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Best Places To Adopt Puppies and Kittens

So you've decided it's time to adopt a puppy or kitten. As animal advocates attest, with pet adoption comes a hefty dose of responsibility. However, if you're ready for the commitment, the payback, in the form of unconditional love and a friend for life, is limitless. Come meet potential pets at one or all of these Tampa Bay area adoption sites to find the perfect buddy.

Price: Puppies and Small Dog Breeds $125, Large Dogs (over 6 months) $75, Kittens & Cats $50.
Hours: Tues to Wed - 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thur to Sun - 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Adoptions stop 30 minutes prior to closing.

In January 2004, this shelter changed its operation to a no-kill for space program to reduce the needless killing of adoptable animals in Tampa Bay. It now accepts owned adoptable dogs and cats by appointment only and will no longer euthanize an animal to clear space for another one. It also has a proactive transfer program in place that takes in animals from other shelters who are at risk for being euthanized. Additionally, staff will only accept animals that they feel people can adopt successfully. Check out the Human Society of Tampa Bay if you are looking to add a new canine or feline companion to your family. All adoptions include first vaccinations, basic grooming, microchipping and spaying or neutering.

Price: Puppies and Small Dog Breeds $125, All Other Puppies and Dogs $75, Kittens & Cats $25.
Hours: Tues to Thurs - 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fri - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat to Sun - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This Clearwater-based shelter was the first in Florida and the Southeast to incorporate the Open Paw system. This successful animal training and behavior program has helped keep its animals happy, healthy and more adoptable. Located here since 1949, the facility is set on a spacious 6-acre site that brings more than just shelter to its animals. In addition to its state-of-the-art medical facility, the Humane Society features a humane education center, kitty kingdom, new dog adoption area and a playhouse where pets are socialized to the surroundings of a home environment. Adoptions include first vaccinations, behavioral assessment, microchipping, spaying/neutering, county license or rabies tags, follow-up support, 30 days of pet health insurance, training video and a 5 lb. bag of food.

Related: Best Dog Friendly Sunday Brunch In Redington Beach

Price: Large Breed Puppies $110, Kittens $45, Adult Dogs $45, Adult Cats $35.
Hours: Tues to Thurs - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri - 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun -12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

One of the SPCA Tampa Bay's goals is to match each pet with a loving home and each human with the perfect companion. Starting with a great adoption education page on its website, this shelter offers helpful suggestions and guidelines to consider when thinking about pet adoption.
Adoptions need to stop forty-five minutes before closing, so plan accordingly. All prospective adopters need to be at least 18 years old, have a photo ID and a permanent source of income. Adoptions include spaying/neutering, microchipping, vaccinations, free two hour basic obedience class, thirty days of ShelterCare Pet Insurance and Pinellas County license or rabies tag.

Price: Puppies $150, Kittens $55.
Hours: Wed to Fri - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun - Closed

This no-kill animal rescue agency takes in abandoned and homeless animals and offers medical assistance, shelter, social interaction and an abundance of affection for its animals while they wait for their permanent family. The league also treats animals traumatized from previous experiences, and in some instances provides temporary, hand-on foster care in a home setting until they can be adopted. Suncoast also has excellent counseling services for existing pet owners to help solve common issues that prevent more animals from being surrendered or abandoned. All pets are spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated prior to adoption.

Price: Puppies/Small Breeds $145 (senior citizens 62+ $70), Other Dogs $105 (senior citizens 62+ $40), Kittens/Cats $70 (senior citizens 62+ $25)
Hours: Tues to Fri - 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sat - 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sun, Mon and Holidays - Closed

Hillsborough County Animal Services has great companion animals it would like to see adopted into loving homes. Its strong stance on providing the best possible welfare for its animals requires each individual be approved prior to adopting or handling any of the animals. Animal Services normally will not adopt more than two dogs or two cats during any year-long period to the same person or family. Also, prospective owners are required to complete an educational questionnaire to prove they have a sufficient grasp on the basics of animal care. Representatives may also visit a home to check for compliance with its adoption policies.

Related: Tampa Bay's Best Dog Beaches and Parks 

Kim Tobin enjoys breathing deeply whenever she can carve out a few seconds between writing and parenting twin 6-year-olds, a 9-year-old and a rescued German Shepherd mix who thinks he's a dingo. Always on the lookout for the next best way to exhaust them all (while disguising it as fun), she has also served as the Tampa Fitness Examiner since 2009. See her work here.

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