Adopt A Pet

Adoption Process and FAQs


Adoption Process -- Four Easy Steps

Our adoption process is application-based, and first-come, first-served. To ensure we can continue to save cats and dogs from our partner shelters, we can only hold a pet for you for 24 hours. Applications are available for download on the righthand side of your screen if you would like to review or complete it in advance, or you can fill one out at the shelter.


Step 1

Find a pet! Visit us at our shelter to work with one of our adoption counselors on finding the right pet for you, or take a look online at our pets in foster care. Once you have found "the one,” move on to step two.

We frequently get in new pets. If you didn't find one on your first visit, keep checking our website and follow us on Facebook page.


Step 2

Complete an application and hand it to a staff member for review. If the chosen pet is ready to go home, we will schedule your interview. The pet will be on hold for twenty-four hours during which time the adoption interview must be completed. If the pet has not been spayed/neutered, is on heartworm treatment or needs to remain in our care for other medical conditions, we will contact you when the pet is ready to be released and schedule your interview appointment.

If you're applying for a pet in foster, we will reach out to the foster parent once your application is submitted. You will work with the foster parent to schedule a time to meet the pet.

Please note that we cannot guarantee we will be able to complete a same-day adoption.


Step 3

Complete your informal interview (approx. 25 minutes) with an adoptions staff member. During this interview, we'll discuss the needs of the pet and if the pet will be a good fit. We reserve the right to refuse an adoption at our discretion.

Please bring the following to your interview:

  • Current photo ID or proof of address
  • Adoption fee, see sidebar for prices -- we take card, checks, or EXACT cash
  • Cat carrier (or we sell cardboard carriers for $5)
  • Dog leash or collar (or we sell collars and leashes for $8 each, or a slip lead for $5)


Step 4

You're approved! We will now walk you through the adoption finalization process. You'll sign an adoption contract and pay your adoption fee to officially transfer ownership to your family. We are unable to keep your pet once the adoption is complete. For more information on adoption fees and current adoption specials, please see the righthand side of your screen.



Adoption FAQs

Didn't see your question answered above? Here is a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding adopting a pet from RAL. If you have a question and you don't see the answer on this list, please call us at 804-379-0046x1000, or email for further information.

Quick Links to Topics:

Finding the right pet

Adoption Process

Caring for your pet at home


Finding the right pet

How do I meet a pet in foster care?

To meet a pet currently in foster care, we will need to receive a completed adoption application for that particular pet. Once we have it, we can put the pet on hold for you, contact the foster parent that there is an interested applicant, and have them give you a call to set up a meeting.

How often do you get new pets in? Can you let me know if you get a certain type/age/breed in?

New pets are arriving all the time! As soon as we have space in the shelter, we’re working with our partner shelters to save more pets. Because we adopt hundreds of pets each month, we’re not able to make outgoing calls. Please check our website for a current listing of our available pets, and keep an eye on our Facebook page!.

What breed do you think this dog or cat is?

We have joined the nationwide movement within shelters to eliminate breed labeling. Scientific evidence shows breed ‘guesses’ are wrong more than 70% of the time, and that less than 15% of their DNA actually affects the way they look! Our goal is to look beyond the physical appearance of a pet and the behavioral expectations of specific breeds to help find the right fit for you.

Will the new pet fit in with my pets at home?

We definitely encourage you to bring your dog to the shelter for a “meet & greet." Our adoption counselors can help you with this process. We are not able to do meet & greets for cats or with cats and dogs.

Can I take this pet home on a trial basis?

We do not offer a “foster-to-adopt” program or a trial period. We encourage people to spend as much time as they need with a pet before deciding for sure that the adoption will be a good match for their family. Our adoption counselors are here to help you find the right fit!

Is this dog housetrained? What can you tell me about this pet's background or behavior?

We can never 100% guarantee that any of our dogs are housetrained! Even a very well-trained dog may need some time to adjust to a new home. Whenever possible, we perform behavior assessments on adult dogs to provide adoption guidance.

Most of our pets come from municipal shelters and we have very little information about their background. We recommend basic training classes for newly adopted dogs. Please remember that every pet needs an "adjustment period" when going to a new home.

I am looking for an outdoor/barn cat. Can I adopt one from you?

Generally speaking, we would love for all of our pets to enjoy being indoor companion animals for your family. We may have a small number of adult cats who we know would enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, and we would refer you to pick from one of those pets in particular.

What is the youngest pet that I can adopt?

Pets must be at least 8 weeks old and spayed/neutered prior to adoption.


Adoption process

What do you cover in the interview?

Your informal interview with a staff member is meant to help us understand your experience with pets, your pet personality preferences, etc. while also giving you the opportunity to ask us questions about the pet's medical history and any specific care instructions the pet may need.

How long will it be before I can take my pet home?

Most adoptions will be completed within 24 hours--some may even be completed the same day, but only if time allows. In some cases, pets may need to be kept in our care longer to complete medical care such as spay/neuter surgery or heartworm treatment. Pets in foster care may take longer as we need to coordinate pick-up with the foster family.

Can I send the application in electronically?

We prefer that you come in to interact with the pet before turning in an application, however if you've already met the pet and have made the decision to formalize your application you may email it to us at Electronic applications may also be used to start the application process for a foster pet.

What do the adoption fees include?

All of our pets are spayed or neutered, microchipped, dewormed, and given all age-appropriate vaccinations before going home. We also test dogs for heartworm and cats for FIV and feline leukemia.

Can I adopt more than one pet at a time?

We encourage adopting multiple kittens together! Adult cats can be adopted together as well. We may adopt out multiple adult dogs together on a case by case basis. We do not allow adoptions of multiple puppies to one household at the same time.

Can I adopt a pet for someone else/as a gift?

It is very important to us that we make a good match for your family, so we prefer that the person who will have primary ownership of the pet be there to meet the pet in person. We may allow a gift adoption for a family member. However, the recipient must be “on board” for this family addition. We do offer gift certificates if you would like to pay an adoption fee for someone else and then bring them in to pick out a pet!


Caring for your pet at home

What is RAL’s policy on declawing?

We encourage people to avoid declawing whenever possible. There are other, more humane alternatives, as well as plenty training tips and tricks to prevent unwanted scratching. Here’s a great article about declawing if you’re looking for more information about the pros and cons of the procedure:

What medical procedures are completed on intake?

Upon arrival, all animals receive a thorough intake exam from one of our veterinarians.

  • Cats are tested for FIV and feline Leukemia virus.
  • Dogs are tested for heartworms.
  • All pets receive age-appropriate vaccinations, deworming, and parasite prevention.
  • Every pet is spayed/neutered before going home.

Is this pet healthy?

We cannot guarantee the health of any pet post-adoption. We do all that we can to ensure every pet is health during their stay at RIchmond Animal League and at the time of adoption.

  • Richmond Animal League provides standard vaccinations and veterinary care.
  • If a pet appears sick or injured while in our care, they receive necessary treatment.
  • Detailed medical records are kept for each animal, and included in the adoption packet.
  • All chronic conditions and special dietary needs are discussed with the adopter.
  • If a pet is currently on medication, their medications will be sent home with the adopter.
Adoption Hours

Regular Adoption Hours:

Tues. - Fri.
4 pm - 8 pm

Sat - Sun.
12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday

Contact Us

Richmond Animal League
11401 International Drive
Richmond, VA  23236

Phone: 804-379-0046
Fax: 804-378-7507


Located on International Drive directly behind Martin's at Chesterfield Crossing Shopping Center, Midlothian Turnpike across from Chesterfield Towne Center.

Regular Adoption Hours:
Tues. - Fri.
4 pm - 8 pm
Sat - Sun.
12 pm - 4 pm
Closed Monday

Loving Spay & Neuter Clinic

Phone:  804-379-9725
Fax:  804-379-4096

Adoption Application

RAL Adoption Application

***please note writeable pdf does not work on mobile devices. please fill out on a computer, save, and email to***

Regular Adoption Fees

Adult Dogs: $150

Puppies: $200 

Adult cats: $75

Kittens: $75

(Adult is 6 months+)

Adoption Specials
Current Adoption Specials
$25 Cat Adoptions

All cats and kittens are $25

Seniors Supporting Seniors

Adopters aged 55 and older qualify for:

$50 adoption fee, dogs 5-7
WAIVED adoption fee, dogs 8+

$10 adoption fee, cats 7-10
WAIVED adoption fee, cats 11+