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Howard County Animal Control and Adoption Center

8576 Davis Road
Columbia, MD 21045

Our Mission

We are the animal shelter for Howard County and we are a division of the Howard County Police Department. We are a government agency dedicated to enforcing animal control laws, investigating animal cruelty cases, rescuing injured animals or animals in distress, promoting the humane treatment of animals, accepting owner surrendered pets, providing safe accommodations for found, abandoned or loose animals, providing adoption services, offering discounted spay/neuter services and offering humane teaching programs. Our volunteers give the animals exercise and affection enrichment and they show animals to visitors interested in adopting. Our animal handlers come in every day to take care of our animals, giving them medical care, grooming, feeding and exercise. Our office staff will greet you and help you find a pet to bring into your home or help you reunite with your lost pet.

The shelter uses Kuranda beds to keep our furry companions comfortable. If you would like to donate one for the animals, please copy and past the link below into your web browser.

Adoption Policy

In order to ensure the well being of the animals adopted from the shelter, the following adoption rules have been established.

1. The waiting period for all adoptions is 24 hours. Some pets may have to be held longer for legal reasons.

2. Adopted animals are to be indoor, household pets and be a part of your family. Animals should not be confined for extended periods of time in such areas as a crate, basement, laundry room or to be tethered or chained. Animals are not permitted to be housed in a garage. Animals are not to be left outside unsupervised and cats are adopted into strictly indoor homes only.

3. All persons living in the household should be involved in the selection of the pet and must visit with the pet prior to adoption. This must be done within 48 business hours of filing the application. It is required that the primary caretaker approve the selection.

4. Howard County Animal Control (HCAC) has the right to prohibit the adoption to persons having a history of violating Animal Control Laws, losing or giving away an animal or if you had a pet that was injured or killed by a moving vehicle.

5. After conducting a Health and Temperament Evaluation, the Animal Control Administrator or Kennel Supervisor may deem any animal unavailable for adoption.

6. HCAC also has the right to prohibit the adoption of certain animals into homes with children. Requirements may be assigned for animals with special needs.

7. Adopted animals may not be given away, sold or used for vivisection and/or experimental purposes. Adopted animals are not to be used as a guard dog, hunter, mouser or breeder.

8. Adopted animals must be maintained in accordance with the Animal Control Laws of the county in which the adopter resides. All pets currently owned by the adopter must be maintained in compliance with the Animal Control Laws in order for the adoption of a pet to be approved. Maryland & Howard County Laws requires all dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated for the Rabies by the time they are 4 months old.

9. Dogs and cats must wear a collar and identification at all times. Adopted animals are micro chipped and it is highly recommended that the adopter register as the owner of the pet with the micro chip company. This will ensure you are called if your pet becomes lost and is scanned for a micro chip.


1. An adoption application must be filed in person on the animal that you wish to adopt. An interview and/or home visit must be conducted and approved before the animal is released from the shelter. The maximum holding time on an application to be processed is 48 hours.

2. Adoptions of domestic other pets (not cat or dog) may require a photo of your habitat/cage set up.

3. ALL ANIMAL ARE SPAYED OR NEUTERED PRIOR TO THEIR RELEASE. If our vet says the adopted pet is too small for surgery or a medical condition prevents them from being spayed or neutered prior to adoption, the adoption contract will require the pet to be spayed or neutered within 30 days. HCAC will reclaim an adopted animal if the adopter does not follow the spay and neuter requirements.

4. At the time of adoption, payment is required to cover the cost of the medical treatments listed in the chart below. For Howard County residents, a county pet license will be required to be purchased for the adopted pet and any pets at home that are not already licensed.

5. Once the adoption is final the animal may not be transferred to another owner or otherwise disposed of but must be returned to this shelter if the owner can no longer care for the animal.

6. HCAC has the right to inspect the applicant’s home after the adoption to ensure the well-being of the pet. HCAC also reserves the right to reclaim the animal, if in its opinion, the animal is not being properly and humanely cared for.


In order to encourage citizens to adopt a pet, we attempt to keep prices as reasonable as possible. The fees charged are reimbursement toward what the veterinarian charges the shelter.

Dog adoption fees include the following dependent on the dog's age:

Neuter/Physical/Pain Medication
Spay/Physical/Pain Medication
Distemper Vaccine
Distemper Booster
Rabies Vaccine (4 months and older)
Advantage Flea Treatment
Heartworm Test
Free Microchip ($40 value)
Dog License (Howard Co. Residents)

Cat adoption fees include the following dependent on the cat's age:

Neuter/Physical/Pain Medication
Spay/Physical/Pain Medication
Distemper Vaccine
Distemper Booster
Rabies Vaccine (4 months and older)
Advantage Flea Treatment
Feline Leukemia/FIV Test
Free Microchip ($40 value)
Cat License (Howard Co. Residents)

Dogs At Most: Female-$186 & Male-$170
Cats At Most: Female-$146 & Male-$125
Rabbit: $30 for spay/neuter
Ferret: Rabies vaccine (ask for current price)
Guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, gerbils, chinchillas, sugar gliders, turtles, lizards, birds and fish are: $0

  • day hours
    Monday 10:00-4:30 (Closed Holidays and Holiday Weekends)
    Tuesday 1:30-7:00 (Closed Holidays and Holiday Weekends)
    Wednesday 10:00-4:30 (Closed Holidays and Holiday Weekends)
    Thursday 1:30-7:00 (Closed Holidays and Holiday Weekends)
    Friday 10:00-4:30 (Closed early on last Friday of month and on Holidays)
    Saturday 10:00-2:00 (Closed Holidays and Holiday Weekends)
    Sunday Closed

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