Adoption Process

Our process helps you decide which dog is the right fit for you, your family, and your lifestyle.

What Dogs are Available?

Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter provides a temporary home to lost and stray dogs. The dogs are held for a minimum of 72 hours in order for the owner to claim them. After this holding period, the unclaimed dogs may be available for adoption.


Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment. The cost of veterinary care, food, grooming, flea and tick treatment, and other items can easily reach hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. You must also be prepared for house training, and dealing with normal behavior problems such as chewing, barking, digging, etc.

Please be sure that you have considered the financial and emotional commitment required for owning a dog.


Man and woman holding black poodle

Basic requirements include:

 You must be 18 years of age or older.
 Children aged 9 years old and younger living in the household must meet with the dog.
 Your current dogs must complete a successful meet and greet with any potential adoptions.
 Check with your landlord or HOA requirements for weight and breed restrictions.

How to Adopt

  Visit us!

We look forward to meeting you in person! Adoptions are done in person at the shelter. We do not accept adoption applications online.

Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter
9500 Sweet Valley Drive Valley View, Ohio 44125.
Sunday -
12:00p.m. - 4:00p.m.
Closed except to reclaim lost dogs
Tuesday - Saturday
10:30a.m. - 4:00p.m.

Adoption desk closes 15 minutes before closing time.


 Complete our Adoption Questionnaire

You will complete a brief questionnaire when you arrive our facility. Just a little bit about you and your household. Bring it with you when you visit!


 Complete an Interview

A staff member will meet with you in person to discuss the questionnaire.

  Meet the Dogs

Ohio law stipulates that all strays must be held for a minimum of 72 hours before they can be adopted. Dogs with identification may have a longer stray hold period.

All dogs are adopted on a first-come, first-served basis, in person at the shelter.

When a dog is on stray hold:

  • We can place your name as a choice for the dog, with a maximum of two interested parties per dog
  • You will be given a designated time frame to return and adopt
  • If you cannot make your designated time frame, you forfeit your choice and the dog will be available for the next interested party or for general adoption

If a dog is not on stray hold:

  • You may adopt the dog immediately
  • If spayed or neutered, can go home with you that day
  • Holds are no longer accepted
Interested in being a foster home to a dog? Email the foster team to setup an appointment.

  Complete Paperwork & Pay Adoption Fees

Adoption Fees

  • $95 for dogs four months and older
  • $170 for puppies under four months of age

Adoption fees include:

  • DHLPP vaccine, 1 year Rabies vaccine, Bordatella vaccine, and dewormer
  • Heartworm test, age dependent
  • Spay/Neuter surgery
  • Microchip
  • A current year Cuyahoga County dog license

  Take a photo with your new best friend and post it on social media!

The best part of our day is watching you walk out the front door with your new dog. The next best part is sharing that news with all of our friends!

Make sure to take a photo with your dog before you leave and tag us @cuyahogadogs on social media:

Use the following hashtags when you share:

  • #cuyahogadogs
  • #shelterdogsrockoh
  • #chewsadoptionccas

Adoption FAQ's

If this is your first time visiting the shelter, you should allow approximately 15-20 minutes to complete the adoption questionnaire and meet with one of our staff members to discuss the pets that fit your lifestyle. Times may vary depending on how busy the shelter is at the time of your visit.

No. All of our dogs are first come, first serve, in person at the shelter. To help our dogs leave the shelter and get into new homes as quickly as possible, we require adopters to come to the shelter to go through the process.

No. While dogs are on stray hold, we take up to two families in line to adopt. We call this a choice.

Choices are taken on a first come, first serve basis, in person. This way, if the dog is not reclaimed it is quickly adopted and spends the smallest amount of time in the shelter as possible.

Ohio law requires that dogs without identification be held a minimum of 72 hours upon intake to the shelter. It also requires dogs with a current dog license be held for 14 days for owners to reclaim.

It is the policy of CCAS that any dog with a known owner, through Pet ID or microchip, be held for 7 days to reclaim. One more reason to keep your dog licensed!

While dogs are on stray hold we want to give them every opportunity to find a new home, if their owner doesn’t reclaim. Review our adoption process to learn about becoming a choice for a dog (aka get in line to adopt).

Sometimes dogs come to CCAS in a medical or behavioral condition that is not immediately adoption-ready. Yet, while on stray hold, dog photos are posted for their owners to find them and reclaim.

Once the dog is cleared, they will be listed as available and will display on the website for adoption.

For the safety of the family adopting our dogs, dogs that demonstrate particular behaviors such as being overly grabby or jumpy may have an age restriction. That restriction is intended for the safety of both the dog and the children.

Yes, however you must visit the shelter in person to adopt. Any unaltered dog will have to stay for spay/neuter, so you will need to plan accordingly. We do not deliver or ship animals.

No. Aside from the medical benefits to dogs once they are spayed/neutered, there is a pet overpopulation problem in our country. All dogs must be altered.

Yes! As an open admission shelter for lost and stray dogs, we get all kinds of different breeds of dogs. We highly recommend researching any breed before adopting, particularly purebred dogs, to ensure you understand behaviors and medical traits common to the breed.

The short answer is that pitbulls are a common and popular breed nationwide.

Dogs visually identified as pitbulls can face many restrictions. These restrictions range from citywide breed bans to a lack of pet friendly housing and landlord restrictions. In Cuyahoga County, the City of Parma and the City of Warrensville Heights have breed specific legislation (BSL) explicitly banning these dogs for residents.

At CCAS, we believe that every dog is an individual. We encourage adopters to look at dogs in the same way!

Unfortunately, we receive too many inquiries to follow up with everyone individually. You can sign up on Petango, Petfinder, and Adopt-A-Pet websites to receive notifications when certain dogs become available in shelters or rescues locally.

No, we are dog only shelter. As a government shelter, we only have jurisdiction over dogs (Ohio Revised Code 955.01).

Typically, we do not. We must take in lost and stray dogs and need to ensure we have space for them. To surrender your pet in Cuyahoga County, try reaching out the Cleveland Animal Protective League, or utilizing online rehome services.


Don’t see your question answered here? Email us