise money for the Humane Society, with front row seats for the Great Forest Park Balloon Glow (the evening before the Balloon Race).

Stray Rescue of St Louis

Stray Rescue of St Louis

What we like: Stray Rescue of St Louis runs a Second Chances Resale Shop from their former warehouse, accepting all sorts of donations. They’ve recently opened a second shop, too, and welcome volunteers for both their shops as well as for their animal shelter. Shop proceeds go to their Stracks Fund (for medical emergencies).

Montana

Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter

Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter

What we like: Heart of the Valley has a behavior department offering a range of educational classes for dog owners. These include basic manners, puppy training, and more. If you need extra help, you can schedule a one-on-one behavior consultation. They also provide pet food to those in need, rent out a community room, and run a Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) to reduce unwanted litters in the community cat population. They’ll waive the adoption fee on cats over six months old who are adopted by seniors (age 62+).

Humane Society of Western Montana (HSWM)

Humane Society of Western Montana (HSWM)

What we like: The Humane Society of Western Montana operates a “Re-Tail” store, selling humane training tools, interactive feeding toys, fun merch, and more. They also run a community pet food pantry and offer training and socialization classes. Kids aged six or older can volunteer with the animals, so long as a parent or guardian accompanies them.

Nebraska

Capital Humane Society Pieloch Pet Adoption Center

Capital Humane Society Pieloch Pet Adoption Center

What we like: The Capital Humane Society runs foster programs, including their “Bottle Baby” program for tiny kitties under six weeks old who need bottle feeding every 4 hours or more. They also run an Adoption Ambassador program, where the foster pet parent acts as their animal’s primary promotor and helps facilitate the adoption process.

Animal Shelter of Northeast Nebraska

Animal Shelter of Northeast Nebraska

What we like: The Animal Shelter of Northeast Nebraska has a special memorial garden, where you can pay tribute to a loved one (pet or human) by purchasing bricks, rocks, or landscape items for the garden. They are partners of the Bright Horizons shelter for victims of domestic abuse, providing a safe haven for pets while human family members are safe in the Bright Horizons shelter.

Nevada

Nevada Humane Society

Nevada Humane Society

What we like: Nevada Humane Society has a number of volunteering opportunities available, including dog walking, cat cuddling, small animal socialization, and animal photography. Their website is full of success stories and cute photos and videos of the animals in their care. They also encourage supporters to shop with local small businesses that donate a portion of their profits to the shelter.

SPCA of Northern Nevada Shelter

SPCA of Northern Nevada Shelter

What we like: The SPCA of Northern Nevada runs a thrift shop as well as an outlet where you can pay for goods by the pound and snap up books for just $0.25 each. They also run a cat cafe, where you can enjoy locally brewed coffee and pastries (as well as meeting cats!) during their special events. All the proceeds from the thrift store go directly to saving homeless pets.

New Hampshire

Salem Animal Rescue League (SARL)

Salem Animal Rescue League (SARL)

What we like: The Salem Animal Rescue League runs a number of community events, including a virtual “Tail Wagging Trivia” evening to raise funds. Their Facebook page is regularly updated with news from the shelter and also with success stories of pets who’ve been adopted. They share lots of photos along with regular appeals for supplies that they need.

Animal Rescue League of NH

Animal Rescue League of NH

What we like: The Animal Rescue League of NH has small animals and rabbits available for adoption, as well as dogs and cats. There are loads of different ways you can donate, including through their Wish List, through Amazon Smile, through donating your old vehicle, purchasing commemorative bricks, and much more. The staff are kind and friendly and the animals are all very well cared for.

New Jersey

Beacon Animal Rescue

Beacon Animal Rescue

What we like: Beacon Animal Rescue has a 100% adoption rate and cares for all animals until they go to their forever home. Volunteers are welcome for all sorts of roles, including dog walking. They run a wide range of different community events each year, including donation drives and events like their “Doggie Dash + Splash” race in partnership with Morey’s Piers in Wildwood.

Homeless Animal Adoption League (HAAL)

Homeless Animal Adoption League (HAAL)

What we like: HAAL is a volunteer-run shelter for cats (and kittens). They welcome new volunteers aged 16 or older and they run a range of community events to raise money, including photo-based events like “Picture Your Pet With Santa” and “Halloween Pictures With Your Pets”. They have lots of cats to choose from if you’re looking to adopt, all loved and well cared for.

New Mexico

Animal Humane New Mexico

Animal Humane New Mexico

What we like: Animal Humane New Mexico is a large shelter with several different locations. Their 6.5-acre Main Campus runs Camp Humane sessions for children aged 5 – 13. They also provide affordable veterinary care for income-qualifying clients. Their “Page Pals” program is for children aged 6-15 who want to read to cats, with parental supervision.

Farmington Regional Animal Shelter

Farmington Regional Animal Shelter

What we like: This shelter, run by the City Council, has plenty of opportunities to get involved through fostering, volunteering, and dog walking. This is also where lost pets are taken by the animal control officer, so they run a robust lost and found service. They also provide low cost spaying, neutering, and microchipping services.

New York

Animal Haven

Animal Haven

What we like: Animal Haven runs a comprehensive rehabilitation and behavioral training program that’s overseen by a certified dog trainer. This program includes daily training and enrichment sessions, advanced volunteer training, plus resources and continued support for adopters. They also run a Pet Behavior Hotline for the tri-state community.

ASPCA Adoption Center

ASPCA Adoption Center

What we like: ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is a large organization headquartered in New York City. As well as caring for dogs and cats in their adoption center, they do a lot of campaigning to help create, promote, enact, and enforce stronger animal-protection laws. Their current priorities include fighting against puppy mills, ending horse slaughter, supporting higher farm animal welfare standards, and more.

North Carolina

The Humane Society of Charlotte

The Humane Society of Charlotte

What we like: The Humane Society of Charlotte runs community programs, including Critter Care wellness clinics and a pet food bank. They also offer a range of behavior training classes and sessions. These include adult playgroup, puppy & small dog playgroup, canine college (which focuses on good manners, learning commands, and more), and private sessions. Like many shelters, they also run spay and neuter programs.

Paws4Ever

Paws4Ever

What we like: Paws4Ever has a members-only dog park where you can let your dog run around off-leash. It’s open daily from 8am until dusk. There’s also an on-leash nature trail through the woods for you and your dog to explore together. Their shelter offers lots of support for adopters and their website features many “Happy Tails” from pet parents who’ve adopted from Paws4ever. They welcome foster pet parents and volunteers (ages 12-15 can volunteer with a parent; ages 16+ can volunteer alone).

North Dakota

Central Dakota Humane Society (CDHS)

Central Dakota Humane Society (CDHS)

What we like: The Central Dakota Humane Society runs a number of community events, including their “Yee-Haw Bene-Pet”, to raise money for pets in need. They also work with local students at Bismark public schools to create your pet’s portrait, with proceeds shared between CDHS, the Bismarck Public Schools Foundation, and the Bismarck Public Schools Fine Arts Program. CDHS has lots of information about its adoption process available on the website, so you know what to expect.

Homeward Animal Shelter

Homeward Animal Shelter

What we like: The Homeward Animal Shelter offers adoption discounts through their “Senior-to-Senior” program, where senior citizens can adopt animals of 6 years or over for 50% off the regular fee. All current military members and veterans are eligible for a 25% discount on the adoption fee. They welcome junior volunteers (aged 8 – 16), accompanied by a parent or guardian, for kitten socialization.

Ohio

SICSA Pet Adoption and Wellness Center

SICSA Pet Adoption and Wellness Center

What we like: SICSA offers help with pet food and supplies for owners experiencing temporary hardships. They also have a “No Pet Left Behind” program that waives the adoption fees for pets that have been waiting for a while to find a home. (You can view these pets on their website.)

Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County

Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County

What we like: You can drop into the Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County during open hours and potentially adopt and take home a pet the same day. They work with Grafton Correctional Training, sending some dogs to go through an 8- to 12-week program with inmates. They also have a “Free Cats for Seniors” program, where over-60s can adopt a cat aged 8 or older for free.

Oklahoma

Moore Animal Shelter and Adoption Center

Moore Animal Shelter and Adoption Center

What we like: This friendly shelter is run by the City of Moore. It’s open 6 days a week and welcomes donations of money and pet items (including food, blankets, toys, treats, and more). It’s a small facility with kind, caring, and loving staff. They work to unite lost pets with their owners, too.

Bella SPCA Rescue Center

Bella SPCA Rescue Cente

What we like: The Bella SPCA Rescue Center offers low-cost spaying and neutering every day: just call to schedule the surgery. They also offer a veterinary assistance program for low-income, elderly, or terminally ill pet owners. Their foster program includes 24-hour on-call support as well as everything you need (crate, food, collar, leash, medications, etc).

Oregon

Oregon Humane Society

Oregon Humane Society

What we like: The Oregon Humane Society runs a huge number of annual events, including their Diamond Collar Awards, Doggie Dash, Pug Crawl, Cannon Beach Corgi Day, and lots more. They have a free behavior helpline (even if you haven’t adopted a pet from them) and they offer good-value virtual and in-person training classes.

Heartland Humane Shelter & Care

Heartland Humane Shelter and Care

What we like: Heartland Humane Shelter & Care runs a number of community services, including their pet food pantry (no income verification required) and a safe housing program that works in partnership with local social service organizations to care for pets while owners are in local shelters. The owners are allowed to visit their pet during the shelter open hours and pets are returned once the owner is ready.

Pennsylvania

Brandywine Valley SPCA

Brandywine Valley SPCA

What we like: Brandywine Valley SPCA has multiple adoption centers, which are clean and well-kept. Staff are friendly and helpful and the adoption process is very straightforward. They run a wide range of community programs, including a pet food pantry, a loner crate program, and free housing and care for the pets of domestic violence victims.

Central PA Humane Society

Central PA Humane Society

What we like: The Central PA Humane Society runs a low-cost spay/neuter program. They also have regular fundraisers, including an annual “fur ball” that’s now into its 9th year. They welcome volunteers and don’t set a minimum or maximum age: the whole family is welcome to come. Under 18s need to be supervised by a parent or guardian, however.

Rhode Island

Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL)

Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL)

What we like: PARL runs vaccination and microchipping clinics, at very reasonable rates. They also offer cheap spaying and neutering. Their Pet Food Pantry provides pet owners facing financial hardship with pet food, cat litter, and other supplies. You can donate to their special LEAP (Life Enrichment Animal Program) to provide dogs, cats, and small animals with enrichment activities and behavioral support.

Animal Rescue Rhode Island (ARRI)

Animal Rescue Rhode Island (ARRI)

What we like: ARRI runs a number of programs and services, including their Bark & Ride program to transport animals to their Peace Dail RI haven from overcrowded facilities in southern states, where they are at risk of euthanasia. Their events include an elegant Fur Ball seaside gala, the Bark on the Beach annual dog walk, and more.

South Carolina

Palmetto Animal League (PAL)

Palmetto Animal League (PAL)

What we like: The Palmetto Animal League runs a thrift store in Sheridan Park to support their animal-rescue programs. They’ll accept large items, including furniture. You can volunteer at the thrift store, foster cats or dogs, walk dogs, help with PAL’s signature fundraising events, and more. There’s no adoption fee to adopt their senior cats (10+ years) and senior dogs (8+ years).

Charleston Animal Society

Charleston Animal Society

What we like: The Charleston Animal Society has a mission to fight cruelty, running humane education programs and calling for a peer-reviewed scientific study to inform community leaders of the working conditions of carriage horses in Charleston. Their shelter offers a wide range of youth programs, including classroom programs, summer camps, and more. You can donate in a wide range of ways, including through kennel sponsorship, memorial gifts, and more.

South Dakota

Aberdeen Area Humane Society

Aberdeen Area Humane Society

What we like: The Aberdeen Area Humane Society runs a number of community events and services, including their “2nd Paw” sale of second-hand goods and their “Puttin’ for Paws” charity golf event. They’re currently fundraising for a new shelter building and offering donors who make significant contributions an opportunity to permanently name an area of the building.

Brookings Regional Humane Society

Brookings Regional Humane Society

What we like: The Brookings Regional Humane Society runs a number of events, including their “Paws for Wine” charity gala. They welcome business sponsors and link to them on their website. Their foster program places animals who need extra care, whether that’s with bottle feeding, medical needs, or behavioral needs.

Tennessee

Humane Society Of The Tennessee Valley

Humane Society Of The Tennessee Valley

What we like: The Humane Society Of The Tennessee Valley welcomes volunteers aged 13+ as well as children under 12 (pre-K and up) to read to their animals. They accept court-ordered volunteers on a limited basis. They run a PetHelp program that aims to keep pets and people together through a wellness clinic and a pet food pantry.

Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County

Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County

What we like: Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Count runs low-cost spay/neuter programs as well as vaccination events. They welcome donations of food and other supplies, such as blankets, pet toys, crates, and more. Their website explains their detailed adoption process and the adoption fees involved.

Texas

SPCA of Texas

SPCA of Texas

What we like: The SPCA of Texas has multiple facilities, including an equine and livestock center where you can adopt horses, pigs, and more. You can easily browse available animals on the website and even sign up for Pet Alerts: a system that will email you if a pet of your preferred breed, sex, age, and/or size becomes available. Their SPCA of Texas Young Professionals group provides networking and social events for young professionals.

Animal Defense League of Texas: Paul Jolly Center for Pet Adoptions

Animal Defense League of Texas Paul Jolly Center for Pet Adoptions

What we like: The ADL has a great volunteering program, including a Pet Champion Program for children volunteering alongside parents (currently on hold due to Covid-19). Young people aged 12 – 15 can volunteer with a parent or guardian and 16 – 18s can volunteer with a signed waiver. Foster volunteers can take part in the short-term EmBark program for medium to large dogs, giving them a break from shelter life.

Utah

Humane Society of Utah

Humane Society of Utah

What we like: The Humane Society of Utah runs low-cost veterinary clinics providing cat and dog spay/neuter and vaccination services at affordable prices, at a variety of locations. They welcome volunteers aged 12 and over (12 – 15 year olds must have an adult working side-by-side with them). They also run a “Happy Tails Reading Program” for elementary school-age children to come and read to their cats.

Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society

What we like: The Best Friends Animal Society leads the “No-Kill Utah” initiative, which they launched in 2014. This brings together Utah’s shelters, rescue groups, and more to aim to end the killing of cats and dogs in Utah’s shelters. They not only welcome volunteers (ages 12+) but also have an internship program, offering a variety of three-month internships from time to time.

Vermont

Rutland County Humane Society

Rutland County Humane Society

What we like: Got a litter of kittens or puppies that you don’t have homes for? Rutland County residents can bring any mom cat or dog, plus all her kittens or puppies, to the Rutland County Humane Society. They’ll spay the mom and return her to you (at no cost), then they’ll find loving homes for the kittens and puppies, after spaying and neutering them. They also run programs to neuter feral cats and to support people caring for stray or loosely owned cats.

Second Chance Animal Center

Second Chance Animal Center

What we like: The Second Chance shelter is kept immaculately clean, with kind and knowledgable staff who are happy to help however they can. They always have a good variety of dogs, cats, and other animals to choose from. Their SNAP program provides low-cost spaying and neutering, and they also offer other medical treatments like microchipping.

Virginia

Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA)

Animal Welfare League of Arlington

What we like: AWLA offers a range of services, including their H.E.L.P. Program Housing Emergency Lifeline for Pets) offers short-term pet housing to local residents experiencing a health or housing crisis. They run community care clinics and training classes as well as having a range of youth programs, including kids’ workshops, summer camp (ages 6-13) both in-person and virtually, and more. Groups of all ages can pay to take a tour of the facility.

Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center

Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center

What we like: This government-run animal shelter has low adoption fees: $80 for all dogs, $60 for cats, and just $25 for animals previously spayed or neutered. Volunteers are welcome for many roles, including dog walking, cat socialization, special events, animal transport, and more. The shelter also runs a pet food pantry for Montgomery County residents.

Washington

Seattle Humane

Seattle Humane

What we like: Seattle Humane runs a Home Free program to help pets with the greatest needs to find loving homes. Adopters don’t pay a fixed fee for these pets; instead, they donate what they can. They also have a Pet Owner Assistance Fund, which helps pets stay with their families. This covers things like emergency veterinary bills, behavioral training, short-term boarding, and pet supplies. Their MaxMobile visits local schools for free, though donations and pet food drives are welcome.

Auburn Valley Humane Society

Auburn Valley Humane Society

What we like: The Auburn Valley Humane Society is open for walk-in cat adoptions (dog adoptions are by appointment only). They run a thrift store to raise funds for the shelter, as well as a wide variety of different programs. These include free “Pets Without Me” program that provides rehoming assistance for dogs and cats living in the City of Auburn, Washington, whose owners are no longer able to care for them due to death or disability.

West Virginia

Animal Welfare Society (AWS)

Animal Welfare Society (AWS)

What we like: AWS welcomes volunteers aged 12+ (up to 15 year olds need their parent/guardian to accompany them). They also welcome foster carers, who look after animals with special medical needs or behavioral needs, mother animals with nursing litters, larger dogs, or very young kittens.

Humane Society of Raleigh County

Humane Society of Raleigh County

What we like: The Humane Society of Raleigh County offers kennel sponsorship: individuals, families or businesses pay $300 and get their name and/or business logo will be on a plaque on the kennel door for a year. Their website features all their dogs and cats that are available for adoption. They also run a pet pantry to help low-income residents.

Wisconsin

Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS)

Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS)

What we like: HAWS offers pet training and behavior classes along with humane education programs such as their “Kids ‘n Critters” day camp. They also run a private dog park where you can have the park to yourself (or for you and a friend) so that you don’t need to worry about negative interactions with other dogs or owners. There’s also a dog dock for dogs who love swimming. Both cost $20 for 45 minutes.

Elmbrook Humane Society

Elmbrook Humane Society

What we like: The Elmbrook Humane Society runs lots of community and educational events, including their “Kindness Club” for children aged 7-12, a Pet Sitter’s class for ages 10-16, and seminars for new adopters. They also have a Wags at Work program that brings puppies, kittens, dogs, or cats into workplaces. They welcome volunteers aged 12+ (under 18s must have an adult with them).

Wyoming

Park County Animal Shelter (PCAS)

Park County Animal Shelter (PCAS)

What we like: PCAS has a “Kitty Webcam” so you can watch the kitty room live on their website. They run spay and neuter clinics as well as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program to sterilize feral cats. Their “Home to Home” program helps pets to stay out of shelters. It’s free to use and helps current pet owners to find a new home for their pet without having to take them to a shelter first.

Paws for Life Animal League

Paws for Life Animal League

What we like: Paws for Life makes sure that all their animals are are vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped, and spayed or neutered before adoption. The staff are very friendly and welcoming, taking great care of the animals in the shelter. They welcome volunteers to help with tasks like walking dogs, cleaning, bathing and grooming dogs, taking photos of the animals, and keeping the grounds in good condition.

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.