BARCS Animal Shelter

Baltimore, Maryland

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About BARCS Animal Shelter

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is a private, non-profit organization that serves Baltimore and the surrounding area. As an open-admission shelter, BARCS grants refuge to every abandoned, lost, neglected, abused, or owner-surrendered animal that comes to their door. Every day a staggering 30 or more animals are taken in to be given shelter, love, and the medical care they require. They're Maryland’s largest animal shelter and adoption center, taking in over 12,000 dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, and even some wild and exotic species every year.

BARCS' dedicated team of around 70 employees works hard to ensure these precious creatures are given the best care and chance to find a new, loving forever home. At any one time, there can be as many as 250 animals being cared for at their shelter. An additional 200-600 animals are also in temporary foster homes while they wait to be permanently placed. BARCS cats who are ready for adoption are also placed at partnered pet stores in the Greater Baltimore Area. The full list of adoption centers are as follows:

  • Main Shelter: 2490 Giles Rd, Baltimore, MD, 21225
  • Petco Canton: 3969 Boston St, Baltimore, MD, 21224 (cats and kittens only)
  • Pet Valu at the Southside Marketplace: 895 East Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230 (cats and kittens only)
  • Pet Valu at Mt. Vernon Historic District: 1209 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201 (cats and kittens only)
  • PetSmart Glen Burnie: 597-C E Ordnance Rd, Baltimore, MD 21060 (cats and kittens only)

When you adopt a pet from BARCS, you aren't just saving just one life, but two, by creating a space for another animal to be taken in. By choosing adoption, you choose to love and to become part of the solution, not the problem.

Contact Info

2490 Giles Rd
(410) 396-4695

Hours of Operation

Mon - Fri: 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Adoption Process

All adoptions at BARCS operate on a first-come, first-served basis. An appointment can be made to visit the center by emailing or calling in advance. It's also possible to visit during opening hours without an appointment. All animals available for adoption are listed on the website.

To be eligible to adopt, you must be 18 years old or older, provide proof of address, and have a valid photo ID.

All potential adopters must complete an application form online or at the shelter and spend time interacting with the animals they're interested in adopting. Once you find a pet that steals your heart, you'll be paired with an Adoption Counselor, who takes you through the rest of the process. The animal’s history, behavior,and  needs (as well as your own) will be discussed to make sure that the purrfect match is found!

The shelter encourages you to bring all members of your household to engage in the adoption process, including other pets.

If your new furry friend is already spayed/neutered, they can go home with you on the same day. If they still need to be sterilized, you can collect them after surgery a few days later.

Adoption Fees

Adoption fees at BARCS Animal Shelter are as follows:

Cats & Dogs

  • “Best in Show Package”: $100 (comes with cat carrier or dog leash)
  • Standard “Champion Package”: $75


  • Two Cats (6+ months): $75
  • Bonded pairs (6+ months): Fee waived
  • Cats tested positive for FIV/ FeLV: Fee waived
  • Seniors (5+ years): Fee waived
  • Working cats: Fee waived
  • Animals with special needs: Fee waived
  • Police, firefighters, military, and veterans: Fee waived

Your adoption fee covers spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, flea and parasite treatments, microchipping, your pet license fee for Baltimore residents, a starter bag of Hill’s Science Diet food, and unlimited complimentary certified training classes and private consultations for the entire lifetime of your new pet!

Adoption Process & Fees

Our writing team is hard at work researching this shelter's adoption process and fees, so this page will be updated soon!

In the meantime, here's some nice-to-know info that applies to nearly every animal shelter, humane society, and rescue.

Why Rescue A Shelter Dog?

Because shelter dogs are full of love!

Is it because they know you saved them and love you harder for it?

I can't say for certain, but yes.

Jokes aside, there are three things all shelter dogs need to thrive in their new home:

  1. Love
  2. Patient
  3. Training

Older shelter dogs, generally 1+ years old, may have experienced a lot of trauma, which often results in one of 8 common behavioral issues:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Aggression toward people & pets
  3. Resource guarding
  4. Destructive behavior
  5. Housetraining regression
  6. Poor social skills
  7. Leash reactivity & barrier-related aggression
  8. Constant whining

These issues are correctable! Your dog isn't broken, they're just damaged. You can fix them with enough love, patience, and a good training plan.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, finding good dog trainers can be hard. Like everything else, dog training is moving only. but there are great online dog trainers that are proven to work and can help get your new pup on the right path.

Animal Shelter vs Humane Society vs Rescue: What's the Difference?

You can learn a lot about an animal welfare organization just by looking at their name.

Animal Shelters

  • Most Animal Shelters are city or county-run organizations, often operated by the local Animal Control department, that manage strays and handle owner surrenders.
  • They usually have kennel facilities you can visit to adopt animals, and they usually have less stringent adoption requirements, lower adoption fees, and same-day adoptions (because their goal is to get animals out of the shelter).
  • Unfortunately, they usually know very little about each animal, including their true personalities and any behavioral problems.

Humane Societies

  • Most Humane Societies are non-profit organizations, many of which are no-kill shelters.
  • Some (but not all) are affiliated with The Humane Society of the United States.
  • They exist to improve animal welfare in the local community and often partner with city or county-run Animal Shelters that often euthanize animals due to capacity restraints.
  • They usually have kennel facilities, sometimes at multiple locations, and usually offer other services to the community such as low-cost spay/neuter clinics, community education programs, and more.
  • They may also have some animals in foster care.
  • There's a lot of variation in process and fees among Humane Societies, but they usually have really good websites that detail everything for you.


  • Most Rescues are foster-based organizations that don't have physical facilities.
  • They usually have websites and contact emails, but not all of them have phone numbers.
  • Because they don't have a physical facility, you need to view animals in their foster network online, usually on their website but sometimes on their member pages on either PetFinder or Adopt-a-Pet.
  • If you see an animal you'd like to meet, contact the rescue using the process listed on their website or via email. They'll help you through the application process and set up a time for you to meet the animal at the foster's home.
  • Adopting from a rescue generally is the most expensive option here and takes the longest, but you get an animal that's been cared for in a loving home environment and their foster can tell you a lot about their personality.

6 Tips to Improve Your Adoption Experience

Adoption processes vary drastically from organization to organization, but here are some general tips that apply in most instances. Note that we'll use the term "shelters" here for simplicity but it includes all types of rescue organizations.

  1. See an animal online that you'd like to meet? Call the shelter before your visit to make sure the animal is still available. This especially applies for puppies, which are adopted out quickly.
  2. Usually, you'll need to get some paperwork in order: a photo ID, vaccination/medical records for any pets you currently have, possibly your vet's contact info and a couple of personal references, and (for renters) proof you're allowed to have a pet (copy of your lease or your landlord's contact info).
  3. If you need to provide contact info for your vet, let your vet know ahead of time. Otherwise, they may not release your information.
  4. Many shelters require your current dogs to meet adoptive dogs. Your current dogs need to be up-to-date on vaccinations.
  5. Some shelters require you to schedule a home visit to ensure a suitable living environment for the new animal.
  6. Adoption fees may seem excessive, but they're actually amazing values. Truthfully, caring for a pet is expensive. Most adoption fees include required medical care to get the animal ready for their new home including (but not limited to) spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, general vet exams, flea/tick treatment, deworming, heartworm testing/treatment for dogs, and feline leukemia and feline AIDS testing/treatment for cats. In general, your adoption fee is less than the cost of this care, so you're saving money in addition to your new animal's life!

If you have any questions about adopting an animal (what you'll need, what to expect, etc.) feel free to contact the PetLists team!

For more information about what's included in your adoption fee, or any other questions about the adoption process, reach out to
BARCS Animal Shelter
directly using the contact info above.

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All information on this page is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge. If you spot an error, please contact us using our contact form.
Note: Hours of operation and other information on this page are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.