Miscellaneous FAQ

Dog Licenses in Washington County

All dogs living in Washington County must be licensed. The cost to license a dog is: $5.00 for one year, $9.00 for two years and $13.00 for 3 years. Lifetime licenses are available ($25.00) to dogs that have received their second 3 year rabies vaccination booster. Vendors selling licenses other than the HSWC, can apply a surcharge of up to $3 per license that they will retain as their revenue. Licenses are available at the HSWC and at the following businesses:


  • Antietam Valley Animal Hospital

  • Startzman’s Hardware

  • Cumberland Valley Veterinary Clinic

  • Longmeadow Animal Hospital

  • Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Hospital

  • Park Circle Animal Hospital


  • Boonsboro Veterinary Hospital


  • Downsville General Store


  • Animal Health Clinic of Funkstown


  • Hancock Animal Hospital

  • Town of Hancock Town Hall


  • Smithsburg Veterinary Clinic


  • Canal Town Veterinary Clinic

Can you recommend a veterinarian for me? 

We cannot recommend a veterinarian. We suggest you review the list of local veterinarians on our website under Animal Services.

Do you work with Rescue organizations? 

Yes. Many purebred type animals are transferred to breed specific rescue groups.

How long does it take to adopt and how much does it cost?

We try to process all adoption applications as quickly as possible. Once all verifications and introductions are completed, we complete the adoption paperwork immediately. The animal can then be taken home the same day. The adoption fee for a cat varies! The fee for adopting a dog also varies, plus $5 for a Washington County dog license for residents of Washington County. The fee for both residents and non-residents of Washington County includes the spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, parasite treatment, one month of free pet health insurance, a post adoption examination with a local vet, a microchip and an ID tag. To learn more about the adoption process, please look here

Do you get puppies and kittens? Do you have a waiting list? 

We do get puppies and kittens, especially in the warm weather months. We do not have a breed request list but encourage you to keep checking our website for adoptable animals.

Are adopters required to return an animal to the shelter if the adoption does not work out?

During the adoption process, adopters sign an agreement stating that they will not abandon the adopted pet and that if for any reason they are unable or unwilling to keep the animal, they will either find a suitable home for the animal or return him/her to HSWC.  Within 30 days of the original adoption, there is no fee. After 30 days, there is a surrender fee.  Adopters go through an application process and background check, so we trust that if the original adoption was approved, the adopter looking to rehome a pet probably has that animal’s best interest at heart.

Do you guarantee that the dogs you adopt out are not aggressive? 

No, we make no guarantees about the behavior of any animal. Animals occasionally react differently in a home setting than they do at our facility. All dogs are given a Behavior Assessment prior to being made available for adoption. This process tells us many things about the dog; in particular, it’s potential for aggression. This means that to our knowledge, the dog hasn’t shown aggressive or predatory behavior.

Do you have a foster care program?  

Yes, we have a foster care program. We are always in need of foster homes and suggest all interested individuals apply. Applications can be obtained from our Customer Service staff at the shelter and online.