Animal Services and Programs


Animal ShelterOperation of the Animal Shelter

The animal shelter temporarily houses and cares for homeless, disowned, and aggressive animals. Such care involves proper feeding and nutrition, cleaning and disease control, exercise, enrichment, and socialization. The shelter is a community resource for locating lost pets and for adopting new family members.    

Hours of Operation

  • Monday through Saturday: 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (Adoptions and visitations end at 3 p.m.)
  • Closed Sundays 

Field Services Hours
All animal-related calls for service are dispatched via 911. Animal Services Officers (ASOs) respond to service requests in order of priority (call 311 for non-emergency and nuisance complaints).

ASO's are on duty seven days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They may be called in for high-priority incidents from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 a.m.

In conjunction with our Community Outreach & Support Program, ASOs and other employees and volunteers provide supportive services to pet guardians facing barriers in access to resources.  Most support services are provided Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with occasional Saturday events and activities. 

Contact & Location InformationMeeting Kitty 

Field Services 

Animal Services Officers provide community outreach and support services by connecting with pet owners in Rochester neighborhoods during routine patrols and door-to-door visits. The focus is on sharing information and resources to encourage pet retention and remove barriers in access to resources.  Such efforts are also help to increase compliance and reduce shelter intakes.

We also enforce NYS laws and City of Rochester ordinances related to dogs and other companion animals. The City of Rochester's Code Chapter 31 contains ordinances pertaining to dogs. Chapter 30 addresses animal regulations for all other companion animals. Animal Services Officers have authority to investigate complaints and issue citations for any relevant violations that are supported by substantial evidence. Citizens may document complaints on supporting depositions to aid in enforcement when Animal Services Officers are not present to observe such violations. The deposition instructions must be followed carefully to ensure appropriate and timely enforcement. However, we always seek to resolve matters in a non-punitive manner, addressing root causes with sustainable solutions whenever possible, as we do not believe in punishing issues related to access to resources.

Pet Adoption Services

We adopt out a variety of dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, and other animals such as gerbils, hamsters, Guinea pigs, ferrets, rabbits, and various exotic birds. You never know what you might find on your next visit to the shelter or our adoption web pages. Learn more about our pet adoption program.

Lost and Found Services 

Animal Services historically takes in over 3,000 lost or unwanted animals every year. Owners seeking missing pets should visit our Lost a Pet page to view profiles of found pets, submit a Lost Pet Report, and refer to the Lost Pet Resource Packet. Owners may also visit the shelter to attempt to locate missing pets but many are being housed in temporary foster homes. 

Finders of lost pets can play a huge role in getting those animals reunited with their families. Visit our Found a Pet page, submit a Found Pet Report, and follow the tips to get the pet home as quickly as possible.

Supported Self-Rehoming

Animal Services can provide support, guidance, and assistance to pet owners seeking new homes for their pets. Keeping the pets with the owners and out of the stressful environment is better for everyone. Check out our Before Surrendering a Pet page for tips and links to aid in the process. Home to Home is an interactive web tool created to help reduce intake at animal shelters and rescue organizations. By using Home to Home, pet owners can be directly involved in identifying and placing their pets into new homes without having to surrender them to a shelter.  

Reading Program

Rochester Animal Services offers its Once Upon A Tail reading program in which children visit the shelter and read to adoptable animals. Why are kids reading to animals? There are benefits both for the children and the animals.  Children are able to practice reading to a non-judgmental audience (i.e., the animal). It helps build confidence in reading ability. Animals benefit from the social interaction and from the children’s voices, which are believed to be soothing and relaxing. These are types of enrichment that reduce stress and contribute to animal wellness while in a shelter environment.

Community Events 

Animal Services participates in various events within the Rochester area including The Fast & The Furriest® 10K, 5K, Dog Walk, and Pet Fest; parades, summer festivals, off-site adoption events, and other activities to promote shelter adoptions and volunteering.  

Dog Bite Prevention

These programs are provided to a variety of different community groups, schools and public servants as requested.  The purpose is to provide guidance to assist people throughout the community in avoiding dog bites and also tips for providing appropriate care and socialization for companion animals.

Volunteer Program

Animal Services has an active volunteer program that enables community members to get involved with various aspects of the programs and services.  Volunteer duties include dog walking, pet bathing, socializing and training animals, cleaning cages, assisting with the spay neuter clinic, providing customer service, triage, and case management; data entry and analysis, administrative support, pet reunification, self-rehoming support, transportation, shelter greeters, website content management, and promoting the organization at special events. There is also a Foster Care Program for individuals interested in providing temporary homes for animals in need of special care or awaiting placement in a new home or transfer to another organization. 



Pets and Animals