Changes to PAWS services in light of COVID-19: We continue rescuing animals! Adoptions and foster by appointment only; clinic appointments available for sick pets; walk-in vaccine clinics and spay/neuter suspended. Also, the Emergency Fund for PAWS has been launched to ensure we can keep doing our lifesaving work despite the current crisis.
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Get in Touch with PAWS!

Please read on for frequently asked questions that may provide the information you need. If your question is not answered here, please contact us through the form below.

Answers to Common Issues


Can PAWS take in animals from the public?

No, because we remain full at all times with animals we rescue from the city shelter.


If you have absolutely no other options, you can surrender your pet to your county’s animal control shelter. For Philadelphia residents, animal control is performed by:

Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT)
111 West Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140


I found a stray, what should I do?


I adopted an animal from PAWS and cannot keep it.

Please select “adoption questions” below to reach our staff. We encourage you to use ReHome or Get Your Pet, but will also work with you if needed arrange for return to a PAWS facility. (If you rehome your pet yourself, you must still contact PAWS so we can assist in any way needed and ensure our ownership records for the animal are correct.)


I have a pet and cannot keep it.

PAWS remains full at all times, so we are unfortunately not able to take your pet. 


Depending on the issues you are facing, there may be resources to help you keep your pet such as pet pantry assistance or low-cost vet care. You can find tips and resources here.


If you cannot keep your pet, you can re-home the animal yourself by asking your friends and family, posting flyers in your neighborhood, posting on websites such as Craigslist, Facebook, etc., or contacting breed-specific rescues (if applicable) to see if they can assist you. Charging a small re-homing fee and checking vet references are good ways to screen applicants and find a good home for your pet. You can also use ReHome or Get Your Pet – online services that directly connect pet owners with adopters, and keep animals out of shelters in the process. As a last resort, ACCT is Philadelphia’s open-intake shelter and will accept pet surrenders.


I have a complaint about a barking dog or other animal control issue.

Please contact ACCT at 267-385-3800 or


I suspect animal cruelty, neglect, or abuse.

Please report it to the PSPCA by calling 1-866-601-SPCA or emailing


I have supplies I’d like to donate.

We appreciate you thinking of us! Find info here on what we’re able to take and how to deliver your donations. The animals thank you!


Can PAWS help with my school project?

Because our staffing is limited, we are only able to assist current, active PAWS volunteers and foster parents with interviews and questions for academic assignments. We receive a very high volume of requests and are unfortunately not able to devote the time needed to every student who reaches out. However, you are welcome to visit PAWS’ adoption centers to spend time with animals on your own, and you may also browse our website and social media for a wealth of information that may be helpful for your project.


Can you offer advice on dog and cat care?

Find lots of useful resources here on bringing home a new pet, common behavior issues, pet care advice, and more.


I need temporary housing for my pet. Can PAWS help?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide temporary housing for owned pets, because our shelters and foster homes are full at all times with homeless pets who are up for adoption. We recommend searching online for boarding facilities or in-home pet boarders.

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