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  • I want to surrender my dog; will you take it?
    Maybe. STAR's priority is to pull dogs directly from local animal control, but when we have the space available, we can sometimes take a dog directly from the public. If training and all other resources have been exhausted and the need to rehome is still present, we would suggest submitting a Connect With A Rescue request via Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia. This form is sent out to local rescues in the area to help assist families in need before having to seek Animal Control /Shelter assistance. If a rescue can assist, they will reach out directly from the form submission. Owner surrenders are accepted on a case by case basis. Acceptance depends on meeting certain criteria and available space. If you are interested in surrendering your animal please first make sure that they are up to date on their Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella vaccinations, then reach out to us at Please make sure to include the reason you are looking to surrender the animal as well as their age, sex, breed, weight, temperament, behavior history (including any bite incidents), and whether or not they get along with other dogs, cats, kids, strangers, etc.
  • I've found an animal, what do I do?
    If you have found an animal and you are in the Philadelphia area, please check out The Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia's (ACCT) page on what to do and available resources.
  • I've lost my pet, what do I do?
    If you have lost a pet and you are in the Philadelphia area, please check out The Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia's (ACCT) page on what to do and available resources.
  • Will you come pick up or trap an animal?
    Unfortunately, we are unable to come out and pick up or trap animals. Please use the links below to find someone who can help. Raccoons and other wildlife Dogs running loose Stray Cats
  • I want to report neglect or abuse; can you help?
    To report abuse and cruelty, click here. To report cases of neglect, click here.
  • I want to report barking dogs, feeding pigeons, or illegally kept farm animals, who do I contact?
    For animal ordinance complaints, click here.
  • I want to report animals left outside during extreme heat or cold, who do I contact?
    To file a report during extreme weather events (Code Blue or Code Red) click here.
  • Do you groom dogs?
  • Do you board dogs?
  • Do you offer any veterinary services?
    Nyet. (That's Russian for no.)
  • Do you sell dog food, etc?
    Non. (That's no in French)
  • Do you sell dog licenses for the City of Philadelphia?
    Yes! Stop in with your rabies certificate or your rabies tag number and expiration date and we will gladly help you make your pooch legal! Speaking to other humans not your thing? License your dog online!
  • Can you recommend a local dog walker, pet sitter, groomer, etc?
    We know a bunch, but we prefer not to play favorites. Think of this as a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors by asking them who they'd recommend!
  • I just want to come in and play with your animals, is that possible?
    We operate on an appointment-only basis exclusively for approved applicants. While we don't offer open play sessions, we encourage you to consider becoming a volunteer to engage with our dogs on a deeper level. Our volunteer program provides opportunities to interact with and care for our dogs while making a meaningful impact on their lives. Learn more about our volunteer program and how you can become involved with our volunteer program and positively contribute to the well-being of our dogs.
  • Why should I microchip my pet? How does a microchip work?
    Get all of your microchip questions answered here!
  • Community Cat Questions
    Found a feral cat and want to help? Check out ACCT Philly's page on Community Cats for more information. You can also check out these awesome Facebook groups for extra assistance: PHL Community Cats South Philly TNR
  • Who is eligible to adopt & what information is required?
    Anyone over the age of 21 with a valid state ID and no record of convictions for animal cruelty or violent crimes is eligible to adopt. ​ If you currently have pets in your home, or have had pets in the past 5-7 years, we require your Veterinarian’s contact information so that we can verify a history of consistent medical care. If they are/were not spayed/neutered or kept up to date on their vaccinations, we would need a valid medical or personal reason why. If you have not had pets in your home within the past 5-7 years or the pets belong to your parents, girlfriend, roommate, etc., we require 3 non-family references. ​ If you currently own your home, we will verify that the home is in yours or your spouse's name through property records. If you rent your home, or if your name does not appear on the property records but you are not technically renting (i.e. the home is owned by your family), we would need verification from the landlord/owner that you are allowed to have pets and whether there are any breed or size restrictions in place. ​
  • Why do my current animals need to be up to date on their vaccinations and/or spayed/neutered?
    We want our animals to thrive in their new homes and consistent veterinary care plays an important role in their long-term well-being. If your current animals are not properly being cared for, we cannot be confident that our animals would be going forward. Want to learn more about vaccinations? Check out the links below. Dog Vaccinations Cat Vaccinations Having reservations about spaying or neutering your pet? Let the ASPCA put your mind at ease. Read about the benefits and debunk the myths.
  • Why are your adoption fees so high? If they need homes so badly why aren’t you giving them away for free?
    We get this question all of the time! The basic answer is that it costs money to continue to run and operate the rescue. Adoption fees generally don’t cover what we actually end up spending on each animal we take in. They do, however, help offset the costs and, coupled with donations, they allow us to have the necessary funding to care for our animals. Check out this article from Petfinder for a great breakdown of why rescues depend on those fees and how they benefit adopters in the long run.
  • What can you tell me about their history?
    Typically, animals don't arrive at STAR with a lot of information about their previous lives. We're happy to share everything we know, but please understand that when someone surrenders an animal, even if they do provide information, there is no way of knowing whether or not it's truthful. ​
  • Why are dog adoptions done with an initial two week trial period?
    Dogs need to decompress when coming into a new environment. They often need time to get the hang of their new routine and get comfortable with their new family. Because of these reasons, our adoptions begin with a two-week trial period. We created this policy to help ensure that each dog we place would find what will truly be their forever home. We also want you to be happy with your new family member. The two-week trial period will allow you to make sure that you’re prepared to be a pet parent and that you’ve found the dog that’s right for you. During the two-week trial, if (for whatever reason) you feel that your home is not the right fit, bring the dog back and we will refund the adoption fee. We will keep your application on file and work with you going forward to find the right dog for you.
  • What do you mean when you say applications are done on a first come/best fit basis?
    We strive to find the best possible home for our animals, which is why we take a variety of factors including age, temperament, level of socialization, medical requirements, and activity level into consideration when placing an animal in a forever home. We may approve an applicant as an adopter but deny adopting them the dog they had originally applied for if they do not meet the criteria required for that animal. If we receive a number of applications at the same time, we will choose the applicant who we believe can provide the best home for that particular animal.
  • Why is my application taking so long to process?
    We try to process all applications in a timely manner. If you've submitted an application and have not heard from us in over 72 business hours, it is more than likely that one of these issues is slowing us down. ​ We have not heard back from your landlord. Try as we might, sometimes landlords can be almost impossible to get ahold of! To help us get you approved, please speak with your landlord prior to filling out an application to make sure: 1. That you are indeed allowed to have pets including the species, breed, and size pet you are applying for. 2. That your landlord is aware that we will be contacting them to verify said information and we cannot approve an application until we get approval via phone or email. ​ We have not heard back from your references. If they've agreed to be a reference they must be your friend, right? Let them know that we will be calling, and that you'll pay them back the $20 you owe them if they return our call in a timely fashion. ​ We have not heard back from your vet or you need to approve the release of your animal's vet records. Please call your vet prior to filling out an application and make sure that they actually have records for all of the animals in your home and give them permission to discuss those records with us. Let us know if: 1. Your vet records are in someone else's name. 2. Your animal's veterinary history scattered at more than one vet. If so, we will need you to list every vet we need to call and their contact information. 3. You visited a low-cost veterinary clinic. They often do not keep records, so you will have to provide us with copies of the paperwork given to you at the time of your appointment. We don't mess around when it comes to verifying your current animals care, any purposeful attempts at deception will earn you a lifetime adoption ban at STAR.
  • How do you know how old an animal is?
    Frankly, unless they've arrived with their original vet/breeder paperwork, we don't. 99% of the time the ages listed for our animals are best guesses made by our vet using factors such as condition of the animals teeth, body development, and appearance to make a determination.
  • Is this dog good with kids?
    We do our best to determine our animals compatibility with humans of all shapes and sizes however, there are no guarantees. No matter the animal, adopters should always do leashed introductions with any new human whether inside or outside the home. Children should ALWAYS be monitored during interactions with any animal. For more information on the best way to establish a loving, safe relationship between your human and fur children, check out this helpful guide.
  • Is this dog good with cats?
    We do our best to determine our animals compatibility with other pets however, there are no guarantees. No matter the animal, adopters should always do leashed introductions with resident cats. For more information on the best way to conduct successful introductions check out this helpful guide.
  • Is this dog good with other dogs?
    We do our best to determine our animals compatibility with other pets however, there are no guarantees. No matter the animal, adopters should always do leashed introductions with resident dogs in a neutral territory. For more information on the best way to conduct successful introductions check out this helpful guide.
  • When I bring my new dog home, what do you send them with?
    We send all of our adopted dogs home with some dry food to help with the transition and some other goodies if available. We will also gladly lend adopters a crate for the duration of the two week trial.
  • What to expect when bringing a new pet home & helpful tips.
    Are you prepared? Check out these helpful questions to see if you're ready to bring a new pet into your home or compare this Puppy vs Adult Dog guide to see which is right for you. ​ For more comprehensive adoption guides, check out these handbooks courtesy of the San Francisco SPCA. Dog Adoption Handbook Puppy Adoption Handbook
  • Can I put money down to hold an animal?
  • I'm going out of town, can you keep an animal I'm approved for until I return?
    It depends, reach out to us at!
  • Will you call me if an animal that fits the criteria I'm looking for comes in?
    Sure! That's exactly why we allow you to get pre-approved to adopt! Once you're an approved adopter we're happy to reach out once an animal who fits what you're looking for comes in! Fill out an application for pre-approval here.
  • What do I put if I don't technically own my home or rent?
    If you're living in a home where your name is not on the property records or you are not married to the person whose name is on the property records, you do not own the home. If that is the case, we will need the approval of the owner or landlord before we are able to approve your application.
  • What are the requirements for volunteering?
    Adult volunteers must be 18 or older and have no history of Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders, animal cruelty charges, and/or convictions for violent crimes. All volunteers must have an up-to-date tetanus vaccine. Volunteers are required to attend one 60-minute orientation to go over the rules, regulations, and procedures of the rescue. Failure to attend orientation will result in denial of any application.
  • What is the required/expected time commitment from volunteers?
    We request that our volunteers sign up for one opening/closing shift or one event each month. That’s it! The rest is up to you. We’re happy to see you every day or once a month. So whether you want to walk a dog for 15 minutes on your lunch break or stop in for 4 hours to do a deep clean, we appreciate any time you can give us!
  • Can I volunteer for my court mandated community service?
    It would depend on the reason you received court mandated community service. Please email us at for more information.
  • Do you accept group volunteering?
    Our facility is very small so we cannot accept groups larger than 10 people. To set something up, please email us at
  • Do you have an internship program?
    Unfortunately, we do not have an internship program at this time.
  • Can I bring friends with me when I volunteer?
    If you are coming in to work an opening, closing, or mid-day shift then we're afraid you cannot. However, if you are coming in to walk dogs outside of shift work then you are welcome to bring a friend along. Please go over the basic rules with your friends prior to their arrival at STAR and keep in mind that the only person who should ever be handling an animal in any capacity is you. This means that while they can walk with you during a dog walk, they cannot at any time hold the leash.
  • Why do I have to attend an orientation before I can begin volunteering? What's covered during orientation?
    Orientation's are necessary to go over STAR's rules and regulations and to ensure the safety of our animals, staff, and volunteers. We will review everything from handling STAR animals while on walks to keeping our animals healthy by avoiding cross-contamination and more. We appreciate that you want to get started ASAP and we do our best to get you oriented and on your way as quickly as possible.
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