Adopt a Pet

A cute sleepy puppy resting on a girl’s shoulder

The Harris County Animal Shelter offers a safe haven to hundreds of lost, neglected and abandoned animals. We’re working in partnership with the community to create a secure, healthy and caring environment for all the animals in our care.  

Please refer to the questions below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Contact us by phone 281-999-3191 (except Saturday and Sunday when our call center is closed) if you don’t find what you’re looking for. 

Every effort is made to find homes for the animals in our facility, however, there are certain guidelines we’re required to follow:

  • Stray animals must stay here a minimum of three working days to allow the rightful owners to locate them.
  • Animals that show any sign of aggression are not adoptable.

Feel free to view photos of dogs and cats of all breeds, ages and sizes housed at the shelter. And remember, our selection changes daily so check back with us often. 

How do I adopt a pet?

Simply come to the shelter during regular adoption hours and meet with one of our adoption counselors. All adopters must be 18 years old or above and adoptions must be done in person.

Which animal should I choose?
  • Are you looking for a quiet, laid-back lap cat or a “ready-to-play” dog? 
  • Will your landscaping survive the natural digging behaviors of a lab puppy? 
  • Does the dog or cat match your energy level?

Once you have an idea of what type of pet fits your lifestyle, stop in and speak with one of our pet adoption counselors. Adopting a pet is a serious, lifelong commitment and our experienced counselors will be happy to help you find and select the right pet for you.

You’ll be given the opportunity to observe, pet and play with your potentially new furry friend before making your decision.

How do I prepare before I adopt?
A few suggestions to help prepare for a new pet:

  • Be sure other pets you have are currently vaccinated before bringing home a new pet.
  • Find a veterinarian if you do not already have one.
  • Prepare other family members and discuss the responsibilities associated with having a new pet in the home.  It's important that everyone be in agreement with the decision to adopt.
  • Evaluate your home and yard to be sure it is safe for your new pet.  All dogs and cats in unincorporated Harris County are required by law to be confined in their own yard or on a leash at all times.  When adopting a dog, check your fence to be sure it is secure enough to keep your new pet from escaping. 
  • If you are adopting a cat, the safest place to keep them is inside the house.  If allowed to roam, cats can be injured by loose dogs, hit by a car or exposed to diseases that could harm the cat and/or family members.
What is included in the adoption and what is the process?

Cats and dogs (both) are microchipped, dewormed, spayed or neutered and come with: 

  • A collar
  • Rabies vaccination and tag
  • A Harris County annual license tag
  • The medical history while in our care

We strongly encourage everyone to bring their new pet, along with the medical history, to a veterinarian within three days for follow-up exams and vaccination boosters. You will be given a list of veterinarians that will perform the first exam free of charge.

We accept cash, American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover. Checks are not accepted at our facility. 

How do I adopt a cat at Petco River Oaks?

The Harris County Animal Shelter offers cats ready for adoption at Petco in River Oaks at 2110 South Shepherd, Houston.  Adopters will be considered on a first come, first served basis.

When you’ve chosen a cat for adoption, bring the card hanging from the cat cage (showing the six digit animal ID number) to our animal shelter at 612 Canino Rd. in Houston during the following shelter hours to process your adoption.

Monday – Friday
1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Saturday – Sunday:
11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Cats have been dewormed, spayed or neutered and come with:

  • A collar
  • Rabies vaccination and tag
  • Harris County annual license tag 
  • Microchip information 
  • A cardboard carrier to take them home

Bring the receipt to the store manager at Petco and they will release your new pet.

What is the return policy?

All animals placed in our adoption program are evaluated for health and temperament. Because the animals in our shelter are often stray, with no known medical history, it is possible that some may not show signs of illness until several weeks after adoption. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to take your new pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible to follow up on all necessary vaccinations. Should your new pet become ill, we do offer a two-week health guarantee for adoption animals if that animal has seen a veterinarian within the first 72 hours of the adoption. The adoption fee can not be refunded, but you can choose another pet within six months of the return.

Check our current events calendar to find out what’s going on. 

Mobile Adoption Events

For more information, contact: 

Harris County Public Health  Veterinary Public Health :
612 Canino Road 
Houston, TX 77076 
Phone: (281) 999-3191
Fax: (281) 847-1911 

Driving Directions to HCPH Veterinary Public Health (Google Maps) 
Services Provided by HCPH Veterinary Public Health 

Adoption hours:  
Please note adoption hours end earlier than regular lobby hours.
Monday - Friday 1:00 pm - 5:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Lobby Shelter Hours: 
Monday - Friday 1:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (no animal intake)

Phone Hours (for our call center):
Monday – Friday
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (closed for lunch) 
1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 
Phones cannot be answered on Saturday and Sunday. Our call center is closed. Feel free to come in.

Find your “furrever friend” and tour our new adoption bus.