Adoption Process

Adopting with MAC is as easy as 1...2...3...

Check out our available animals page to see who can go home with you! On each pet profile, you will find their age, gender, weight, and a little about them — details are added regularly!

MAC does not place holds on animals via phone, email or social media. You must come in and meet any pet you are interested in adopting. When you arrive at the Center, enter the door marked “Adoptions” and an adoptions team member will show you where the adoptable animals are housed. Appointments are not required to visit the Center.


Please Note: Adopters are served on a first-come, first-served basis, so please understand that the animal you are interested in may not be available when you arrive for your visit even if you have called to inquire about it.

One of our adoptions team members will share information about the animal(s) you are interested in so you know more about their medical history, their personality, and temperament. We are here to answer any questions you may have and give you a time to see which pet is right for you! You’ll be able to meet with your new potential pet hands-on in one of our meet and greet areas.


Please Note: If you own another pet at home and would like to schedule a meet and greet, we ask that you meet the animal you are considering to adopt first. Then, you may request a meet and greet with our adoptions team. 

Unless special circumstances apply, we try to send pets home the same day they are adopted.*


Adoption fees can be paid by cash or credit card (sorry, no checks!). We keep paperwork to a minimum to make the adoption process as easy as possible! We’ve even implemented a new mobile check-out process for an even easier experience!


Dogs are required to go home with a leash, collar, and city license tag (if applicable), and cats must leave in a carrier. You are welcome to bring your own, or you can shop in our retail store and purchase any of these items here at MAC. Once the adoption process is complete, you’re all set and ready to start a new journey with your best furrriend!


*If the pet you are interested in adopting is not eligible to leave the shelter that day due to MAC policy or procedure, you may pay the full adoption fee and submit a Pre-Adoption Application which will hold the animal for you if/when it is ready to leave. If the animal ultimately cannot be released to you, the adoption fee will be refunded in full. However, if you fail to finalize the adoption within 24 hours of receiving notification that the animal is ready to go home, the adoption fee will be forfeited.

Question About Adopting?

If you have questions please call our Adoptions Team (423) 305-6500 ext. 4 or email:

Looking for a Temporary House Guest?

If you're looking for a temporary house guest, or are unsure if you're ready to adopt we encourage you to learn more about our Foster Program.

Requirements & Helpful Tips

  • Please make sure to bring a valid photo I.D. with you.
  • All adopters must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Although not required, family members are encouraged to visit the shelter to meet a potential new pet.
  • All adopted dogs and puppies must leave the shelter with a collar, leash, and city license tag (if applicable) available for purchase here at the shelter.
  • All adopted cats, kittens and pocket pets must leave in a carrier. Cardboard carriers are available for purchase for $10.

Things Not Working Out?

We recognize that sometimes things do not work out when adopting a new pet. We encourage you to contact us if you are having difficulty with your new pet – we can provide behavioral and other support that may help. We do guarantee your satisfaction and support a no-fault, no-judgment return policy, meaning you may return your adopted pet to MAC if they are not working out (returns are by appointment) and your adoption fee will be applied towards the adoption of a new pet that will hopefully be a better match!

Adoption Fees

All dogs and cats are spayed/neutered, microchipped, given parasite prevention, and have received age-appropriate vaccinations before leaving the Center with their new owner. Our range of adoption fees helps to support our mission and offset the cost of housing some pets for extended periods of time in addition to those who need life-saving medical care.

Adoptions FAQ's

MAC is open Tuesday through Friday, 12 PM to 6 PM, and Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 4 PM. Please refer to our website and Facebook page for special announcements regarding hours – i.e. holidays.

You do not need an appointment to adopt. All adoptions are conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Anyone 18 years of age or older with a valid photo ID is welcome to adopt from MAC. You do not have to live in Chattanooga, or even Tennessee to adopt with us! All adopters must fill out an adoption application, be counseled and approved to adopt by the MAC Adoptions Team.

Adoption fees cover the cost of an animal being spayed or neutered, microchipped, up to date on age-appropriate vaccines, given parasite prevention, daily care and enrichment, and other life-saving care as needed.


Our range of adoption fees helps to support our mission and offset the cost of housing some pets for extended periods of time in addition to those who need life-saving medical care. 

If you have met a pet you’re thinking might be right for you but you’re not 100% sure, that’s ok! Certain animals are eligible for a 24 hour Adoption Hold (puppies, kittens and highly desirable pets are generally not eligible for holds, please ask!). Adoption Holds for animals ready to leave the shelter require a non-refundable ‘Hold Fee’ of half the regular adoption price of the animal at the time the hold is placed or $50, whichever is greater. Hold fees for animals ready to leave the shelter are administrative and are therefore non-refundable, not tax-deductible donations, and cannot be applied towards the adoption fee.

We do not put animals on hold over the phone, or email. You must meet the animal in person first.

McKamey Animal Center has made the decision to remove breed labels from all of the dogs in our care. This may seem like a small change, but it is actually a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and fair environment for all of the animals that will walk through our doors. Breed labels can often be inaccurate and misleading. Many dogs that are labeled as a specific breed may actually be a mix of several different breeds, and it is often difficult to determine a dog’s true breed with certainty. 


By removing breed labels, we hope to focus more on the individual characteristics and personalities of each dog, rather than relying on preconceived notions based on breed. This will allow potential adopters to make more informed and objective decisions about which dog is the best fit for their home and family.

All adoptions are done on a first come, first serve basis. We do not have a waitlist for certain breeds or ages. We do get highly-desirable breeds from time to time such as Great Danes, Doodle mixes, Retrievers, Siamese, etc.  Our website is the best resource to see who is available for adoption as it is updated real-time.

MAC cares for and shelters nearly 5,000 animals every year. While some animals come to us as strays, from owners who can no longer care for them, or are part of cruelty cases, each is loved and cared for equally. Adoption fees help to offset the cost of care each day, as well as support the costs of critical life-saving medical treatments, behavior rehabilitation, food and surgeries that some animals in our care may need.


We often host adoption specials and events where adoption fees are discounted, or even free. Check out our Adoption Specials here.

MAC offers a range of adoption fees on what would be considered a ‘sliding scale’ system. While most of the animals we adopt out fall within our ‘normal’ range, sometimes we get pets that are not in that range. These pets may have special medical needs, are a ‘high-demand’ type of pet, or have received more extensive care from us than most.


While these are rare occurrences, they do happen! The pure-bred Great Dane or Yorkie puppy is going to be adopted much quicker than the typical mixed-breed dog with a blocky head. Their adoption fees help to off-set the cost of the other animals in our care.


MAC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that relies heavily on donations and support from the community. We are a small, local shelter that does not receive support from a national overhead. Sliding scale adoption fees are one of the few ways we can help to keep our doors open every day.

We get it! Adopting can be a big commitment sometimes! We recommend you come into the Center to speak with one of our counselors. Additionally, we recommend learning more about a temporary house guest and becoming a foster.