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Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Where is your shelter located?

A: Friends of the Shelter Dogs does not have a shelter. We help the dogs at the Athens County Dog Shelter (Ohio).


Q: I'm confused. Aren't you the same as the dog shelter?

A: Friends of the Shelter Dogs is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization. The Athens County Sheriff’s Department is under contract with the county to operate the Athens County Dog Shelter (ACDS). Although we assist the dogs at the Athens County Dog Shelter, we are separate entities.


Q: What do you do?

A: We are a group of volunteers who are dedicated to helping the dogs at the Athens County Dog Shelter. We formed in 2007 to help reduce the euthanasia rate. In 2007, 86% of the dogs at our county shelter were euthanized. Today, The Athens County Dog Shelter (ACDS) is considered a no-kill shelter due to the partnerships we have made with rescues in larger, metropolitan areas. This means that ACDS no longer has to euthanize for space. ACDS is now a safe zone for homeless dogs.


We also buy the vaccines and wormer for the shelter dogs and pay for almost all of their vetting.



Q: That dog has been at the shelter a long time. Why aren't you sending him to a partner rescue?

A: Each week, we share information about the dogs at the Athens County Dog Shelter with our network of no-kill, partner rescues in Ohio, the Northeast, and sometimes even into Canada. They let us know which dogs they are willing and able to take. Sometimes it takes longer to find a rescue to take a particular dog. It is very rare for us to take a dog into FOSD custody if we do not have a rescue already committed to taking it. We simply don’t have enough foster homes to hold dogs until they are adopted locally. We are always in need of more foster homes. If you would like to help by fostering please, email us at


Q: How do the dogs get to your partner rescues?

A: Typically on Thursday mornings, volunteer drivers will take dogs/puppies in their cars to a meeting point. From there, other volunteer drivers meet them and take them on the next leg of the trip.


Q: I found a dog. Will you take it?

A: If you find a dog, you are legally obligated to report it to the county shelter in the county in which you found it. Only they have the means to allow that dog to be legally adopted after its stray hold is up. If you do not want the dog to go to the shelter, you can discuss fostering that dog for the shelter until it is adopted.


Q: I found a dog. Can I keep it?

A: If you intend to keep a found dog, you still must alert the county shelter. You cannot legally own it (no matter how long you have had it) until it has been reported to the shelter and has undergone the requisite stray hold. Buying a tag for a found dog does not make it yours.


Q: But the dog I found is in terrible condition. I don’t want the owner to have it.

A: It takes very little time for a dog on the run to become skinny and tatty. Don’t assume the dog you found has been neglected or abused. It may be a beloved companion animal that has been lost for quite some time. If someone loves it, they will be checking in frequently at the shelter. If not, they will not bother.


Q: Will you take my dog?

A: We believe that adoption is forever. If you must re-home your dog, please try to re-home her yourself. Our shelter dogs have nobody but us to help them. Your dog has you as her advocate. And don’t you want to know who will be taking care of her?


The rescues we partner with often take dogs from high-kill, high-intake shelters. If we send your dog to a partner rescue, that may mean another dog could be euthanized that could have been chosen instead.


Please check out our guidelines for re-homing dogs HERE before you put your dog on Facebook, Craigslist or any other widely-viewed platform! Terrible things can happen to the “free-to-a-good-home dog” that you are trying to give away.


If you have exhausted all the above possibilities, there is a chance we might be able to help. We do not work on an emergency basis. We do not have a facility, and we do not have enough fosters to take in every unwanted dog. Even IF we are able to help, it may take a several weeks, or more depending on the dog.


Q: My neighbor has a dog that they are neglecting/abusing. Will you come out and help it?

A: We cannot seize dogs that are being neglected/abused. Call the Dog Warden at 593-5415 to report any neglect/abuse that you observe. Please take pictures/video, if possible.


Q: Do you adopt out dogs?

A: Because most of the dogs we take from the shelter have already been requested by our partner rescues, FOSD does not typically have dogs to adopt to the public. However, we may opt to adopt dogs locally that we have taken into our custody for medical reasons (e.g., received treatment for heartworm). If we have available dogs, they will be posted on our PetFinder page HERE. The first step in adopting an FOSD dog is to complete the adoption application found HERE. All FOSD dogs are $165 which includes license, spay/neuter, heartworm test, vaccines, and parasite treatment. Because they are also in foster homes, they usually have also received some basic training (e.g., housetraining, crate training, basic obedience).


And don’t forget the Athens County Dog Shelter! Check out their PetFinder page HERE to view their adoptable dogs.


Q: How can I donate?

A: You can donate by mailing a check to P.O. Box 576, Athens, OH 45701 or by making a donation through Paypal (there is a link under the GET INVOLVED tab that navigates you to the Donate page).


Q: Will you help me spay/neuter my dog?

A: There are a couple different options for getting your dog spayed or neutered at a low cost. Click on the Spay & Neuter topic under the MORE tab for more information.


Q: I’m looking for a [insert dog breed name here]. Can you tell me when you get one in?

A: We are happy that you are looking to adopt a shelter dog and we will help you if we can, but we don’t keep a list of people to contact when certain dog breeds come into the shelter. Our advice is to frequently check our Facebook page for updates about new dogs in the shelter or to look for the breed you are searching for on You may find the breed you are looking for at a neighboring shelter or with a rescue that specializes in that breed.
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