Save an animal, gain a friend

Worcester Animal Rescue League is committed to making adoption a success for both the adopter and the animal. Your safety and the safety, happiness and well-being of our shelter animals are our top priority.

When you are ready to adopt, you will receive your adoption folder, where we’ve enclosed tips, tricks and solutions to the most common issues people face with new pets. Feel free to call the shelter at 508-853-0030 or email us with any questions!



Small Animals

WARL Adoption fees


  • Kittens under 1 year of age: $350
  • Cats between 1 to 10 years of age: $145
  • Cats over 10 years of age: $50


  • Puppies under 1 year of age: $500
  • Dogs between 1 to 10 years of age: $225
  • Dogs over 10 years of age: $100

Small Animals

  • Rabbits: $60
  • Other Small Animals: $20-$100

*Transport fees may be assessed for animals transported to WARL from other states


Occasionally there are discounted rates for adult animals that have been in the shelter for many months or for bonded pairs that must be adopted together.

what’s included in the fees

Adoption Fees are non-refundable; they are the cost of caring for an animal in our shelter. Adoption Fees include these estimated costs:

  • Spaying and neutering: $200-$400
  • Veterinary exam(s) while at the shelter: $65
  • Dogs are microchipped: $35
  • Cats are tested for leukemia and FIV: $35
  • Dogs are tested for heartworm: $35
  • Age appropriate vaccines: $50
  • Parasite testing, treatment and prevention: $50
  • Dogs receive a collar and leash: $25
  • Cats receive a cat carrier: $10
Adopt a puppy

Included in the adoption fee is a free 30-day trial of Shelter Care pet insurance. You can decide at the end of a month if you wish to continue the insurance. In addition to the above costs, there is the daily cost of feeding and housing an animal from a period of weeks to months. Also many animals come to our shelter ill or injured. Treatment can easily add hundreds of dollars to the average cost of care.

warl adoption hours

Due to COVID, we are currently open by appointment only. Please contact us to set up an appointment.

Adoptions are typically a same-day process unless the adopter places a 24-hour hold* on the pet. You can expedite the adoption process by bringing your proof of residency (a mortgage statement or lease), your landlord’s phone number (if applicable) and ALL human members of your family when you come to the shelter. It’s crucial that you bring all family members or roommates to meet the animal at the shelter. If you’re adopting another dog, bring your current dog to the shelter to meet the possible new one.

You can put a 24-hour hold on an animal while you round up family members, roommates or just to make arrangements to take the animal home. You have to request the hold in person; you can’t do it over the phone. If you adopt the animal, the $25 hold fee is deducted from the adoption fee. If you decide against adopting that animal, the fee will not be returned. Click here for complete details for a 24-hour hold.

Adopt Responsibly

Frequently Asked Questions

Falling in love with an animal at first sight is easy, and with any relationship it will take work. Tell us about your lifestyle and what you want in a pet and let WARL’s experienced staff help you choose the best pet for you.
Are shelter dogs suitable as a service or emotional support animal?

Service and emotional support animals require specific training to meet the needs of their handler. Animals in a shelter have not been trained to perform service or emotional support tasks and should not be adopted with the intention of providing an immediate support. We echo the statement put together by Brown Dog Coalition: “We seldom have dogs who are low maintenance and can easily adapt to every new situation after a lot of transitions. Most of our dogs are in need of supportive and patient people to see them through at least the first 30 days of adjusting to a home and creating a new routine. Adopting a dog often includes a lot of love and companionship but also many sleepless nights, cleaning up accidents, resolving new and unwanted behaviors, training, socialization, exercise, and general disruption to everyone’s schedules — all of which can be anxiety-inducing. We ask that adopters have stable housing, financials, and be emotionally stable enough to provide for and commit to a dog who will be dependent on them every day for years to come.”

I have a letter from my doctor/therapist stating I need a service animal or emotional support animal. Can I adopt a pet?

There is no current letter or certification that exempts people from requesting to adopt a shelter pet as a service or emotional support animal from WARL’s adoption process. Every adopter, regardless of their individual needs, must comply with our adoption policies and have an approved application.

What kinds of dogs do you have?

Dogs are individuals and only a small percentage of their genetics dictate their physical appearance. At WARL, we do our best to identify what breed we believe they resemble the most, however, unless an animal is surrendered with a pedigree, identifying the breed is the tip of the ice berg. Every dog is an individual. Their looks or breed do not determine their temperament. 

How to help animal