City Cast

How to Adopt a Pet in Chicago

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on August 7
Foster dog Sammy in West Town in 2020

Foster dog Sammy in West Town in 2020. (Erin Hooley / Tribune / Getty)

Between dog-sitting in the burbs and learning about Southwest Side dog parks, we’re sharing how you can bring home a furry friend in Chicago.

Where to Adopt

Chicago Animal Care & Control in Little Village is open daily, charges a $65 fee, and requires some paperwork — including a contract that owners will take their pets to a veterinarian within 14 days of adoption.

Animal Welfare League in Washington Park and Chicago Ridge require adoption applications and appointments for their pets, which can cost up to $275. But little critters — like gerbils and hamsters — go for less than $8 🤓

Paws in Lincoln Park requires a comPETibility quiz, an appointment, and that owners be at least 21-years-old. Fees — which range from $50 to almost $400 — include a spay/neuter surgery, microchip, vaccinations, a bag of pet food, a training webinar, and a vet visit.

Anti-Cruelty Society in River North asks adopters to complete a questionnaire and consultation. Puppies can go for $300 and kittens for $150, but the shelter also has guinea pigs and rabbits. Fees include many of the same perks as above — plus a 30-day return period if your pet isn’t a good match.

South Suburban Humane Society in Homewood and Matteson is trying to get 94 cats and dogs adopted in 94 days this summer under a special promotion. Not only are all pets fixed, microchipped, and vaccinated, dogs get checked for heartworms and cats get checked for feline leukemia.

What Else to Know

Dogs four months and older are required to be registered with the city, according to Chicago law. Why? A license tag can help owners reunite with their lost dogs. Plus, it’s required at many dog boarding and daycare centers.

You can register your dog for a one- or three-year emblem, which can cost more if your dog isn’t fixed. And if you don't do it? It can cost you at least $30 and up to $200.

Looking for a More Exotic Pet?

Chicagoland Exotic Animal Rescue helps rehome abandoned and stray birds, reptiles, and fish, founder Jessica Katz told us last year.

Hey Chicago

Want to know what's happening in Chicago? Sign up for our free newsletter, Hey Chicago. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.