About Us




Adopting A Friend

  • What do I need to Adopt?

The entire family!
It's hard to pick a family pet when the whole family isn’t there. Some pets react differently to children, to men, to women, to older people than they do anyone else. Some animals (even puppies/kittens) gravitate to children or men or women...others may shy away!

What would happen if you brought a pet home and the pet hid under the kitchen table and growled at your kids and hissed at your husband? It's not fair to bring that pet back...but if you had your whole family here...we could see that WHEN YOU WERE HERE and realize that's not the appropriate home for the pet.
Please understand this is a big decision and the whole family should be allowed to make this decision together. (This is the reason our shelter doesn’t allow gift adoptions) Families with children MUST have ALL children present for a meet and greet. This is for YOUR safety as well as the safety of OUR PETS!

Have another dog/s? Great! We strongly recommend and advise you bring him too! Let your resident dog pick his/her new best friend. That way you are guaranteed a success!  We have a large, enclosed meet and greet area where your canine can frolic with a potential new friend.

If you own your home:  Proof of home ownership (mortgage statement or water/sewer bill)

If you rent from a management company or leasing company: you will need to provide a copy of a leasing agreement stating that pets are allowed  on company or management letterhead. Handwritten letters are NOT accepted

If you rent from a Landlord You are required to get a copy of our Rental Contract signed by your Landlord. This agreement will soon be on our website but for now you can get a copy EMAILED to you by clicking here.

Other Things to Know:

* You will need to bring a PHOTO ID or drivers license with current address.
* The shelter does NOT accept checks. We DO ACCEPT
Visa, MC, Discover, debit cards or cash . ATM cards with the Visa/MC logo should also work. There is a 3% service charge to use the credit/debit card for any transactions.
* The gate closes 15 minutes prior to closing time – the last adoptions are processed NO LATER than then.
* Please check for holiday/weather hours/closures Holiday Hours
 (we are closed most major holidays and holiday weekends).



Who We Are

History: The Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling, MA (also referred to as the Sterling Shelter) EIN # 04-3236868 is a non-profit organization (formed in 1988 – incorporated in 1996) and no-kill animal shelter with no time or age restrictions. The shelter exists to provide humane sheltering and high quality medical care for stray, unwanted, abused and neglected animals and to find loving, lifelong homes for orphaned pets. Our staff is dedicated to finding good homes for adoptable pets and we continue to promote responsible pet ownership and to improve the quality of life for the animals and people in our community. The Shelter is supported entirely by donations from private individuals and through surrender and adoption fees. The Animal Shelter, Inc. does not receive support from the United Way or from federal, state or local governments. Our on-site veterinary clinic cares for over 2,000+ animals that come through our shelter yearly and provides a low/no cost spay/neuter, general wellness program assisting local animal control officers, shelters and breed rescues.

Position Statement – A leader in our field, The Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling is a happy, clean, well run, family friendly animal shelter with progressive programs that improves lives by raising the bar for animal care in our shelter and community. We are an established organization committed to placing animals in caring homes through innovative programs and placement services.


Listed below are some of our Shelter Programs for People and Pets!

Pediatric Spay/Neuter Program – Established February, 1999 – Our shelter has maintained a 100% compliance rate on spay/neuter of all animals before they leave the shelter.  This includes puppies and kittens as young as 8 weeks UNLESS there is a MEDICAL necessity that would cause fatal complications or risk the pet’s life. Early age spay / neuter is the surgical sterilization of companion animals prior to the conventional age of 6 months. For shelters it can mean 100% sterilization compliance rates, fewer returned animals, and improved staff morale.

Save Our Satos Program – Established May 1999 – a joint life-saving venture with animal rescues of Puerto Rico. Hundreds of homeless, neglected animals are rescued, rehabilitated and flown to our shelter each year, where they find loving, lifelong homes. These dogs known as “Satos” (mixed breed street dogs) are spayed or neutered, provided any necessary vet care and found loving homes! To date our shelter has rescued and re-homed thousands of these amazing dogs/puppies.

Seniors 4 Seniors – Established October 2000 – Companion animals are essential to keeping people healthy, vibrant and to reducing blood pressure and stress. Often times older people need or want animals to give them love and companionship throughout their golden years. Pets can be expensive if one is on disability, Social Security or limited income, in response our shelter has created a Seniors for Seniors program. The shelter waives the adoption fee of any qualifying animal at our shelter 5+ years for an adopter 55 years or older. All pets are spayed / neutered and provided all medical care before adoption. The average cost of this service is over $700. The adopter is taking home a new companion and saving the initial cost of any medical care and adoption fees. This program is a win/win situation for both the adopter and the pet.

Spay Your Mama & Neuter Your Daddy– Established January 2001 – our shelter provides low/no cost spaying/neutering for pet owners that have recently surrendered a litter. Pets who enter this program must meet specific criteria for our services. It is our goal to accept the litter (where they will be spayed/neutered and receive any necessary medical prior to adoption), spay the mother (and/or neuter the father) dog/cat so they do not become repeat offenders of continual litters reproducing in our community. Prior to instituting this program, we repeatedly saw multiple litters of puppies/kittens coming from the same household. We have spayed hundreds of dogs/cats that would have otherwise kept delivering puppies/kittens in to our community. IF YOU KNOW OF A PET THAT WOULD BENEFIT FROM THIS PROGRAM PLEASE CONTACT OUR SHELTER 978-422-8585 or email sterlingshelterclinic@gmail.com

Homebound Hounds Program – Established July 2000 – A Death Row Puppy Rescue Mission -Rescuing and re-homing puppies/dogs from over a dozen high kill shelters, animal control facilities and pounds in rural Virginia  – destined to die in the gas chambers. Here at our shelter, they are spayed or neutered and provided any needed vet care and found loving homes! We have rescued and re-homed thousands of dogs and puppies through this program working closely with the Southside SPCA in Meherrin VA. Tennessee Rescue – Established Summer 2006 – this same program was launched with shelters/rescues in rural TN through Companion Pet Rescue and Transport, several thousand dogs and puppies have been rescued on this program.

Rescue Group Assistance – Established 2003 – our shelter clinic provides low cost spay/neuter and medical care for several dozen N.E. Animal organizations that do not have funds or veterinary care available to them. This program allows organizations to adopt out pets maintaining a 100% compliance rate on spay/neuter PRIOR to adoption. To date our clinic has performed thousands of surgeries/treatments and medical procedures for several dozen groups. Additionally, our shelter collects and donates thousands of pounds of pet food and supplies each month for animal welfare organizations in need and less fortunate than ours.

Worldwide Outreach Program – Established September 2003 – The staff, vets and volunteers at our shelter have partnered with rescue organizations in the Caribbean islands to spay/neuter and provide general veterinary care for the animals of their community at NO COST. In the Caribbean there is no money or governmental support for animals. Spay/Neuter is our most important focus as well as education, proper nutrition, and ID collars for the pets. 100% of the trip, supplies and materials are donated or fundraised specifically for these trips. Saint Lucia, Puerto Rico, and the Galapagos Islands have all received our assistance.

Merit “Bone Badge” Program – Established September 2003 – The “Bone Badge” Girl Scout Pet Care patch is offered. The girls have a minimum number of lessons in kindness to perform in order to earn their patch. The program and all the lessons are age appropriate for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes/Seniors. The girls learn how to be safe around animals, how to properly care for a pet, importance of having proper identification on pets, and the importance of medical care. We have educated hundreds of girls through this program.

Kids Helping Kritters Humane Education – Established September 2003 – a formal program for kids that are to young to help IN our shelter. The kids have the ability to tour our shelter, learn about community involvement and the importance of volunteering. Children get a behind the scenes tour of the shelter and are educated on a variety of animal welfare topics including basic animal care, the responsibility of owning a pet, how to be safe around pets, importance of spaying and neutering, and what THEY can do to help the pets in our shelter and community.

Disaster Rescue Assistance – Established August 2004 – disaster animal rescue trained shelter staff and veterinarians travel to natural and man-made disasters to assist animals in need. Rescue, recovery and rehabilitation are the main focus. 100% of the trips are funded through donations. Our shelter is proud to have assisted after Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

Veterinary Training Program – Established January 2005 – Updated program in 2012 – Tufts University 4th year vet students spend one week rotations in our on-site shelter veterinary clinic providing them hands on surgical experience. Over 60 students rotate through this program each year where they perform several dozen spays/neuters and other miscellaneous surgical procedures they would never be permitted to do in a private practice vet hospital. We have the opportunity to educate the students about pet overpopulation problems, pediatric spay/neuter procedures and protocols (practiced in few veterinary hospitals/shelters throughout all of the United States), shelter medicine and herd health/management. New graduates will leave school with a sense of accomplishment and passion and we hope “give back” to the homeless animals in their community in the future. Many of our externs have gone on to specialize and focus in shelter medicine and are currently working with shelters nationally! In addition, many of the students have gone on to develop official Shelter Medicine programs in their own Colleges which proves that this program is extremely beneficial.

Foster Family Program – Established January 2006 – each year our shelter receives hundreds of pets that are not immediately suitable for adoption. Pets that might be in need of medical care / treatment, socialization, behavioral evaluations and training, or may be too young to be spayed/neutered and sheltered for adoption at our facility. Our foster care families each have a niche to provide a life-saving option for pets that would otherwise be left as strays on the street, euthanized for behavior or medical reasons and passed over for potential adoption. Many of our foster families have a “specialty” within the foster program – from feral feline rehabilitation, providing basic medical care and treatments, capability of evaluating and modifying behavioral issues or just a loving, warm, safe environment to allow our juvenile animals to grow in to young dogs/cats. 2010 foster animals lives saved 503 – 2011: 100 animals – 2012: 85 animals

Shelter Volunteer Program – Established January 2006 – volunteers are critical to our organizations mission. Our shelter formalized a volunteer program which accepts volunteers 17 years and older. Formal orientations are held each month that walk potential volunteers through our shelter goals, missions and programs. Our volunteers have a variety of tasks they can participate in, including hands on pet care, administrative tasks and events. Over the past years our shelter has benefited from hundreds of volunteers assisting our shelter, collectively donating several thousand hours of their time. Volunteer hours 2007: 4747 – 2008: 3500 – 2009: 4859 – 2010: 6592 – 2011: 5749.5 – 2012: 2873.5

Kitty Convoy– Established Spring 2006 – an intra-state kitten (and cat) relocation program assisting overburdened euthanasia shelters in Massachusetts. Spring through fall (which is high volume kitten season for shelters in New England) – our shelter accepts felines from shelters that are filled to capacity and that face euthanasia for lack of space. Our shelter absorbs 100% of the costs to spay/neuter, test, vaccinate and care for these felines until they are adopted. Each year, we accepted several HUNDRED felines EACH YEAR through this program that would otherwise be euthanized through no fault of their own.

Whisker Walk– Established June 2008 – A benefit and forum to raise money and awareness for New England based animal welfare organizations that do not have the funds and resources to host their own events. Our shelter pays for all costs associated with hosting the event but generously shares the ability for animal rescue groups to raise and keep 100% of funds they generate through their participation. Whisker Walk caters to families and their pets and promotes responsible pet ownership / care, education and ADOPTION. A great forum for a public relations, fund-raising, encouraging the general public to adopt a homeless pet from one of their local shelters / rescues and of course, and to show-off the wonderful pets that we’ve all adopted out.

Feline Feral Fix – Established 2010 – offering low cost spay/neuter for feral cats. Ferals lives are short and usually harsh. They struggle to find food and water in an environment filled with the constant threats of disease, starvation, cruelty and predation. They are the abandoned, the lost and the wild. The number of feral cats in the U.S. is estimated to be in the tens of millions. Sadly, many communities still opt to control populations using outdated methods, including lethal elimination or relocation. Not only are some of these methods horribly cruel, they are also highly ineffective.  Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) as the only proven humane and effective method to manage feral cat colonies. For more information/questions or to schedule an appointment please call 978-422-8449 or email sterlingshelterclinic@gmail.com

Safe Shelter Surviving Pet Care Program – Established 2012 – For pet owners that are no longer able to care for their pets or if the pets should outlive the owner, the owner becomes ill and can no longer care for the pets, we will immediately finalize arrangements with the pet owners representative, family member, or executor to have their pets transported to our facilities for care, housing and medical treatment – where the pet will safely reside with us until adopted. This program is available to pets regardless of where they reside. For information email us.

Operation Pit Stop – Established May 2013 – Our on-site veterinary clinic offers “Operation Pit Stop” to encourage responsible pit bull ownership and ultimately lower the euthanasia rate of the breed, which is currently facing an epidemic of homelessness.  Sadly, this breed is the most common type of dog surrendered to adoption centers and found as strays and represent a majority of the dogs euthanized each year at shelters and animal control facilities. Our shelter offers a special discounted rate of $75 (spay OR neuter – Proof of valid rabies vaccine must be presented in the form of a certificate NOT a tag otherwise state law requires vaccination prior to surgery) for owners of Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes. Operation Pit Stop offers a responsible solution to reducing the population of Pit Bulls to a manageable number through affordable spaying and neutering. Healthy dogs over the age of 8 weeks and weighing at least 2 pounds are eligible for surgery.  Additional vaccinations and micro-chips are offered at the time of surgery only.  Please contact your own veterinarian for ongoing wellness services. Our staff reserves the right to deny any aggressive/sick animals to this program. For more information/questions or to schedule an appointment please call 978-422-8449 or email sterlingshelterclinic@gmail.com

Spay – 4 – M.A.. – Spring 2013 – our on-site veterinary clinic offers low cost spay/neuter to pet owners no matter where they reside. Vaccination and micro-chipping are optional, but to participate in the program, dogs must receive spay or neuter services. Most importantly – NO INCOME VERIFICATION IS REQUIRED. The clinic can discuss options for pricing on other vaccines/tests – a valid RABIES vaccine is mandatory per state law before or at the shelter before we surgery. Our staff veterinarian has the right to refuse surgery if the pet is aggressive/sick. For more information/questions or to schedule an appointment please call 978-422-8449 or email sterlingshelterclinic@gmail.com to watch for additional services/discounts, pet advice and tips and tricks for training at www.facebook.com/sterlingshelterclinic

We’re YOUR Local Animal Shelter… There’s a place in your community where the hungry are fed, the homeless are sheltered, and the abandoned are given care. It’s your local animal shelter, right here in Sterling, MA. Where we provide comfort and care for our community’s unwanted animals. We offer many other services too, for pets and their people. To do all this, we rely on the support of people like you. Here are a few ways you can help animals, especially those in our care…Give a little bit… Donate food or towels or old blankets and other needed supplies to us. Lend a hand and become a volunteer. Find that special someone here waiting for a home – ADOPT! Help spread the word about our program. Be a responsible pet owner. Vote for the animals. Support legislation that protects animals. Report animal cruelty. Teach your children respect for animals.

Come Visit Us

For a map/directions and shelter hours



Contact Animal Shelter Inc.


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