Adoption Process

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You can view animals for adoption in person at Winnebago County Animal Services anytime during our business hours; you DO NOT need an appointment. All animals are available for adoption; some dogs on stray hold may be pre-selected for adoption through our open selection model. If the dog is not reclaimed by their owner, the adopter who pre-selected the dog must complete the adoption by the end of business on the first day the dog is available. A deposit of the full adoption fee will be required to pre-select a pet for adoption. Be sure to view all the animals on both the ADOPT pages and the LOST and FOUND pages.

What does pre-select adoption mean?

Some of the cats or dogs listed for adoption may be at Winnebago County Animal Services on their stray hold allowing their original owner to reclaim them. Cats or dogs on stray hold may be pre-selected for adoption with an approved application and by paying the full adoption fee. If the owner does not reclaim the cat or dog, then it will be altered and go home after the stray hold period is over. Winnebago County Animal Services only takes one pre-select hold per pet. Dogs at Animal Services passed their stray hold time or owner surrendered and currently available for adoption are available on a first-come, first served basis with an approved application. Cats with no identification are placed for adoption the same day they are brought to Animal Services.

Anyone under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult when visiting Animal Services.

Qualifications/Requirements to adopt include:

  • Must be at least 18 years old

  • Have a State-issued photo ID such as a driver's license

  • Up-to-date rabies vaccinations and county rabies tags of any other cats and dogs you already own

    • Please note that we honor out of county ordinances regarding rabies vaccinations and registration for the county you reside in.

  • Little or no animal-related complaints on file

  • History of being a responsible pet owner (regular rabies vaccinations and compliance with animal ordinances)

  • Please contact your landlord and let them know you are considering adopting a pet. Some landlords may require a pet deposit or have restrictions in place such as the size of pet.

  • We adopt to out of county or out of state residents; however, you must come to the shelter in person. We do not ship or transport animals to adopters.

  • All adoptions must be done in person.

As part of your adoption fee, all cats and dogs adopted from Winnebago County Animal Services are spayed or neutered before going to their new home. Cats or dogs that have already been sterilized can go home the same day of adoption. If an animal requires spay or neuter surgery, it will remain at the shelter until the next scheduled day of surgeries.

Winnebago County Animal Services will also implant a Microchip in your new pet as a permanent form of identification implanted between the pet’s shoulders. It's important that you keep your address and telephone number current with Winnebago County Animal Services and the microchip company in case your pet becomes lost.

Other services that may be included in the adoption fee:

  • Age appropriate vaccinations

  • Flea and tick preventative

  • Worming, heartworm test (dogs 6 months and older)

  • Parvovirus test (puppies under 6 months may be tested if showing symptoms)

Once the adoption questionnaire is approved and the adoption is final, we will explain the contract and policies and give you a copy of your pet’s medical records for any procedures completed by Winnebago County Animal Services. The adoption paperwork includes an exam card, the adoption contract, medical history, microchip certificate, and rabies certificate. We encourage you to take all of your adoption paperwork with you to the veterinarian on your first wellness visit.

If your new pet becomes ill within two weeks of adoption, please contact Winnebago County Animal Services immediately.

You may complete the adoption questionnaire online before coming to the shelter. Having a completed questionnaire along with the necessary requirements above may speed up the adoption process for you.

Feel free to come to the shelter in person to fill out an application too!  You can also download the application and fax it to us at 815-319-4101 or drop it back off at the shelter.  

ID Your Cat or Dog!

Use a rabies tag, microchip, or an ID tag with your name and current phone number.

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Want to adopt a particular breed of dog or cat? Click to contact us!

Winnebago County Animal Services
4517 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
P: 815-319-4100
F: 815-319-4101

Shelter Hours:
Monday: 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday-Friday: 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday: CLOSED
*Please note, all adoptions end 30 minutes prior to closing.

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