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Have you noticed your dog is anxious or bored lately? Maybe he’s following you around the house or chewing up your favorite sandals. Or maybe...
So, you've decided to adopt a dog. Congratulations! This is an exciting time for your household and the doggo you plan on taking home. While there's plenty to consider as you move forward, like how to prepare for your new dog or whether you should adopt a pup or a senior-aged dog, you might want to think about which shelter you want to adopt from, too.
If like us, you're based in Los Angeles, there are tens of dozens of dog shelters in the area alone. While there is no shortage of options in our county, not all are made equal. Some are more reputable than others—and as with any other location in the United States, you want to ensure you're adopting a dog from the right place.
Finding the best shelter can be overwhelming for both first-time and experienced owners. Luckily, we've done most of the work for you. We've rounded up a list of the 10 best dog shelters in Los Angeles—each of which meets the Barkzy team's standards for cleanliness, staff knowledgeability, and more.
If you don't know which dog shelter to adopt from just yet, you might be wondering how to sniff out the best ones. For the Barkzy team, we pick shelters that don't just boast high ratings. They should also live up to our standards, which consists of 6 main factors.
Whether you live in Los Angeles or not, we've listed down our criteria to help you simplify your search and locate the best shelter in your neighborhood. (You're welcome.)
While we aren't suggesting you judge a shelter by its exterior, it should at the very least be clean. Shelters that maintain regular cleanings are well aware of their importance: it's beneficial for the dogs' health and safety. If a shelter is noticeably dirty upon your visit, or the animals inside it do not have access to clean beds, blankets, toys, or water, consider this a red flag.
In addition to having a clean space, dogs should also have ample room. A dog should be able to sit, stand, and move around freely in their living area. If they cannot do any of the above or struggle to, chances are the space provided is inadequate. Dogs should also receive time outside as part of their routine to exercise or relieve themselves properly.
A reputable shelter should be fully transparent with potential adopters. The staff must be willing to share the facility's policies, practices, standards, plus their dogs' medical records and other relevant paperwork. Adopters should also be admitted to a facility tour and a meeting with the dogs they are looking to adopt.
Unless a dog is new to the shelter, it should seem happy, healthy, and clean. If a dog has physical issues, such as lesions or fleas and ticks, or temperamental problems, like excessive fearfulness or aggression, it might not be receiving the care it needs. Ideally, a shelter should also work with a veterinary team to mitigate these issues and ensure all dogs are healthy.
Aside from the facility, it's also essential to pay close attention to its people. The staff should be knowledgeable about the dogs under their care, and more importantly, answer questions adopters might have about a dog's health, history, and temperament. It's a bonus when the staffing team has the credentials to manage dogs, too.
Another sign that a facility cares about its dogs? A rigorous vetting process. While this might turn off some adopters, the process is set in place to find dogs the best possible home. This often involves an interview and an in-person meeting to assess if you can raise a dog and find out if the dogs you are interested in will suit your lifestyle.
With these factors in mind, we've chosen 10 of the best dog shelters across Los Angeles. They are listed below, along with reviews and links to their websites if you want more information.
The Found Animals Adopt & Shop is a shelter that rescues dogs from pounds in Los Angeles. Not only that, but they also operate a retail shop for dog supplies, run a doggy daycare for busy pet owners, and a salon for canines who are due for much-needed TLC. What's more? They offer microchipping services for dogs that are ready for adoption, too.
What a reviewer says: "I adopted my doggie from Found Animals. They are a great organization. The care that they [gave] her before I got to adopt her was surreal. She saw specialists, veterinarians, [and] walked daily, and got so much love and care overall. All of their dogs come from pounds around LA. If you are looking for a dog, the fees are higher here than they are in the LA county shelters, but the attention they give to each animal is amazing."
The Dog Cafe is a progressive dog rescue initiative that seeks to revolutionize the adoption process. They bring together people and abandoned dogs in the cafe, allowing them to interact freely without the stresses placed upon animals in a typical shelter. They focus on rescuing dogs who have been in LA shelters the longest and are at the highest risk of being euthanized.
What a reviewer says: "This place is so wonderful! Staff is so friendly and informative and same with the doggies. Such a great place if you're looking to adopt a new family member. All the dogs have stories from their past, but these lovely people take them in, clean, and get them all fixed up and ready for a new start to their life. No animal should be left behind. I will be telling EVERYONE about this place! So awesome. And you can get a coffee while enjoying your time with the pups!"
The Best Friends Animal Society is a national animal welfare organization. It has two locations in LA, which both follow a no-kill policy. They have over 100 adoptable dogs and offer various services for your pet. They've partnered with SNP LA for spay/neuter services, and their shop in their West LA location offers all an owner needs for their dogs.
What a reviewer says: "Amazing facility with friendly staff. They are caring and compassionate towards all of their animals. They are focused on compatibility to ensure that each animal is placed in a home that will provide a positive experience for everyone."
The Glendale Humane Society has been bringing "people and pets together" for over 90 years. They provide a loving sanctuary for homeless dogs, training and providing them with behavioral and medical attention until they can find owners who can offer them the love and care they need. They also provide ongoing educational programs to foster stronger bonds between owners and their dogs.
What a reviewer says: "I'm still in the process of meeting and getting to know some dogs before moving forward with [my] adoption but I am already so impressed with how incredibly thorough and dedicated the staff is with meeting each of their dogs' individual needs. They prioritize their health and long-term well-being above all…"
Pasadena Human is a non-profit organization that has provided animal care and services for homeless and owned dogs for more than 117 years. It operates simultaneously as an animal sanctuary and lifestyle facility, providing a range of programs, from workshops to webinars, to support "the human-animal bond" to keep "pets healthy and safe."
What a reviewer says: "The folks at Pasadena Humane Society are committed to finding forever homes for the pets in their care. They are caring, professional, and welcoming. They make adopting a new family member easier. Two thumbs up."
Downtown Dog Rescue is a non-profit organization that "believes in second chances for both dogs and people." Founded by Lori Weise in 1996, she and her staff work together with homeless and low-income individuals to care for their pets or find them better homes. They also provide free dog health services, training classes and operate a weekly pet resource center (PRC).
What a reviewer says: "Awesome staff… [helps] with all pet needs and [provides] food, litter, beds for pets, shots, [and] micro-chipping on specific days… This place is a true blessing to low-income people."
The Wags & Walks Dog Rescue is a no-kill rescue organization sparked by Lesley Brog's passion for saving dogs from euthanasia. They offer adoption and foster services and provide a temperament evaluation, which takes the extra step in finding a dog its forever home. Since its beginnings in 2011, they've rehomed more than 5,000 dogs in Los Angeles.
What a reviewer says: "A wonderful facility with personnel that really [cares] about the animals… they actually care about who they go to. We adopted our dog from there, and she was wonderful and exactly as described. I recommend this place to anybody who wants to get a dog."
The Pet Orphans of Southern California is the oldest and largest private humane organization. Since 1973, they've rescued homeless dogs, rehabilitating them back to health and rehoming them to owners they deem suitable. They also have their own veterinary team that provides affordable medical services and support for pet owners in Los Angeles.
What a reviewer says: "Pet Orphans… [care for] and love their animals. I adopted Nikki, a poodle terrier mix… I was [wary] since I have always had labradors. But I found out quickly that a dog's love doesn't depend on the breed. It depends on the owner and dog connecting on a 'love and trust' level. I love Nikki and will always be there for her. I will always support this organization."
LA Animal Services operates six shelters across Los Angeles. It's run by a coalition of animal welfare organizations to find dogs a loving home. They also provide a wide range of pet care services and even assistance for low-income LA residents, like low-cost spaying/neutering services, an active pet resource center, and more.
What a reviewer says: "I have been visiting lots of shelters in LA, and this one was on my top 5. The kennels were nice and clean, and the staff was amazing. Each staff member that passed you by asked you if there was anything you needed help with. They have this nice big recreation area so that you and your new pal can get acquainted."*
*For the LA Animal Services West Los Angeles Animal Shelter
spcaLa was founded in 1877 and now runs multiple shelters across LA. They remain steadfast in their mission to promote education to adopters and dog owners alike, thereby offering various services with this in mind. These include dog training and a wide variety of classes, specializing in obedience, agility, nose work, and more.
What a reviewer says: "Friendly staff. Animals seem to be well taken care of. Got our new family member today, [and] staff made sure the entire family was involved to make sure our pet was perfect for all of us."