Adoption Process & Fees

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) rescues and shelters all kinds of animals including dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, bunny rabbits, birds, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats and more. See all of our dogs, cats, and small companion animals for adoption.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is a great place to visit when considering animal adoption. We aren’t just your local animal shelter, we will help you find the right pet and understand how to care for your new companion, and are always available to offer advice even after your adoption is complete.

The League adopts animals to residents of Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

All pets up for adoption receive basic health exams, tests and vaccinations. We work hard to know each animal and to help you make a good match.

The Animal Adoption Process

The adoption process begins when you visit our animals. Once you have met a pet you are interested in adopting, you will complete an application and an adoption counselor will review it with you.

Animal Adoption Requirements

Identification & Address Verification

Please bring with you a photo id such as a driver’s license or a current passport showing that you are at least 18 years old. For address confirmation, anything with your current name and address will do, such as a driver’s license, checkbook, utility bill or lease. If you rent, please confirm with your landlord or management office the pet policy including any restrictions, such as weight limits, type and number of pets allowed, etc.

 Adoption Application

Once you meet a pet you would like to adopt, we ask that you to complete an adoption application. Applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

Taking Your New Pet Home

Your new pet can’t wait to go home with you! Most pets can be adopted at time of application, and we have most of the supplies you’ll need to start their new life off right!

If needed, approved adopters can place a hold (for a non-refundable $25 fee) on their chosen pet until the next business day*. The $25 fee goes towards the price of adoption. We only accept one hold per pet.

*Kittens and puppies under 6 months old must be taken home at time of application. The hold fee is not applicable to small companion animals.

Spay/Neuter Requirement

Virginia law requires that all dogs and cats adopted from shelters be spayed or neutered. We also require that rabbits, ferrets (most ferrets are already sterilized), and chinchillas be spayed or neutered. Dogs, cats, and rabbits are neutered or spayed prior to adoption unless an animal has a medical condition that requires the surgery to be postponed.

Animal Stray Period

Virginia law requires the shelter to keep strays on the premises for at least five or up to 10 days to give owners the time to find them. You cannot adopt a stray until this period is complete.

Arlington County Dog License

If you are a resident of Arlington County and you adopt a dog that is at least four months old and vaccinated against rabies, you will be required to purchase a dog license at the time of adoption. A lifetime license is $30 and must be paid by cash or check made payable to the Treasurer of Arlington County.

Adoption Fees

Dog adoption fees:
Puppies six months and younger and dogs under 25lbs………$275
Adult dogs……………………………………………………………………..$200
Senior dogs (10 years and older)………………………………………$175

Adoption fees include:

  • A certificate for a free exam with a participating veterinarian. Fees for other services performed will be paid by the adopter to the veterinary hospital.
  • Spay/neuter surgery (Additional fees may apply under special circumstances.)
  • A heartworm test for dogs older than four months
  • Age-appropriate vaccinations
  • A personalized I.D. tag
  • A microchip
  • A free phone consultation or $30 off any training service from Fur-Get-Me-Not
  • An information packet

Cat Adoption Fees
Kittens six months and younger……………………………….$200
Kitten pair……………………………………………………………..$300
Adult cats………………………………………………………………$125
Senior cats (10 years and older)……………………………….$100

Adoption fees include:

  • A certificate for a free exam with a participating veterinarian. Fees for other services performed will be paid by the adopter to the veterinary hospital.
  • Spay/neuter surgery (Additional fees may apply under special circumstances.)
  • A feline leukemia/feline AIDS test for cats older than six months
  • Age-appropriate vaccinations
  • A personalized I.D. tag
  • A microchip
  • An information packet

Small Companion Animal Adoption Fees:
Rabbits (spay/neuter included), ferrets, and chinchillas…………$65
Guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, gerbils, and rats………………………..$10
Finches, parakeets, doves, love birds, canaries, cockatiels……….$25
Large parrots (Quaker, ring-neck, Amazon, Macaw, etc.)………..$150+

The small companion animal adoption fee includes:

  • A certificate for a free exam with a participating veterinarian. Fees for other services performed will be paid by the adopter to the veterinary hospital.
  • If applicable, a certificate covering a portion of the spay/neuter surgery but not additional fees such as hospitalization, blood-work, and medications.
  • An information packet
AWLA