Wake County Animal Center faces overcrowding crisis, waives adoption fees for homeless pets 

Just one month after issuing an alert to the community that the Wake County Animal Center will begin euthanizing pets due to a lack of space, the shelter is once again on the brink of reaching its capacity. Staff is pleading with the community for help and waiving adoption fees to find loving homes for over 200 homeless pets.

Any dog or puppy that has been on our adoption floor for 15 days or longer is available for adoption for $0. All adopted pets are fully vaccinated, spayed or neutered and microchipped before they go home. The regular adoption fees are $95 for dogs, $45 for cats under five years old and $15 for older cats.

Current numbers of homeless animals as of Thursday, Sept. 14:

  • 80 dogs
  • 7 puppies
  • 24 cats
  • 31 kittens
  • 43 pets living with foster families
  • 21 strays (on hold for owners to reclaim)

The Wake County Animal Center is the only local shelter that never turns animals away. Owners who are giving up their pets to the shelter MUST have an appointment. The waiting time to surrender a dog is now 4-6 weeks, because appointments are fully booked.

“When we get close to capacity, we have to use our space differently,” said Dr. Jennifer Federico, director of the Animal Center. “We divide up the kennels, so we can fit two dogs inside instead of one. It's not ideal as a crowded and noisy shelter can make our animals feel more stressed, both physically and emotionally.”

Animals that are brought in as strays for protective custody or bite quarantines must legally be held by the shelter. When pet owners make an appointment to give up their pet, shelter staff are fully transparent and explain that if the center runs out of space, it is animals on the adoption floor who will be euthanized first. We strongly encourage anyone who needs to surrender an animal to work to rehome their pet by using these tips.

Ready to adopt? Check out our adoption gallery or come by and see the sweet faces for yourself! The shelter is open for adoptions daily from noon to 6 p.m. seven days a week. The Wake County Animal Center is located at 820 Beacon Lake Drive, near the intersection of I-440 and New Bern Ave. in Raleigh.

Wake County Animal Center kicks off series of low-cost Community Pet Days 

Wake County Animal Center is launching its much-anticipated Fall Community Pet Days to help families provide care for their pets and keep them in their homes. Starting on October 1 and continuing every other Sunday through November 12, families are encouraged to join the event and get free or low-cost veterinary services. $5 rabies shots, free microchipping and additional vaccines will be available, along with other valuable resources on how to find affordable pet food and supplies.

Pet days are scheduled on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1p.m.:

The following services will be provided:

  • Rabies vaccines: 1-year and 3-year vaccines are offered at a cost of $5 (cash only)
  • Microchips: No-cost
  • DHPP (a combination vaccine that provides protection against five dog diseases) / FVRCP (a combination vaccination for cats) vaccines: No-cost
  • Rabies education and prevention materials
  • Wake County Health and Human Services program information

This is the second year in a row that the Wake County Animal Center has organized Community Pet Days both in spring and fall. This past spring, we assisted around 500 families and approximately 1000 animals at the events. The animal center provided over 700 rabies vaccines and 460 microchips.

Community Pet Days are offered in collaboration with local veterinarian Dr. April Ward from Heal House Call Veterinarians, Friends of Wake County Animal Center, Dorcas Ministries and Wake County Health and Human Services.

Learn to speak dog: understanding body language

Join us on Thursday, September 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Southeast Regional Library for a free event, "Learn to Speak Dog: Understanding Body Language." Learning to speak dog will improve your relationship with your canine friends! Hear from experienced dog trainer and Wake County Animal Services employee, Meagan Thomas, about how to understand your dog’s body language to dissect their likes, dislikes, quirks and more!

Learn to speak dog: play styles & preferences

Don't miss the "Learn to Speak Dog: Play Styles & Preferences" free event at Southeast Regional Library on Thursday, September 28, at 6:30 p.m. This session will build on the information covered in “Understanding Body Language” with more specific information to help prevent misunderstandings. Join experienced dog trainer and Wake County Animal Services employee, Meagan Thomas, and learn about your dog's playstyle and friend preferences.

Free microchips and free rabies vaccines on World Rabies Day

Join us for a special event on World Rabies Day, September 28, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wake County Commons Building, located at 4011 Carya Drive in Raleigh, NC. We're offering free microchips and free rabies vaccines for cats and dogs! To qualify for a rabies shot that lasts 3 years, please bring documents showing prior vaccination. All other pets can receive a one-year shot. For safety, dogs must be on a leash, and cats must be in a carrier. Don't forget to bring water for yourself and your pet in case of any wait times. Please note that quantities are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

National preparedness month

September is National Preparedness Month, the perfect time to get prepared for disasters. Although preparing for emergencies might feel overwhelming, it becomes more manageable when broken down into smaller steps. Remember that in times of crisis, your pets rely on you for their safety and well-being, so it's essential to include them in your disaster plans. Ensure you have an emergency preparedness kit ready for both your family and your pets.

It's also crucial to have a properly sized crate for every cat in your home. In case of evacuation, having enough crates ensures you can safely transport all your feline companions. Additionally, not all dogs are crate-trained, but during evacuations, crating may be necessary. Preparing your dog by crate training in advance can reduce their stress during emergencies.

Lastly, make sure your pets are microchipped. This tiny device can be a lifesaver, helping reunite you with your pet should you become separated during an emergency.

On Sunday, September 17, 2023, the Wake County Animal Center will be closing its doors early at 3 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. for a Team Retreat. We'll be back to our regular hours the next day, Monday, September 18th, to assist you with all your pet-related needs. Thank you for your understanding and support.

Adoption Gallery

King 225714

American Staffordshire Terrier


Age: 2 years and 1 months

Weight: 55 pounds

Spayed/Neutered: Yes

Location: Shelter

Date In Shelter: 10/31/2022

Adopt King

Sicilia 239108

American Staffordshire Terrier


Age: 4 years and 5 months

Weight: 53 pounds

Spayed/Neutered: Yes

Location: Shelter

Date In Shelter: 3/26/2023

Adopt Sicilia

Waffle 242683

American Staffordshire Terrier


Age: 2 years and 2 months

Weight: 67 pounds

Spayed/Neutered: Yes

Location: Shelter

Date In Shelter: 7/12/2023

Adopt Waffle
LinkedIn Share This Email