Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Cleveland APL a department of Cuyahoga County or the City of Cleveland?
No. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the APL is an independent nonprofit agency that is not funded or controlled by any local government or national animal welfare agency.

What is the relationship between the APL, Cleveland City Kennels and Cuyahoga County Shelters?
The APL is the humane society for Cuyahoga County. As such, we operate a facility that shelters animals that can no longer be cared for by their families. We also play a critical role for the cats in our community because we are the only shelter that will accept a stray or abandoned cat. The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County each operate animal shelters where stray dogs are impounded. These government-funded shelters have Dog Wardens who enforce the stray dog ordinances. These agencies do not accept owned animals or stray cats. The APL works cooperatively with our colleagues at these municipal and county agencies to transfer stray dogs that have not been reclaimed into our adoption program.

Who investigates animal cruelty and neglect?
The Cleveland APL employs Humane Investigators who have been certified through the State of Ohio and appointed by the court to enforce Ohio animal protection laws (ORC 959). Our Humane Investigators respond to complaints of animals being abused, starved, abandoned, exposed to the elements, or in need of veterinary treatment. The City of Cleveland also relies on our services to assist with cases of cat hoarding and overpopulation. We respond to 1,500 cases a year and our services are supported entirely through donations.

How is the Cleveland APL funded?
Our primary source of funding is through donations made by people who recognize the importance of the services we provide. Contributions from individuals, corporate support, and bequests make up the majority of our operating budget, with secondary support from service revenue such as adoption and surrender fees.

How will my donation be used?
Tax-deductible contributions to our agency help us purchase animal food, vaccines, and medical supplies. Your donation enables us to assist nearly 15,000 animals a year, to find homes for animals, to prosecute animal offenders, to provide low-cost spay/neuter services, and to educate our community.

Is the Cleveland APL a ‘No-Kill’ shelter?
The Cleveland APL is an unlimited stay humane society that accepts animals-in-need, regardless of their health, temperament, age, or condition.  Healthy, friendly animals and animals with illnesses and injuries who can be humanely treated through our Second Chance Program will stay in our care for as long as it takes to find them a new home.  We do not have prescribed time limits and we do not euthanize healthy, friendly animals, or animals who we can treat, to make space for new animals.  This means we need to ask pet owners to plan ahead and schedule an appointment when they want to bring in a pet.  However, animals suffering from illnesses or injuries that we can’t treat, some animals with infectious diseases, or animals who display aggressive behavior and are unsafe to rehome may be euthanized.  We do not use the ‘no-kill’ terminology as we’ve found many people define it differently, to include never euthanizing any animal regardless of their suffering, health, or aggression.

What is 100 percent placement of adoptable animals?
For years, the APL, like many urban agencies, has relied upon euthanasia as a means to control pet overpopulation within the shelter. However, we have achieved the goal of creating non-lethal alternatives for healthy, friendly animals and to develop treatment protocols for animals suffering from treatable illnesses and behaviors. Currently, 100 percent of our friendly, healthy, treatable dogs are cared for until new homes can be found. We are able to care for all of our healthy, friendly cats, but are sometimes forced to euthanize cats that have treatable, yet contagious illnesses.  With our Second Chance Program, we are now able to provide care for an increasing number of animals with non-contagious, treatable illnesses and injuries.

How many animals does the Cleveland APL assist?
We assist more than 15,000 homeless animals a year through a variety of progressive programs.

Does the Cleveland APL turn animals away?
No, but in order to best manage incoming animals, we ask that you make an appointment.  We refer stray dogs to the appropriate government shelter, but will accept these animals and transfer them when necessary.

I need to give up my pet. What is the process?
In order to provide you and your pet with the best service, we ask that you make an appointment for admission. To schedule an appointment, call 216-771-8825. This appointment enables us to gather important information about your pet’s history and will decrease your wait time when you arrive. There will be small fee charged to bring an animal to the APL.  This will be discussed at the time you schedule your appointment.  Because we are the humane society for Cuyahoga County, fees are double for out-of-county residents.

Why does the Cleveland APL charge for Owner-Surrendered animals?
Just as animal ownership is not free, there is cost associated with caring for animals surrendered to the Cleveland APL.  The APL accepts ownership of unwanted, abandoned, or surplus animals – it is a service we provide without government support. We offer clients advice and alternatives to surrendering animals, but many folks want the convenience of dropping off their pet and entrusting professionals with its welfare. We receive many animals that are dangerous or suffering from chronic, untreated conditions that should have been treated long before their arrival. Since the expense of admitting and treating and re-homing far exceeds what is charged, the fees primarily off-set operational expenses, but they also educate the public about the responsibility of pet guardianship, which includes surrendering a pet, and the value of our services. For pet owners surrendering an end-of-life or vicious pets for euthanasia, there is an additional fee for cremation. Please call 216-771-8825 for more information. Of course, as a mission-based organization, we give special consideration to indigent clients and will always put the welfare of animals-in-need first.

Can I get my pet back if it does not qualify for adoption?
Yes. Upon surrender, you can elect to be notified if your animal is not suitable for our adoption program. By selecting this option, you agree to reclaim your animal within 24 hours. The APL will spay or neuter all animals prior to release.

Does the Cleveland APL work with local rescue groups?
Yes. We have established relationships with local breed placement and rescue organizations and are always interested in expanding our cooperative efforts in this area.  Because we have a strong adoption program and clients interested in specific breeds, we do not routinely transfer healthy, friendly, purebred, adoptable animals, but deeply value partnership with foster-based groups who can assist with caring for and placing special-needs pets.

The Cleveland APL Has Been Saving Lives Since 1913

The Cleveland Animal Protective League’s mission is to foster compassion and end animal suffering. Incorporated in 1913, we are an independent, nonprofit humane society located in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. As a 501(c)(3) agency, we are not funded or controlled by any government agency or national animal welfare organization. We receive no tax dollars. Our animal shelter, services, and programs are made available through fundraising, donations, foundation and corporate support, and service fees. We have achieved the goal of 100 percent placement of healthy, friendly, adoptable animals and envision a time when every treatable, rehabilitatable, homeless animal in our community can be cared for until a new family is found. The Cleveland APL provides shelter to homeless animals relinquished by their guardians, animals that are rescued from abuse or neglect, stray dogs that are transferred in from municipal shelters for adoption, and stray or abandoned cats. We provide low-cost spay/neuter services to other animal shelters and rescue groups, feral cat caretakers (trap/neuter/return), and limited low-lost spay/neuter services for financially qualified pet owners through PetFix Northeast Ohio. Stop in and visit the many animals we help and have available for adoption – make one of our friends one of your very best friends!