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Adoption FAQs


The Aurora Animal Shelter understands that the adoption process is very exciting but can also be confusing and overwhelming. The process for adoption can be different at each animal welfare organization, shelter, and rescue. Below are the frequently asked questions regarding the adoption process at the Aurora Animal Shelter. If you have any other questions not answered on this page, please call the Aurora Animal Shelter at 303.326.8280.

Interested adopters are invited to stop by the shelter to view our Adoption Wall. If you see an animal that you are interested in, a shelter representative will discuss the animal with you. Some animals may have restrictions to the type of home that they are eligible to be adopted into. Often, the Aurora Animal Shelter knows very little history on the animals that are up for adoptions, so any restrictions are intended to set the animal up for success as they adjust to a new home.

After discussing the animal with staff and if it seems like a good fit, staff will bring the animal out to meet with you in person. Adopters should plan on bringing household members including their spouse, children, and potentially resident dog(s) to meet with the animal.

If the animal hit's it off with the potential adopters, the next step would be to fill out the paperwork! Adopters must have their ID present, as well as cash, check or card to pay the adoption fee associated with that animal. For an outline of adoption fees, see our adoption webpage. Generally, the paperwork process takes ~ 30 minutes. Once the paperwork is completed, adopters take home their new pet!


Can I visit the shelter to see the animals?
Unfortunately, our kennels are not available for walk-throughs. However, we do invite adopters to visit our lobby to view our Adoption Wall. You can also view our available animals online on our Adoption Page.

How can I view your adoptable animals?
Available animals are posted on the shelter's Adoption Wall inside of their lobby. Or you can view our available animals from the comfort of your own home online at our Adoption Page.

Do I need to visit the animal before adopting?
Yes, a visit is required to ensure that it is a good match for both you and the animal.

How do I meet with a pet?
Visit the shelter and view our Adoption Wall. If an animal catches your interest, our staff will go over the animal's behavior, needs or any medical concerns prior to bringing the animal out for a visit.

Is there an application?
No application is required. Instead we screen potential adopters prior to the visit to make sure that the animal in question is a good fit with your living situation and lifestyle. There will be paperwork to complete if you decide to adopt.

Do you need to be an Aurora resident to adopt from the Aurora Animal Shelter?
No! Anyone who meets the animal's needs is welcome to adopt. However, if you plan to meet with an animal but cannot come in for a few days, it is possible that another individual may adopt the animal prior to your visit.

Can I place a hold on the animal so no one else can adopt it?
We do not allow holds; our available animals are on a first come first serve basis.

How old do I need to be to adopt?
You must be 18 years old to adopt.

I was told the animal was a stray. What does that mean?
A stray is a pet that has strayed from its home, this does not mean the animal has always been homeless or is feral. Feral animals have had little to no interaction with people, act wild and generally cannot be handled safely by people.

Do I need to bring my kids to meet the animal?
We require that any children that live in the home be present during the visit. It is extremely important to make sure that both the children and the animal will do well together before bringing the animal into your home.

What more can you tell me about the pet I want? Does it do well with kids? Is it housebroken? Litterbox trained?
Unfortunately, most adoptable animals are lost pets that were never reclaimed by their owners and we do not know their history. However, any notes on behavior witnessed at the shelter or any notes from previous owners will be shared with adopters.

Does this animal get along with (other dogs, cats)?
Some animals will have the restriction to be the only animal in the home. Others, however, may be eligible to be adopted into homes with a resident pet. It is important to note that animals may cohabitate well with certain individual animals and dislike others. Be mindful that there will likely be an adjustment period whenever a new pet is brought into a home. Our evaluation team will make recommendations based on the behavior seen during the animal's behavior assessment. We do not introduce cats to cats, nor dogs to cats. Certain dog breeds instinctively have a high prey drive, and thus may not be well suited for a household with cats or small animals. Staff will inform you of any restrictions on an animal. Aurora Animal Shelter always suggests slow and monitored introductions to help everyone adjust; familiarizing animals with their new situation can take time! Simple steps such as not allowing animals to be loose unsupervised together and keeping feeding spaces separate can help ease this process. Individuals interested in adopting a dog should plan on bringing their resident dog to the meet and greet. Individuals may not bring their cat to meet a dog they are interested in adopting, nor vice versa.

Can my dog(s) meet the dog I am interested in adopting?
We prefer that they do! Often, we require a dog meet and greet between the shelter dog and resident dog(s). This is done outside, first through the fence and then nose to nose. All dogs must remain on a leash and be handled by an adult. If your dog is on a retractable leash, we ask that it remained locked at no longer than 6 feet.

Are the animals spayed or neutered before being adopted?
The State of Colorado requires that all dogs and cats from a Colorado shelter must be spayed or neutered prior to adoption. At the Aurora Animal Shelter, we perform this procedure prior to making them available for adoption.

Will this dog require training?
Plainly, yes. Every dog will need training as it adjusts to a new home and understanding the new rules. Adopters should expect to work with their adopted dog for training, personally and with a professional. It is always a good plan to expect to talk to a trainer after adopting a dog. Trainers help ensure that you and the animal are effectively communicating. The City of Aurora offers dog training courses, as do may other organizations. Talk to trainers about what your hopes and expectations for the dog are as well as the behaviors you currently see. Aurora Animal Shelter supports and practices positive reinforcement training methodology.

Has the animal been vaccinated?
Upon intake both cats and dogs are vaccinated to protect them against diseases. They are also vaccinated with a 1-year rabies vaccine prior to being placed up for adoption. Their medical records, which list all medical procedures, including the vaccines administered by the shelter, will be provided at time of adoption.

Will Aurora Animal Shelter be the primary vet for my adopted pet?
The Aurora Animal Shelter is not a veterinary clinic and does not provide medical care to animals not currently in its care. Individuals adopting from the Aurora Animal Shelter will be responsible for any of the animal's health issues that arise after adopting. Aurora Animal Shelter will provide adopters with the medical history on file for the animal. To ease the process of new adopters finding a veterinary care provider, Aurora Animal Shelter participates in the Connect for Care  program.

Where do you get these animals?
Animals come to the Aurora Animal Shelter through many different avenues. Most of the animals in our care came into the shelter as stray pets in Aurora, while other animals were surrendered by previous owners. Aurora Animal Shelter also will take animals transferred from other animal welfare organizations in Colorado. All of our pets undergo a medical and behavioral assessment before going up for adoption.

How long are animals up for adoption?
Until they find their home! There is no limit to how long an animal can be an adoptions candidate. If you decide not to adopt a certain animal, it will remain up for adoption waiting for the right home! Depending on length of stay or behavioral changes, the animal may be transferred to or from an organization for whichever facility best suits it's needs.

What if I want to adopt an animal that is on the "lost" page?
Animals are not eligible for adoption until they are on the 'Adoptables' page. There are no options to put holds on animals on the lost page. Our priority for animals on the 'Lost' page is to get them home to their owners. If you do notice an animal on this page that you are interested in, it is best to keep an eye on the 'Adoptables' page to check to see if that animal goes up for adoption.

When will a lost & found pet be ready for adoption?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide an exact timeframe as many factors can go into play once an animal has become shelter property. Every animal at the shelter must undergo a behavior evaluation and medical examination. Adoptability is usually determined based on their results. If the animal requires surgery (such as a neuter or spay) it will affect when an animal is made available for adoption. Certain medical procedures may require longer recoveries. Please note that the results of the behavior evaluation and medical examination may result in an animal being sent into foster care or even sent to a rescue organization and will not be available for adoption through the shelter.

Is there a waiting list for specific breeds, puppies, or kittens?
No, we do not offer any waiting list. We strongly advise to check our website frequently. All available animals are on a first come first serve basis.

Am I able to foster an animal to see if it's a good match before adopting it?
We do not offer a trail run before adopting as this can be extremely stressful and confusing to the animal. For more information about how our foster program operates, visit our Foster page.

What if it doesn't work out can I bring the pet back?
Please do! We prefer that an animal that was adopted from us be returned to us. We will ask for any additional information you can provide about the animal so we can find the right home for it. Depending on how long you have owned the animal, a surrender fee may apply.

Can I get a refund?
Unfortunately, we do not offer refunds.

Do you offer discounts to military?
As a thank you for your service, we offer a 50% discount to active and retired military on regular adoption fees (proof of service is required).

Do you offer a senior discount?
Yes, for residents age 65 and older we offer a 50% discount on regular adoption fees (proof of ages is required).

Is there an Aurora pet limit?
Yes, according to Aurora city ordinance you can have up to 3 dogs and 5 cats. If you live outside of the Aurora city limits, we strongly recommend checking your city's/county's ordinance for a pet limit. Landlords, HOA's or other housing regulatory agencies may impose other limitations as well. Always check with your local jurisdiction as well as your housing situation!

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