How much does it cost to adopt a pet?

All fees can be found on our Fees page. 

What is covered in the adoption fee for cats and dogs?

Dog Adoption Fees include:  First round of vaccinations (DA2PP, Bordetella), a general dewormer, a heartworm test (if at least 6 months old), topical flea and tick treatment, a microchip and rabies vaccination.  The adoption fee also includes the spay or neuter surgery. 

Cat Adoption Fees include:  First round of vaccinations (FVRCP), a general dewormer, FIV/FELV test (if old enough), a topical flea and tick treatment, a microchip and rabies vaccination.   The adoption fee also includes either the spay or neuter surgery. 

NOTE:  If the animal is under the age of 4 months at the time of adoption, it will be considered too young to receive its rabies vaccination. The adopter can return with the pet once it reaches four months of age to receive its rabies inoculation at no cost. All dogs and cats must be vaccinated for rabies by 4 months of age as required by law. 

What if the animal is too small or sick to have its spay or neuter surgery?

All dogs and cats are required to be spayed or neutered before adoption. If an animal is unable to be spayed or neutered due to an illness, the animal may be held on deposit.  Once the animal is cleared by a WCAC veterinarian, surgery is completed, and adoption can be finalized.   

What is the adoption process?

We require that you be at least 18 years of age and provide identification, such as a driver's license. VISA and MasterCard, in addition to cash and checks, are accepted forms of payment. Wake County will not adopt out any cat or dog that has not been spayed or neutered. There are two adoption scenarios listed below.

Scenario 1 – The animal is already spayed or neutered. Simply pay the adoption fee and take the animal home on the same day.

Scenario 2 – The animal has not been spayed or neutered and is old enough and weighs enough for surgery. Put a deposit on the animal and we will schedule it for surgery. While the surgery slots often fill up quickly, we make every effort to schedule the surgery within a few days of the adoption date. Once the animal has surgery, you may pay the balance of the adoption fee and take it home. Note: In some cases, the animal may be too small or an illness prevents it from having the surgery. If that occurs, we will offer you the option of 1) refunding your deposit or 2) transferring your deposit to another animal or 3) keep your deposit on that pet until it is cleared by a WCAC Veterinarian. 

My animal is scheduled for surgery at the Animal Center. Will I be notified that the surgery has taken place?

When you place a deposit on an animal, you will be notified of its scheduled surgery date at the time the deposit is placed.  On that day, you will be able to pick up your new pet between 4pm and 6pm.  You will not receive a call that day unless the surgery date must be changed.

Where can I take my animal for a low-cost spay or neuter?

We've prepared a list of low-cost spay and neuter service providers in the area.

I adopted my animal from the Center and want to bring it in for its booster shots.

We are only able to provide care for animals in our care. Once the animal is adopted, you will need to take your new pet to your veterinarian for additional care and booster shots.

My animal needs a rabies shot. Where can I get a low-cost rabies vaccination?

Wake County offers rabies and microchip clinics in various locations. Check our rabies and microchip Web page for information on upcoming clinics. We provide rabies vaccinations for $5 and microchipping for $10 at these clinics.

I lost my pet. What do I do?

Follow the steps on our "how to find your lost pet" Web page.

If my lost pet is at the shelter, do I have to pay any fees?

Reclaim fees and boarding fees will apply.  There may also be a citation fee assessed. 

I found an animal. What do I do?

We recommend the following steps when looking for a pet’s owner:

  1. Submit a found animal report on Triangle Lost Pets. This website, sponsored by Wake County, allows individuals to post descriptive information and view maps of where pets have been lost or found. This site also allows individuals to prepare a Pet Flier that can be posted in neighborhoods, vet offices, grocery stores, convenience stores and the Wake County Animal Center.
  2. Get out in the neighborhood where you found the pet and ask people in the community if they know where the animal lives.

If you are unable to keep the animal for any length of time, you may surrender it to us during our office hours at no cost to you.

What are your requirements for turning in a stray or surrendering my animal?

First, we encourage you to review some options prior to surrendering your animal. If you've made a decision to bring your animal to the Center, please bring your driver's license or other form of identification and some proof that you own the animal. North Carolina State law requires proof of ownership when surrendering an animal to the shelter. If the animal is a stray, the animal will be held for 72 hours at the shelter prior to being made available for adoption, reclaim or euthanasia. We will also ask you to sign a form stating that you give up any claims to the animal and place it in our care. There is no fee. You can bring the animal in during the Center's office hours.


I saw an animal on Craigslist and it is different from the information posted on the Wake County website.

The Wake County Animal Center staff does not post to Craigslist and cannot guarantee the accuracy of its content. Some of the posted animals may have been adopted or euthanized days before they are posted on the Craigslist site. Well-meaning members of the public will post ads and pleas for help for the animals; however, the information posted may not be 100% correct. For a more up-to-date list of our animals available for adoption, visit our adoption gallery.


Are there any volunteer opportunities at the Adoption Center?

Of course, and we welcome you to volunteer. Visit our volunteer Web page to learn more, and contact our volunteer coordinator to sign up. Welcome—we're glad to have your help!