Frequently Asked Questions

Pet Adoption

How do I adopt a pet from your shelter?

1. Our shelter is open Monday-Saturday, 11am-5pm and Sundays 11am-3pm. Adoptions are processed Monday-Saturday only, with the last application accepted at 4:30pm to allow for communication and paperwork with the potential adopter. See available pets here. 2. Visit us and spend some time with our available pets. We advise all adopters to speak with a Pet Care Specialist, our Adoption Coordinator or Shelter Manager about their lifestyle and what their expectations are for a pet. This, more than picking a pet based on looks, size or breed, sets the pet up for a greater chance at success in your home and makes for a much better match. 3. After speaking with a staff member and finding the right pet for you, an adoption application will need to be completed and approved. A few requirements: current pet(s) rabies certification, a fenced yard for mid-large size dogs, and landlord permission if you rent your home. **Please note that pet adoption is a lifetime committment and should be carefully considered, keeping your lifestyle, home life, family and future plans in mind. Visit our "Things to Consider" and "Puppy, Kitten or Adult" pages for more information.

I am looking for a specific breed. Can you let me know if you receive one?

Please come to our shelter at 199 Willow Run Rd, in Aiken to fill out an "adoption request" form. If we receive a pet matching your request, you will be contacted in order of when your request was submitted. Alternatively, keep up with our current, available pets on our "Available Pets" page!

How much is the adoption fee? What's included?

In general, our adoption fees are: Adult dogs: $75 Puppies $125 Cats & Kittens $75 Highly sought after, or purebred pets may have a higher adoption fee of $150 or more. We do run specials quite often bringing these fees down even lower, sometimes to $0! All adoption fees include the pet's spay or neuter surgery, up-to-date vaccinations, testing, and a microchip implant (a value of $165 - $300+).

If I adopt a heartworm positive dog, what is the treatment and is it included with his adoption fee?

The adoption fee covers heartworm treatment for heartworm positive dogs. Our treatment protocols includes one month of daily antibiotics, and Heartgard Plus once every two weeks until we re-test 6 months to a year after treatment was first started. If the dog tests still positive, you will continue with Heartgard Plus every two weeks. There are other heartworm treatment options available, and if you would like to pursue these with your personal veterinarian at your own cost, that is certainly permitted. We chose this method because of cost, because it is least detrimental to a dog's overall health and regular activity, and has proven successful time after time. Heartworm treatment should always be monitored by a veterinarian for any unwanted side effects and potential health risks to the dog.

Can you show me a dog/cat that will be good with kids or my other pets?

Our staff makes every effort to observe the pets in our care and can advise potential adopters about cats or dogs who have expressed behaviors indicating a strong intolerance of small children, other pets, or other negative triggers. A better question to ask though is do you have kids who are good with pets? While some lower-energy pets may be more inclined to allow curious hands, hugs and even being crawled or laid on, every pet has limits and the potential to exhibit aggressive behavior if pushed too far. Unlike the compassion and patience adults can exude to pets, kids can be unpredictable, loud, unruly, uncoordinated and more likely to get in a pet's face. A responsible adopter not only teaches their pet polite behaviors, but also teaches their children how to be gentle, patient and respectful of the pet's space and feelings. Check out for great information and tips.

I found a dog that I'm interested in adopting. Can you tell me what breed he is?

While up to 25% of dogs entering animal shelters are purebred, and we will label them as such when and if we know for sure, most of them are what's commonly referred to as mutts. We prefer "American Shelter Dog". The truth is, no matter what a dog's physical appearance or behavior resembles as far as breed traits, the label on the adoption information is usually a best guess by shelter staff and we make no guarantees as to their predicted growth or temperament. More so than the dog's DNA, you, the adopter, have a greater influence in his behavior through the care, patience, training, enrichment and environment you provide.

Are your adoptable dogs house trained?

Sometimes, though rarely, we can definitely say yes to this question. Some dogs arrive in our shelter by way of personal surrender, and have already established indoor bathroom etiquette which carries over into the shelter environment despite the drastic change in their lives. More often though, dogs arrive after living outside, whether previously owned or not, and will depend on their adopter for proper, positive guidance and training. We're happy to offer advice if you need it, just ask.

If a pet has been in your shelter for a while, or was returned, does that mean something is wrong with it?

Not at all! Some pets have longer shelter stays than others for many reasons. They may be a bit older than most adopters want, they may not adapt well to the shelter environment and therefore not seem as friendly, or they may just get overlooked because of their size or color (Google "Black Dog Syndrome" for an example.) Pet returns usually happen within the first few days or weeks of adoption because of reported "unrealistic expectations" on the adopter's part or a simple change of heart.

Are your cats declawed? Will you perform the procedure?

Sometimes, cats who have been previously declawed arrive in our shelter by way of personal surrender. We will label their adoption information indicating this and stress their specific needs to the adopter, which includes living an exclusively indoor life. We do not declaw the cats in our care or offer it as a service in our Veterinary Care Center. Along with most of the animal welfare community, we discourage the practice of declawing. Unlike clipping nails, declawing is actually a serious, often painful, surgical procedure and it involves amputation of the last bone of the cat's toes. Risks can include paw pain, lameness, bone spurs, nerve damage, and even back pain because removal of a cat's claws changes the way their foot makes contact with the ground. According the Humane Society of the United States, declawing can also make a cat less likely to use the litter box and more likely to bite, not to mention a diminished chance of defending itself in the face of another cat, dog or other predator. None of these risks are necessary and there are safer, much more humane alternatives if you are concerned about furniture or playful scratches. Please just ask our staff!

Volunteering & Fostering

I'd like to volunteer, what's the process?

Thanks so much for wanting to volunteer with us! The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare welcomes individuals who can help provide care for our animals until forever homes can be found, and also in many other areas. Volunteers with our organization must be registered, which includes and approved application, orientation session, and training. Learn more and get started on the "Volunteer" page of our website. General volunteers must be at least 16 years old, and we also offer a Jr. SPCA program for kids in 6th - 12th grade.

I would like to Volunteer with my child, but he/she isn't old enough for Jr. SPCA . Do you have any other opportunities for us together?

If your child is of reading age (typically age 5 or up), then you can participate in our Read & Relax program. The goal of the program is for children to read aloud to shelter dogs, one-on-one, without stimulating them with play. This helps shelter dogs learn to relax and "just be" around people without needing to be the center of attention which sets them up for more success in a permanent home. At the same time, children can build their reading confidence and ability! Learn more by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator at 803-648-6863 or send an email.

How does pet fostering work? Can I choose the pet to foster?

Foster parents or families are volunteers who are willing to provide temporary, in-home care for cats, dogs and their offspring. You provide the love, we'll provide the pets and supplies. Anyone who loves animals and is willing to donate their time, providing lots of tender, loving care, could make a great foster parent. Ideally, this program is best suited for retirees, homemakers, people who work from home or who have flexible work schedules. A Foster Care Application is available on our website. On the application, you can indicate what type of animals you would like to foster, from neonate kittens to adult dogs recovering from medical treatment. Currently, the majority of our foster home needs are for neonate kittens, which involves bottle feeding and close care. However, other opportunities do sometimes arise. The program does not allow foster families to choose an animal from the adoption floor to take home and foster. For more information, visit

Spay/Neuter, Vaccinations, TNR

How can I get stray cats fixed?

The SPCA Veterinary Care Center can help! We partner with the City of Aiken on a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) program which enables citizens to humanely trap community/stray cats, have them spayed or neutered, rabies vaccinated and ear tipped for just $40 per cat. Visit our TNR page or call 803-648-6863 ext. 1 for more information. If you live outside of Aiken City limits, contact the Aiken County Animal Shelter about their free TNR program. Space is limited on a monthly basis. Click here or call 803-642-1537 for more information.

Strays, Pet Surrendering

I found a stray cat/dog, can I bring it to your shelter?

Stray animals should be taken to the animal shelter with jurisdiction over the location it was found. The SPCA Albrecht Center accepts stray animals on behalf of the City of Aiken's Animal Control department, because the City does not have it's own animal shelter. Animals found within Aiken City limits, can be brought to our facility at 199 Willow Run Road, in Aiken. Please use the "Intake" entrance. Please call 803-648-6863 with questions. Animals found outside of City of Aiken limits, but within Aiken County, should be taken to the Aiken County Animal Shelter at 333 Wire Road, in Aiken. They can be reached at 803-642-1537.

I am unable to care for my pet anymore, can I bring him to your shelter to find a new home?

We do accept personally surrendered pets on a limited basis as space and funding allows. Your pet will also need to be evaluated by our staff. Please call 803-648-6863 to check availability. Another option is to use's new tool, "Rehome" the safe, no-cost way to rehome your pet without placing him in a shelter. Check it out at

Thrift Shops

I'd like to donate some large items to your Thrift Shop, can you pick them up?

Yes! We offer FREE Thrift Shop donation pickups. Please contact our Operations Manager at 803-648-6863 to schedule a time convenient for you. Please note that we only pick up Monday - Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Thank you for your generosity!


I am a loyal donor to the ASPCA - their television commercials are so sad. Does the money I donate help the animals in your shelter?

The ASPCA, or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is a large organization based in New York state and our organization is not a subsidiary, affiliate or local branch of that organization. We are completely separate organizations. While we are eligible, as many animal welfare organizations are, to apply for occasional grant opportunities from the ASPCA, we do not receive any regular funding from their organization, and we definitely do not receive donations sent to them, even donations from local people intending to donate to our organization. If you'd like to keep your donations local and help fund the good work we are doing every day, please visit Thank you!

Veterinary Care

I just got a new kitten/puppy. What vaccinations or medical treatment do I need to have done and when?

Unless medically necessary, your kitten or pups first visit to the veterinarian should be between 6-8 weeks old for initial testing and vaccinations, followed up every few weeks with booster vaccinations until they are 16 weeks old. Spay/neuter can usually be performed as early as 4 months old if the pet meets the weight requirement. Please call our Veterinary Care Center at 803-648-6863, ext 1. for specific questions, pricing and the schedule an appointment.

Animal Control - Stray Animal Pickup or Drop-off

I had a stray dog picked up by Aiken Count Animal Control, but I don't want it going to the County Shelter. Can I have it transferred to your facility?

First, thank you for making the right decision. Unlike feral or community cats, dogs tend not to thrive well as strays. Secondly, any cat or dog picked up outside of City of Aiken Limits must be taken to the Aiken County Animal Shelter. Our organization's priority to animal intake is to the City of Aiken since the City has no government run shelter of its own. We do occasionally pull pets from Aiken Count Animal Shelter as our space and funding allows. You will be pleased to know that the Aiken County Animal Shelter now has at least a 75% live release rate through adoptions and transfers to rescue groups. Our County shelter is not the "dead end" that it was long perceived to be. Please call them at 803-642-1537 and explain your concerns so they can work with you on a solution.

Can the SPCA come pick up a stray? What if I suspect neglect or abuse?

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is not a law-enforecement agency, and our employees have no legal authority to seize animals, nor are we equipped to pick up stray animals. Please contact your jurisdiction's Animal Control department regarding your concerns. Please also call these departments if you suspect animal cruelty, neglect or abuse so that an officer can perform a wellness check and begin an investigation if necessary. City of Aiken - Aiken Public Safely: 803-642-7620 Aiken County - Aiken County Animal Control: 803-642-1537 North Augusta: North Augusta Animal Control: 803-441-4298


What are your hours?

Please click here for our shelter, adoption and Thrift Shop hours. Click here for our Veterinary Care Center hours.

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a

tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.

EIN: 57-0329782

  199 Willow Run Road  Aiken, SC 29801      Shelter: (803) 648-6863    Vet Care: (803) 648-6864

Copyright 2014     SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare      All rights reserved