Adoption Process

How to adopt from the Seattle Animal Shelter...

What should I bring?

  • Driver's license or other current picture ID.
  • If you rent, bring a copy of your lease or your landlord's name and phone number.
  • Any family or household members who will live with the pet.
  • If you have a resident dog and are looking to adopt an additional dog, both dogs will need to meet at the shelter.

How much time should I allow?

Allow at least one hour for meeting the pet and filling out paperwork. Adoption paperwork must be started one hour before closing.

8 Steps to Adoption

You'll meet the adoption animals and then fill out paperwork and interview with staff. If you and an animal are a match, schedule the health services he needs and pay the adoption fees. You'll be informed when you can pick up your pet and take him home.

Step 1. Look at the adoption animals.
Ask an Animal Care Officer or volunteer to show you around.

Step 2. Fill out the initial paperwork.
Fill out the adoption application.

Step 3. Interview with the Animal Care Officer.
The Animal Care Officer reviews your application with you and asks some follow-up questions.

Step 4. Interact with the adoption animals.
Once the Animal Care Officer has signed your adoption application, ask the officer or a volunteer to take you to the adoption room. When you see an animal you're interested in, the volunteer or staff member can take him out of his cage so you can spend time with him. If you live with other people, the whole family meets your prospective pet.

Step 5. Meet with the Animal Care Officer for adoption counseling.
This interview helps you make an informed choice about adopting and helps us find the right home for the animal.

If you are new to pet ownership, the Animal Care Officer can talk with you about the lifestyle changes that pets bring, the traits of different breeds, and more.

Step 6. Complete the final adoption agreement.
Sign the forms covering fees, licensing, vaccines and more.

Step 7. Pay the cashier.
Click here for the complete list of fees.

Step 8. Schedule a time to take your new pet home.
The Animal Care Officer lets you know when your pet will be ready to come home. This time varies according to your pet's spay/neuter needs.

What will it cost?

Adoption costs cover a pet license (Seattle and unincorporated King County only), spay/neuter services, vaccinations and worming, a feline leukemia test, a microchip, and a certificate for a free initial health exam at any local veterinary hospital. Adoption costs vary, view our complete list of Adoption Fees.

I saw this dog/cat/critter on Petfinder. Is he available?

Petfinder shows pets living at the shelter and in foster care. If he's here, we'll look him up when you arrive. If he's listed as a foster animal, we'll refer you to his foster instructions.

What if I see an animal I like, but there's no "I'm Available for Adoption" sign on his cage?

Many animals at the shelter are waiting for their owners to claim them. If you are interested in adopting one of these animals, we have a "First Choice" reservation system. Fill out an application and talk with an Animal Care Officer. If you're qualified to adopt the animal, you become the "First Choice."

The Animal Care Officer will share with you the date that the animal will be available if his owner does not claim him. You'll need to call the day before to see if the animal has been claimed. If he hasn't, you have all day of the available date to adopt him. After that date, the animal will be available to all eligible adopters.

How do I adopt a foster animal?

You can fill out the application (for dogs) or call the foster voicemail line at 206-684-0685 (for cats or critters). You can also meet the foster animals at one of our offsite adoption events.

For a foster dog, cat or critter shown on a poster at the shelter or on Petfinder, follow the instructions in their posting.

If you and the foster animal seem like a good match, a volunteer or Animal Care Officer will contact you within 48 hours of your call or application. You'll get to meet and get to know the foster animal.

If you decide to adopt the foster animal, visit the Seattle Animal Shelter and follow the standard adoption procedures (fill out adoption paperwork, pay fees, etc.).