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Adopting a Dog From An NYC ACC Shelter

Written by Urgent Part 2
Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) has great dogs available for adoption every day. A partial listing is available on their website, and provides an overview of their procedures here. The best way to adopt from AC&C is to pre-fill the AC&C Dog Adoption Questionnaire (scroll down at the link), then physically go to one of the three full-service shelters (“Care Centers”) and adopt the dog of your choice directly.

The shelters will adopt to out-of-state people as long as you show up in person. AC&C shelters are open 7 days/ week. The Care Centers are open for adoptions from 12pm – 7pm every day (you must be there before 6:30 PM to adopt).

To adopt an animal you must have a valid photo ID, be 18 year of age or older, proof of current address and, if you rent, your landlord’s contact information. If you have children living in your home, they must come to the Care Center and be a part of the adoption process. If you already have a dog in your home and you are adopting another dog, you must also bring your pet to the Care Center. You should make sure your own pet is up-to-date on vaccines, including the optional Canine Influenza vaccine, before bringing them into the shelter environment (or bringing a dog from the shelter environment to your home). Also keep in mind that you may not be able to leave with your new dog that day. Sometimes, the dog you are adopting will need to be spayed/neutered first, or be signed off by a vet. They will try to accommodate out of state adopters as best they can.

If a dog has Kennel Cough, it will not be able to have spay/neuter surgery before it leaves, so you will need to leave a $100 deposit. That deposit will be refunded as soon as you show proof that it was done. If you pay by credit card, the refund will go back on your card. If you paid with cash, they will send a check. Credit card refunds are generally much faster so you may want to keep that in mind. Again, plan on adding $100 if the dog is not already spayed/neutered.

Adoption fees vary: $25 to $400 — please contact the Care Center for fees on specific dogs. If you live in New York City, add $8.50 to the fee for your adopted dog.

Fees include pre-adoption medical care and vaccines, deworming, spay/neutering and one free follow-up visit to specific veterinarians.


Most dogs that leave the shelter do have kennel cough. This is not something to fear and it should not deter you from adopting. Most times, kennel cough is just a “cold” and it will clear up within 10 days. The shelter will give you antibiotics when they release the dog to you. While it is contagious, most people avoid the spread of this upper respiratory infection by keeping their dogs separated for the first few days and not sharing water bowls for at least a week or two. Many owners report that even with occasional minimal contact, their currently healthy dogs did not catch it. Unless you have very young pup, a very old or medically-fragile dog, kennel cough should not develop past a “cold.”

Adopting from out of the area:

If you are within a few hours from the Care Centers, you are not “long distance.” Please take a day and drive to them. It is always better to meet the dog you are going to have in your home and make sure that it is a good fit. All too often, a dog arrives at its new “forever home,” yet is removed the next day because it was “too big,” “too hyper,” “not perfect.” A few hours of your time is worth the endless love you will get in return!

There are currently 218 rescues that are approved to pull shelter dogs from the NYC ACC, and these are called New Hope Partners. The current list of New Hope Partners (including rescues that accept cats and other animals as well as dogs) is available here. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, an organization that supports the coalition of rescues, additionally qualifies many New Hope Partners as Alliance Participating Organizations (APOs). A list of APOs is available here

It is best to start calling around to the rescues before you decide on a dog. Talk to them, fill out their application, and see what their requirements are. Find out if they would be willing to work with you. Many require a home visit and will need you to reach out to rescues in your area to assist. Contact them, supply all your info (vet references, etc.) and give them a local rescue reference that will vouch for you (and do a home visit), they will be more open to helping you. It is also advisable to have a backup plan. What will you do if the dog cannot stay? Again, identify a local rescue that will work with you and assist if needed. This will make the New Hope rescue much more comfortable with a non-local adoption..

You will also need to look into transport and boarding– the dogs must leave the shelter within a day or two and since many have kennel cough, they cannot get the required health certificate to travel across state lines until they have completed appropriate antibiotic treatment. There are boarding facilities in NY that will take dogs from the ACC. Contact them and see if they have room:

Bronx Boarding Facility
Arberdeen Kennels (610) 754-7731, in PA
Once you have been approved by a rescue, have boarding and transport set up, then you are ready to adopt a dog.

On June 7, 2012, AC&C implemented a new online portal that enables potential adopters to register online and view a subset of the dogs that are placed on the nightly “To Be Destroyed” (TBD) list. The link explaining this new system and its requirements for reviewing available dogs and ‘reserving’ them for adoption is here. You must register to use the system and log-in each time to see the available “At-Risk” dogs. If you want to adopt one of the featured dogs, you click on that section, pay a nonrefundable $52 deposit ($50 + $2 “processing fee”). You then have 48 hours to pick up your dog.

7/2012 UPDATE: Due to system updates, you can not get a live person anymore when you call the shelters. You must call 311 (212-639-9675 if outside of NYC) to inquire about an animal.

If you are a serious adopter, and only if you are able to go to the shelter in-person, please email ADOPTION@NYCACC.ORG about adopting a particular dog (have ID# ready).
More info about adopting a dog from ACC: on Urgent Part 2’s FB page HERE, and info on our site HERE.
Info above written by Urgent Part 2
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