About Our Shelter...
More than 11,000 unwanted, abused and stray animals enter the doors of the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) each year – dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, even wildlife and exotic animals.
BARCS is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization operating Maryland’s largest open-admission animal shelter and pet adoption center, nestled in downtown Baltimore's Federal Hill neighborhood.
Our shelter grants refuge to every abandoned, neglected, abused, lost or surrendered animal that comes through our door - a staggering 30 or more animals are surrendered to BARCS daily, every single day of the year. No matter what the circumstance, we do not turn away any animal in need of shelter, food and a loving touch.
Many of the animals BARCS cares for were abandoned or given up by owners who can no longer care for them. Too many animals come to the shelter as victims of abuse or hit-and-run accidents.
Formerly the Baltimore City Municipal Animal Shelter, BARCS was recognized as a non-profit in July 2005. Since then, BARCS has hired new staff, created new programs and changed the shelter's standard operations. These changes have helped us dramatically increase adoptions and rescues, along with a significant decrease in euthanasia – all on a very-limited, shoestring budget. With your help we can do even more.
Our Adoption Process...
We are open 7 days a week for adoption!
BARCS’ adoption applications are now available online! Two formats are available:
Adoption Application (Microsoft Word Format) - Has fillable form fields so that you can fill out the application before printing it, but is only compatible with Microsoft Office.
Adoption Application (PDF) - Supported on all platforms, but lacks the fillable form fields. You will most likely need to print the application to fill it out.
Anyone interested in adopting can visit the shelter during normal business hours to look at the many prospective cats and dogs we have for adoption. In order to adopt, you must be at least 18 years old, provide proof of a current address, and have a current photo ID. Potential adopters interact with the animals they are interested in and complete an adoption application. Once a selection has been made, applicant meets with an adoption counselor.
We ask that you please check the location of each animal you are interested in so we can best help you find your match!
For animals located in a Foster Home, please email your application to email@example.com or fax it to 410.783.6266, ATTN: Foster Department. Please make sure to indicate the BARCS animal name (not any names in parentheses) so that we can locate the animal you are interested in. Our Foster Department will gladly put you in touch with the Foster Family in order to facilitate a meet and greet with the animal. An approved application is required prior to a meet and greet, which is arranged at a mutually convenient time and location for both you and the foster. Further instructions will be provided when you contact our Foster Department.
We also have cats available at a few offsite locations. If you are interested in one of our cats in our offsite stores listed below, please email your application to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Petco in Halethorpe
3591 Washington Blvd. 21227
Pet Valu at the Southside Marketplace
895 East Fort Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21230
Pet Valu at Mt. Vernon Historic District
1209 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
PetSmart Glen Burnie
597-C E Ordnance Road
Baltimore, MD 21060
Payment for an adoption is due the same day the animal is chosen. Payment can be made by cash or credit card. The adopter is required to meet with an adoption counselor, the same day, to discuss any known history about the animal, review the adoption contract, discuss basic animal care and acclimation to a new home environment, and answer any questions. The adoption counselor meets with adopters at various times throughout the day.
If the animal is already spayed/neutered, it may go home that day. If the animal still needs to be spayed or neutered, the new owner will pick up the animal, after surgery. The adopter may visit the animal at the shelter during normal visitor hours prior to the surgery. The animal remains property of BARCS until it is in the owners possession.
We encourage all members of the household to partake in the selection process. The chosen animal will have a more enriched life joining a family where all members appreciate it. If you want your current dog to meet one of our adoption dogs before you adopt a new family member, you may bring your dog to the shelter. This introduction will take place outside. If you bring your dog to meet one of our dogs, please note that dogs cannot go home uncrated in the same car. Please make arrangements to safely travel home with two dogs, prior to visiting the shelter, in the event the dog you are adopting will be leaving the same day. You will either need a crate for your car or to drive the dogs home separately.