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FAQ

Vlad the cat

Shelter Operations

Where is the Humane Society of Washington County? 

The Humane Society of Washington County is located at 13011 Maugansville Road in Hagerstown, Maryland.

How do I get to your shelter?

  • From the North: Southbound on Interstate 81, take Exit 8, Maugansville Road. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp. The building/parking lot is on the right.
  • From the South: Northbound Interstate 81, take exit 7A, Salem Avenue-Hagerstown, MD 58 East. Turn left onto Rhode Island Avenue, then left onto Marshall Street. Stay straight and go under the Interstate 81 overpass. The building/parking lot is on the right.

Why do people bring their pets to the shelter? 

Owners relinquish their pets for a variety of reasons such as behavioral issues, costly health problems, unwanted litters, relocation, and a change in lifestyle that results in insufficient time for the animal. Some animals come to the shelter as strays while others are here as a result of a cruelty or neglect investigation, or are seized as a result of a violation of the vicious or dangerous ordinance. Members of the public who are surrendering an animal to us, whether owned or stray, are asked to fill out this Surrender Form.PDF iconSurrender survey.pdf

How much does it cost to surrender my pet to the shelter? 

We accept animals from Washington County residents. To offset the cost of care, we ask for a $25 fee for single animals and $35 for two or more.

Is there a veterinarian on staff?

Yes, there is a veterinarian on staff at the HSWC who is contracted to work 30 hours per week. We also work with a number of local veterinarians in the community to provide healthcare for the animals when our veterinary team is not working. Our animal care staff provides routine healthcare and makes decisions concerning which animals must see a veterinarian.

Do you get more cats or more dogs?

We get about twice as many cats as we do dogs. Cats make up about 71% of admissions, dogs make up 24% with the remaining 5% being wildlife, small animals, and livestock.

What other types of animals come to the shelter?

Most representatives of the animal kingdom have come into the shelter at one time or another. We have cared for mice, rats, chinchillas, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, snakes, lizards, iguanas, fish, birds, goats, pigs, chickens, horses, and more.

How many animals can you care for in the shelter? 

Our humane capacity is 185 animals at the shelter.  During the summer months we can have over 400 animals living in HSWC Foster Homes.

How long do you keep animals before they are euthanized? 

There is no set amount of time for animals. Space, health and behavior issues are determining factors as to the length of stay. Owner surrendered animals are available for evaluation and/or disposition upon surrender to the shelter. According to the Washington County Animal Control Ordinance:

  • Strays are required to be housed at the shelter for five (5) business days before they are evaluated and/or assessed to determine their adoptability.
  • Feral cats are required to be housed at the shelter for 48 hours before disposition.

Are you part of the Washington County Government?

No. We are a private, non-profit 501(C) (3) organization. We have a contract with the Washington County Government to provide Animal Control Services for all county residents.

Do you have an internet presence? 

Yes. In addition to our website, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter!   

How long have you been in business? 

The HSWC has been in existence since November 12, 1921.

Are you hiring? 

Please refer to our jobs page for open positions. We encourage interested persons to complete an employment application. Qualifying applicants are contacted when we begin the interview process for open positions. Applications are kept on file for 60 days.

What are your hours? 

We are open to the public from Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm with the adoption lobby opening at 10am, except on Wednesdays when we open at 1pm. We are closed on Sundays.

Do you get purebreds in the shelter? 

We do get some purebred animals, but the majority of our animals are mixed breeds.

How many animals do you care for in a typical year? 

Approximately 6,000 animals.

How do you euthanize animals? 

Euthanasia is a quick and painless procedure and is handled in the most humane and compassionate manner possible. Professionally trained euthanasia technicians administer a lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital that stops the heart within seconds. Two technicians handle the process; one to hold and comfort the animal while the other technician administers the solution.

Who do I call if my pet is lost? 

Call our Customer Service Department at (301) 733-2060 ext. 209. You can also report your lost pet on our online form.

Volunteers

How do I become a volunteer? You can apply online by clicking here. The Volunteer Coordinator will review your application and possibly email you with more questions or possibly invite you to an orientation.

What kinds of things do volunteers do? 

Volunteers may walk or bathe dogs, socialize cats, clean the facility, do laundry and dishes, data entry, filing, phone work, customer service, foster animals, assist at events or grounds maintenance.

How old do you have to be to volunteer? 

Volunteers must be 8 or older. Until the age of 16 a volunteer must be accompanied by a trained, qualified adult.

Are uniforms required? 

Yes, volunteers are required to either wear a smock or purchase and wear a volunteer t-shirt when representing the shelter. T-shirts are $20 each and $15 for the second if you buy more than one.

Can students obtain Student Service Learning Hours (SSLH) by volunteering? 

Yes, we work with various school districts in the tri-state area to help students obtain their SSLH as long as students are willing to commit to the requirements stated on the volunteer page.

Do volunteers help with euthanasia? 

No, volunteers do not participate in euthanasia. This is a process that requires professionally trained technicians.

Humane Education

Do you have programs for youth groups? 

We are happy to present educational programs that may include a visit with our adoptable animals. We also go to off-site locations including schools, libraries, day care programs, etc.

Do you host birthday parties for children? 

We do not host formal parties, but we do provide programs to children upon request.

Giving Opportunities

What are the different ways I can donate to the animals? 

We always appreciate appropriate donations. Donations can be items called “In Kind” donations and/or a cash gift, given once or on a recurring basis.

  • In Kind donations may include such items as food, towels, litter or pet toys. Our “Wish List” is available here. We also recycle aluminum cans, old cell phones and used ink cartridges for cash.
  • You can promote spaying and neutering in the community by donating to one of our spay/neuter programs, such as SNIP and SNAP.
  • We have two adoption programs in that you can donate: Silver Lining for Seniors and Senior to Senior. These programs make it possible for older citizens to be able to adopt at a reduced cost.
  • Tribute Donations are monetary donations made In Memory or In Honor of a person or a pet. This is a special way to remember or honor animal lovers or the animals you or they love.
  • Giving can be accomplished through the Maryland Charity Campaign (state employees) or the Combined Federal Campaign (Federal employees). Check with your employer’s Human Resources department to enroll.
  • Time. You can always donate your time by signing up for our volunteer program.

I want to leave you a bequest-how do I do that? 

To leave a bequest to the HSWC you will need to establish the conditions of that donation in your will. We suggest you put your wishes in writing and then contact your attorney to establish a will that provides specific details on the disposition of your estate. If you need assistance or more information you can call extension 237.

Can I donate my car to you? 

Any vehicle that has a title through the Motor Vehicles Administration or the Department of Natural Resources can be donated to the HSWC. It can be donated 24 hours a day by calling 1-855-301-PETS (7387)

Field Services/Animal Control

Who do I call if I find an injured animal? 

Injured animals should be reported to our Field Services Office. The office is staffed from 8am – 5pm Monday through Friday and can be reached through ext. 203. The number to call after business hours is our answering service at (301) 790-7577.

Who do I call if I see an animal that is being abused? 

Reports should be made to the Field Services Department (301) 733-2060 extension 203. Please be able to provide as many details as possible.

What can I do about all the stray cats in my neighborhood? 

Unfortunately, this is a common problem. Call our Field Services Department at ext. 203 for advice on how to trap the cats and bring them to the shelter. Humane traps are available for a non-refundable fee. If you are unable to bring the cat to the shelter, a Field Services officer will pick up the trapped cat and bring it to our shelter.

My neighbor’s dog barks all night-what can I do? 

Call our Field Services Department at ext. 203. Officers will respond during regular business hours.

How old does a dog or cat need to be before it gets fixed and gets a rabies vaccination? 

We recommend spaying/neutering at the earliest age possible. We regularly alter adopted animals at eight (8) weeks of age. Dogs, cats and ferrets are required by law to have a rabies vaccination at four months of age. The first rabies vaccination is for one year. All subsequent vaccinations can be one year or three year shots, with the exception of ferrets which need one every year.

Do I need to get a license for my dog in addition to the rabies shot? 

Yes, a dog license is different than proof of rabies vaccination. You obtain a Washington County dog license at the HSWC or your veterinarian’s offices and other locations. Proof of current rabies vaccination is required for a license. Revenue collected from the sale of dog licenses funds our spay/neuter SNAP program.

Who do I call if I find a lost dog after regular business hours? 

If you find a lost dog after regular business hours, please hold onto the dog until our facility opens the next business day. Please complete the online “Lost & Found” report. You can call our offices during regular working hours and report the found dog. You may also request an officer to pick up the dog. If an officer is available, they will schedule a pick up during regular business hours.

Who do I call if I get bitten by an animal? 

If you are bitten by an animal contact your family physician and seek medical attention if needed. The medical provider should complete a rabies exposure report and forward it onto the appropriate agencies. If no medical attention is required, contact the HSWC during regular business hours or either the Washington County Sherriff’s or Hagerstown Police Department if after hours.

How many dogs may I have before I need a kennel license? 

Residents of Washington County may own five (5) dogs before they are required to obtain a kennel license. Owning six (6) or more dogs requires a kennel license.

Where do I get a kennel license? 

Applications for a kennel license are only available from the Humane Society of Washington County.

What should I do if I have a wildlife concern?

There are several options. You may call the Department of Natural Resources at 1-877-463-6497 or click on the wildlife tab at dnr2.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx. Other alternatives for humane wildlife solutions are located at www.humanesociety.org/animals/wild_neighbors. Finally, you may also seek information about wildlife conflict resolution and prevention through Humane Wildlife Services at 1-866-948-6263 or www.humanewildlifeservices.com.

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:

Hagerstown

  • Antietam Valley Animal Hospital
  • Startzman’s Hardware
  • Cumberland Valley Veterinary Clinic
  • Longmeadow Animal Hospital
  • Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Hospital
  • Park Circle Animal Hospital

Boonsboro

  • Boonsboro Veterinary Hospital

Downsville

  • Downsville General Store

Funkstown

  • Animal Health Clinic of Funkstown

Hancock

  • Hancock Animal Hospital
  • Town of Hancock Town Hall

Smithsburg

  • Smithsburg Veterinary Clinic

Williamsport

  • Canal Town Veterinary Clinic

Animal Related Items

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.

Do you adopt out Pit Bulls? 

We offer for adoption any animal that passes our evaluation process.

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.

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 available to residents of Washington County, MD. 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.

What is Silver Lining for Seniors? 

Silver Lining for Seniors is available to Washington County residents 65 years of age or older to assist with adopting from the HSWC or to help with medical care for an animal adopted from the HSWC. click here.

What is the Senior to Senior Program? 

Washington County residents 55 years or older can adopt a senior cat (5 years or older) for $40.00 or a senior dog for $55.00.

Public Assistance

I want to get my pet fixed but can’t afford it. 

You can apply for a discount voucher through our Public Assistance Program through the Help Desk at extension 243. The vouchers are only for residents of Washington County. Dog and Cat SNIP programs are available to citizens who are receiving county, state or federal government financial assistance, Social Security or disability benefits. Cat SNIP is also available to those maintaining feral cat colonies. There is a $40 co-pay for dog spay/neuters and a $20copay for cat spay/neuters. The SNAP program offers a discount voucher and covers $80 towards a dog spay/neuter, $60 towards a female cat spay and $30 towards a male cat neuter, plus $10 per animal for pain medication. Additional expenses may be incurred at the veterinarian’s office. These programs are available depending upon available funding.

Do you give away free pet food? How do I get some? 

The HSWC has a Pet Food Bank program that is available to residents of Washington County. Visit the shelter during operating hours to receive food.

Do you have programs for animal owners in need of financial assistance? 

Yes, as funding allows. We have an Animal Health Vaccination Voucher that helps reduce the cost of vaccinating your pet against highly contagious diseases. These vouchers are good for up to $75 and can be used at any participating Washington County veterinarian. We also have the program H.E.L.P. that is designated for residents suffering from an economic hardship who need aid in an emergency situation. Please call Customer Service at extensions 208 or 211 for information. Additional Programs. From time to time the Humane Society of Washington County provides assistance programs to meet the needs of Washington county residents. Program announcements will be posted on our website or you can call 301-733-2060.