view our

our dogs

We see all ages and types of dogs. Some are immediately available for adoption and others can be adopted if they are not reclaimed by an owner during their stray hold. They all need happy, healthy homes.

Adoption Fees

Puppies (under 1 year) Price Varies
Dogs (1-7 years)* $150
Golden Whiskers (8 years and older) Half of the adoption fee**
Lonely Hearts Club (dogs who have been in the shelter the longest) Half of the adoption fee**

* Adoption fees for puppies (dogs younger than one year) are based on several factors and may vary.

**Fees underwritten by generous donors and the WCAS Volunteer Auxiliary

view our

our cats

We have cats that make good indoor pets as well as working/barn cats. Healthy and friendly indoor cats and kittens are available for adoption at our shelter and at seven PetSmart locations that we partner with across Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin

What is a working/barn cat?

Some cats are better suited to a semi-outdoor, semi-autonomous lifestyle. If you provide access to food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and a secure space to allow your cat to acclimate to its new environment for 2 – 4 weeks, we’ll waive the adoption fee for a working cat.


working cat adoption application

Adoption Fees

Kittens (under 1 year) $85
Cats (1-7 years) $40
Golden Whiskers (8 years and older) Half of the adoption fee*
Lonely Hearts Club (cats who have been in the shelter the longest) Half of the adoption fee*
Barn/Working Cats Fees Waived

*Fees underwritten by generous donors and the WCAS Volunteer Auxiliary

view other

our critters

We also find homes for bunnies, iguanas, birds, ferrets, guinea pigs and other critters.

Adoption Fees

Other Animals  
Critters (bunnies, hamsters, ferrets, etc.) $7

*Fees underwritten by generous donors and the WCAS Volunteer Auxiliary


Looking for a new furry family member?

Adopting a pet through Winnebago County Animal Services is easy!

Find Your Pet

View our adoptable pets online or visit our shelter during business hours. You’ll be able to see pets available for immediate adoption as well as those on a stray hold that may be pre-selected. 

You do not need an appointment to visit.

Complete the Adoption Application

Complete the adoption application online or at our shelter. Once submitted, we’ll review your application for approval.

Completing your application online before coming to the shelter will speed up your process.

Visit our Location to Complete Your Adoption or Pre-Selection

All adoptions are completed in-person at our shelter (or at a PetSmart location for the cats and kittens at those sites).  If the pet you’re adoption is on stray hold and not yet available for adoption, you can complete the process to “pre-select” your pet, ensuring you can adopt once they are available.

Provide necessary documentation

Pay your adoption fee

Plan at least an hour for your visit to interact with your pet and complete all necessary paperwork.

Bring Home Your Pet

When your adoption is approved, you can bring your pet home that same day. If you pre-selected an animal that was on a stray hold, you must pick up your pet by the end of the first day it is available for adoption.

Once the adoption is final, you’ll receive a copy of your pet’s paperwork which will include:

Medical Record

Exam Card

Adoption Contract

Microchip information and rabies certificate to provide to your veterinarian on your first wellness visit.

adoption requirements

To adopt an animal from Winnebago County Animal Services, you must:

Be 18 years or older

Present a State-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license)

Be up to date with license, registration, and vaccinations for any pets you currently own

Have no animal-related complaints on file

NOTE: You do not need to reside in Winnebago County to adopt an animal, but all adoptions must be completed in person.

Ready to get started?

Complete and submit your adoption application online!

visiting our adoption locations

There’s no better way to get a feel for your new pet than to visit our shelters. That’s why we require all adoptions to be completed in person. You can visit pets at our shelter at 4517 North Main Street in Rockford, Illinois or one of our six PetSmart partner locations (for cats and kittens).

Here are some tips to plan your visit:

Bring the entire family. You’ll want to see how everyone interacts with a pet before adopting.

Plan at least an hour to get acquainted with your pet and complete the adoption paperwork.

Bring your questions. Our staff or volunteers will be able to share their insights with you and provide any details on the age, breed, behavior, and circumstances of the pet you’re interested in adopting.

adoption faqs

I see an animal I want to adopt. What should I do?

Our animals find homes quickly and they go to approved homes on a first-come, first-served basis. If you see an animal you want to adopt, we highly recommend quickly completing the adoption application and visiting the shelter to complete your adoption.

Can I adopt a pet from Winnebago County Animal Services?

You bet! We work hard to find happy, healthy homes for cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, hamsters, iguanas, ferrets, and other animals that come into our care.

What is included in the adoption fee?

Your adoption fee includes spay or neuter surgery for cats and dogs (if required), microchip identification, age-appropriate vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, working/heartworm test (for dogs 6 months and older), rabies vaccination, and Winnebago County registration.

How long are animals kept at your shelter?

We do not have a time limit for animals in our care. We work to find homes for all adoptable pets by making adoption easy and working with animal rescue groups and foster homes whenever possible.

How long before a stray animal becomes available for adoption?

Stray dogs are held for 7 – 10 days before they are available for adoption. There is no requirement to hold stray cats, so healthy and friendly cats are put up for adoption right away.

What should I do if I want to adopt a dog on a stray hold?

Dogs are put on a stray hold for 7- 10 days to see if an animal can be reunited with its owner. After that period of time, the animal is available for adoption. If you want the chance to adopt a dog once it becomes available, you can complete the application and pay the fee to pre-select the animal for adoption. There is only one pre-select available per pet. If it is unclaimed, you can take your dog home the first day it is available for adoption.

I don’t live in Winnebago County. Can I still adopt from you?

Yes. You do not need to be a resident of Winnebago County to adopt from us, but you must complete your adoption in person at one of our adoption locations (our shelter or one of six PetSmart locations). We do not transport animals for adoption.

additional resources

Hermit Crabs- The Basics

Learn more about what is involved in having a hermit crab as a pet & about the basics of how to best care for them so they’re happy and healthy.

read more