The Adoption Process & Fees

Adoption Process     Adoption Fees     Adoption Programs


The Adoption Process

Steps in the Adoption Process:

  1. Find a pet online or through an ARL media spotlight.
  2. Visit the ARL adoption location where your potential pet is located and meet the pet.
  3. Fill out an adoption application form to find out if the pet is the right match for you and your family-both other human and dogs living in the home, if applicable. (You can NOT adopt via the website.) Click here for the cat adoption form. Click here for the dog adoption form. Click here for the horse adoption form.
  4. Complete an interview with an ARL adoption counselor.
  5. Meet & Greet: If there are children living in the home, they must meet before being adopted. If there are other dogs living in the home, a dog intro is recommended.
  6. Wait while the pet receives a final inspection by the ARL's medical staff, including insertion of a microchip.
  7. Pay adoption fees and head home with your new, lovable pet!

Note: The ARL may require other information or steps be taken prior to adoption to insure the pet is a right match for your family. The ARL reserves the right to deny any adoption for any reason.

ARL Adoption Requirements

You Must...

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Make sure all the adults living in your household know about the pet and agree that it can live there.
  • Introduce the pet to the other humans (and possibly other pets) living in your household prior to completion of the adoption.
  • Have a valid identification with your current address (or other proof of current address).
  • Understand that no animals will be adopted for consumption or research. The ARL only adopts animals as family pets.
  • For the safety of your pet, agree to take him/her home with a leash and collar (dogs) or in a carrier (cats and small animals). These items may be purchased in advance or at the time of adoption at a reduced price.

Special Notice Regarding ARL pets online:
The ARL updates its adoptable animals online daily and attempts to promptly remove pets that are no longer available. However, please be aware that we cannot guarantee that all animals posted are still available for adoption.

NO pets will be 'reserved' or 'held' for individuals who call or e-mail the ARL. Please understand that we must follow this rule so that if someone is at the ARL and desires to adopt a pet, they will be given the opportunity to do so. "First Come, First Adopt."

Adoption Fees

While you can't put a price tag on a lifetime of hugs, kisses, companionship, and unconditional love, there are costs involved in caring for a healthy pet. When you adopt a companion animal from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, we've already performed procedures that are critical for maintaining his or her good health. These important benefits are provided to you at a greatly reduced cost.

Animal Type Fee

Dogs/Puppies under 5 years old: $125
Dogs age 5 years or older: $50
Cats/Kittens under 6 years old: $100
Cats 6 years or older: $50
Cats in the Shelter Cat Getaway Program: $50 ($75 for a Bonded Buddy pair)
Small Animals

  • Chinchilla: $75
  • Degu: $25
  • Ferret: $55, Bonded Buddies for $75
  • Guinea Pig: $15
  • Hamster, gerbil, mouse, rat: $7.50
  • Rabbit: $50, Bonded Buddies for $75
  • Sugar Glider: $150


  • Cockatiel: $40
  • Conure: $150
  • Canary, dove, parakeet, pigeon: $10
  • Finch: $7.50
  • Lovebird: $50, pair for $75

Reptiles & Amphibians

  • Anole: $10
  • Fire-bellied toad: $20
  • Hermit crab: $5
  • Iguana: $15-$90
  • Turtle: $20

Horses and other Barn Buddies: Fees vary. Contact us for more information. Click here for horse adoption requirements.

We think you'll agree that the pets at the Animal Rescue League are not only the best in the world, but the best value in town! Click here to view the "Price is Right" posters for cats and dogs!

Dogs & Puppies ($125 if under 5 years old, $50 if 5 years+)

  • Spaying/Neutering
  • First Worming
  • Initial Vaccinations
  • Microchip and Tag
  • Reduced price collar and leash
  • Heartworm Testing
  • Handouts on puppy information
  • Free Behavior & Training Advice
  • 10% off adoption day purchases at ARL Animal House Store
  • 10% off training class when registered at time of adoption (note: 50% off for pit bull or bully breed mixes)

What it would cost you to do all of the above to a FREE dog or puppy: $300-400.

Cats & Kittens ($100 if under 6 years old, $50 if 6 years+)

  • Spaying/Neutering
  • First Worming
  • Initial Vaccinations
  • Microchip and Tag
  • Reduced priced collar and carrier
  • FeLV Testing
  • Handouts on kittens/cat care
  • Free Behavior & Training Advice
  • 10% off adoption day purchases at ARL Animal House Store

What it would cost you to do all of the above to a FREE cat or kitten: $300-400.
*Also see Happy Cat Prescription program below to get 2 cats/kittens for $125!

Rabbits ($50)

  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Microchip
  • Handouts on rabbit care
  • Free Behavior & Training Advice
  • 10% off adoption day purchases at ARL Animal House Store

What it would cost you to do all of the above to a FREE rabbit: $150-200.

Adoption Programs

The ARL, in partnership with the Pets for the Elderly Foundation (PFE), is offering $50 off the adoption fee when an individual age 60 or older adopts a cat or dog of any age from the ARL! PFE Foundation believes in the positive power of pet companionship for seniors, so they have partnered with the ARL to make pet-ownership more affordable! NOTE: The standard application process still applies to this program and adoptions through this program cannot be combined with other offers. These programs will be offered as funds are available.

Take two and you won't need to call us in the morning! The Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) has historically recommended and promoted the adoption of two cats or kittens. The ARL has done this because we believe it is emotionally healthy for cats and kittens to have feline friends and have found some behavior issues can easily be solved or never occur with the addition of two cats or kittens to a household.Therefore, the ARL has started the "Happy Cat Prescription Program" - a specialized program that promotes two cat or kitten adoptions.

Here is how it works:
An adopter can adopt any two cats or kittens for an adoption fee of $125. Both cats and kittens must reside in the same household and adoption contracts will state that the adopters agree that the cats/kittens will live together in the same house. Adoption counselors will help adopters to make these matches of cats under the Happy Cat program. Costs are based on an average of prices quoted for similar services by several local veterinarian clinics. Click here for more information. The services provided by the Animal Rescue League are in no way intended to be a substitution for regular, professional veterinary care. A list of veterinarians in your area will be provided by your adoption counselor.

Introducing the ARL's newest adoption campaign: Paws for Patriots! Starting 11-11-11 (Veteran's Day), all U.S. Veterans are eligible to receive 50% off adoptions and 50% off ARL dog training classes! Thank you to all who have served our country! (This program will continue indefinitely.) Click here for more information!