Before You Visit
Learn about the animals available for adoption using the Animal Search. For more details about an available animal, call DCHS's Adoption Center at (608) 838-0413 ext. 145. Discuss the adoption with everyone who lives in your home to make sure everyone is on the same page about a new pet. If you rent, discuss the adoption with your landlord and make sure you understand the pet policy.
If you are considering adopting a pit bull terrier or pit mix, make plans to discuss this more thoroughly with us. For example, many rental companies have insurance restrictions on what breed(s) they can allow in their properties.
- If you rent, DCHS will verify the landlord's pet policy by reviewing your lease agreement or by contacting your landlord directly before you adopt.
- If you own, we can verify ownership online for those who live in Dane County. Otherwise, please provide a mortgage or tax statement, deed, or home owner's insurance document.
Meeting the Animals
Visit one of our five adoption centers. Discuss with an Adoption Counselor the kind of pet that will best fit into your home. Meet with animals that appear to meet your needs and expectations. Review each animal's medical and behavior profile.
When you've found an animal that appears to be a good fit for you, fill out an application to adopt that animal. We encourage all members of a household meet a new pet before adoption.
Special considerations for dogs
- We ask that all members of your household meet the dog before adoption.
- If you own another dog(s), you may need to bring your dog(s) in for a supervised interaction at the shelter. Many of our dogs will not require this interaction, though, unless you request it.
Special considerations for rabbits
- We ask that all members of your household meet the rabbit before adoption.
- We ask that your resident rabbit visit the shelter to meet the rabbit to assure a good fit in a "bunny date."
In an effort to better assist adopters picking up their new best friends, the adoption team cannot guarantee guests arriving after 6pm (on weekdays) or 4pm (on weekends) will be able to meet with a pet. However, we will do our best to accommodate our guests arriving after those times given available staffing and volunteer resources.
Adopting Your New Pet
Applications can often be approved quickly, so it's often possible to bring your new pet home immediately.
- If you are not ready to bring an animal home immediately, you may place a hold on the animal until the end of the following day for a $20 non-refundable deposit towards its adoption fee.
- If an animal requires medical care before going home, we can reserve the animal for you until all medical procedures are complete, at no charge to you.
To finalize the adoption, we will explain our adoption agreement and policies, and provide you with the animal's medical records. Adoption fees vary by species.
Taking Your New Pet Home
Dogs must go home with their own leash, collar, and ID tag. (Slip leashes, choke chains, prong collars, and harnesses do not qualify.) Cats and critters must go home in secure carriers.
Leashes, collars, carriers and more are available for purchase at our adoption centers. Proceeds of sales at our main Adoption Center and Adoption Center-West support the life-saving work of Dane County Humane Society!