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Frequently Asked Questions


Do you have a question about our organization, adoption or surrender, stray animals, pet care, or another animal-related topic? We'd love to hear from you! But before you call or email, please check to see if your issue is addressed below.

  • Can you take in an animal that I found?

    In most cases, the York County SPCA can.

    If you found a dog, please contact your local animal control officer, or call our office to set up a time for you to bring the found dog in. If a stray dog is injured and it is between the hours of 8am and 4pm, please bring the dog directly to the shelter. If a stray dog is injured outside of those hours, please take the dog to Mason Dixon Animal Emergency Hospital, located at 96 Sofia Dr Ste 203, Shrewsbury, PA 17361.

    Stray cats showing signs of ownership (collar, tags, spayed or neutered without an ear tip, etc.), or that appear ill or injured can be surrendered as well. We ask the community not to bring in healthy free-roaming cats, as it is not in their best interest. For more information on community cats, please call us at 717-764-6109 or visit our blog post, Managed Shelter Admission and Views on Community Cats.

    An injured cat can be handled the same as an injured dog above.

    If you would like to get a stray cat spayed or neutered, please visit our Spay/Neuter Clinic Page.

  • I’m ready to adopt! What’s next?

    Please visit the Adopt section of our website and fill out an application for an animal directly from their adoption profile. If your application is approved, one of our Customer Service Representatives will call within 72 hours to set up a time for you to come in and meet any potential pets. By adopting, you are not only saving the life of a shelter animal, but you are also ensuring that our center has space available for another pet in need.

  • How long does the adoption process take?

    The adoption process can take an hour or even longer. Sometimes the process is spread out over multiple days depending on the needs of the animal and the adopter. There will be meet-and-greets with potential pet(s), adoption counseling, and, prior to adoption, all animals must be spayed/neutered, microchipped, examined, and vaccinated.

  • Can I take my pet home immediately?

    Many times, the answer is yes, but the animal must be spayed/neutered, microchipped, examined, and vaccinated prior to leaving the shelter. If blood work is opted by the adopter, this also will need to be completed. So, it is very much dependent upon what the animal has already had completed and what still needs to be done.

  • What is included in the pet adoption fee?

    Your pet will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, have a current veterinary exam, microchipped, and you will take home any medications if needed. Cats and dogs receive a sample bag of food, toys, and treats (depending on food availability). Cats will also receive a break-away collar. You will have to purchase a separate leash and dog license for dogs.

  • What happens if there are problems with my pet when I get home?

    It can be very stressful for pets when transitioning into a new home. Sometimes, it may take them a few weeks to get acclimated into your home and family. The general rule is something called 3-3-3. In the first 3 days, the animal may feel overwhelmed. Eating and normal behavior might be affected. After 3 weeks, they begin to settle in and let their guard down. After 3 months, they are comfortable in their new home and have built a bond with the adoptive family. If you are having health, behavioral, or adjustment issues or have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at or call us at 717-764-6109. One of our staff members will guide you through any questions and concerns that you may have.

  • How do I surrender my pet?

    We understand that giving up a pet can be a very hard decision and an emotional experience. We also know that there are circumstances that arise where families may be unable to keep their pet. We want to support owners in exhausting all options prior to surrendering to a shelter because it is best for the pet to stay in its own home. Please see the Alternatives to Surrender for options other than surrender. If other options are not possible, please visit the Surrender section of our website to learn about the surrender process. Surrendering is by appointment only.

  • How long do you keep animals that are available for adoption?

    There is no set time limit for our animals. If the animal’s health and temperament does not decline, we house them here as long as it takes for them to be adopted. Our longest-term resident was here for over 3 years!

  • Are the animals housebroken?

    Maybe. Cats and kittens by nature will use a litterbox; however, a huge part of taking in a pet is training and socialization. That is why we need dedicated families who are willing to not only play and cuddle with the new pet, but who are also willing to spend the time they need to train and learn good behaviors.

  • Do you adopt to customers outside of York County?

    Yes. We will adopt to people outside of the county and even in other states.

  • Do you offer regular veterinary care for the public?

    No. However, we do have a low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic.

  • Do you offer vaccines to the public?

    We only offer vaccines during our quarterly Rabies/Microchip Clinics, or at the time of spay/neuter through our low-cost clinic. Otherwise, vaccinations must be done elsewhere.

  • Can I come in and walk the dogs?

    No. We have a dog walking program of volunteers. If interested, you can apply to become a dog walking volunteer. Classes are required.

  • Why do you have so many Pit Bulls?

    Pit Bulls are overbred in York County. People often get them and decide that they are not the best breed for their situation.

  • Does the York County SPCA accept wildlife?

    No, we do not take in wildlife. Please contact your local wildlife rescue for assistance.

  • What is your Tax ID/EIN number?

    Our tax ID is 23-1399588.

  • What is the legal definition of Animal Abandonment, and what can the Humane Society Police Officer do?

    According to Pennsylvania Animal Cruelty Law, a suspected abandonment case is considered legal, or cruelty, if a person knowingly or recklessly leaves an animal behind or alone in circumstances which might cause harm to the animal. It must be proven that the owner knowingly and willingly abandoned the animal. For the Humane Society Police Officer to remove an animal, he has to prove that the animal has not been fed or given water for 48 hours if in an unoccupied building. For him to enter the property, he needs to obtain a search warrant. If the animal is outside and the timeline can be proven, he still needs a warrant to remove the animals. The only time the Humane Society Police Officer is permitted to remove an animal without a search warrant and without waiting 48 hours is if the animal is dying or will die before he can get a warrant. The YCSPCA then has to hold the animal for 14 days before it can be made available for adoption.