Frequently Asked Questions


Where is Portage APL located?

The Portage APL is located just north of Ravenna at 8122 Infirmary Road, behind the Portage County Water Resources and the Dog Warden office. Turn into the Water Resources driveway and continue to the blue building at the end of the road. (Click here for Map)

What are the shelter hours?

Public hours are subject to change. Click here for our published hours.

How can I contact someone at Portage APL?

Phone: 330-296-4022
Fax: 330-296-8648

How can I volunteer for Portage APL?

Please fill out an application form according to your age and mail it to Volunteer Coordinator at the shelter. Volunteer applications are available on this page. Applications are reviewed before an orientation is scheduled.

I found a lost/stray dog. What should I do?

Please report stray dogs to the Portage County Dog Warden
Phone: 330-297-6924
Emergency after hours 330-296-5100
Fax: 330-298-2053

Toll Free 1-800-772-3799

You can also report it to us, and we will keep an eye out too.

Please call the shelter at 330-296-4022 regarding injured domestic animals or call your police or Sheriff office at 330-297-3889.

My animal went missing.  What should I do?

Here is some information to help you get reunited with your furry friend.

  1. Visit our website (, click on Lost & Found, then click on “Report Online” in the opening paragraph. Here you can fill out an online form and attach a photo. This will help us match you to your pet if your animal comes to us injured or sick. (We do not take in stray dogs.)
  2. Inform the Portage County Dog Warden (for dogs) or your local sheriff/police.
  3. Visit the website or There you can create a lost poster for your missing pet and once you’ve created the poster the website will send the poster to 25 agencies (shelters, rescues, animal controls, vet offices, sheriff offices) within a 20 mile radius of your home.
  4. If you are on Facebook, let your friend know your animal is missing.  There are also two more pages that are very helpful. First, is Portage County Lost and Found Dogs and Cats. Second, is Pet FBI Ohio. You can search for these pages in the search box on your Facebook page. There are also Lost and Found pages for surrounding counties where you can post. (I.e., Summit County, Stark, Geauga, etc.)
  5. Remember that cats don’t normally stray very far. Check under bushes, parked cars, up in trees, open garages or sheds or under trailer skirting.  Also check your basement, rafters or hideaways in your own home.
  6. Put something outside that belongs to the animal so they may pick up the scent of home. (No food!)
  7. Putting a sign in your yard that states you are missing a cat or dog is very helpful to your neighbors or passersby who may see your animal out and about and wonder where it belongs.
  8. Remember that spaying and neutering your pet will keep them from wandering.
  9. Microchipping, licensing and ID tags are helpful to connect you if your pet goes missing.
  10. Don’t lose hope. Animals can find their way home.


Who funds Portage APL?

The Portage APL is a private, nonprofit organization which means all operating funds come from community donors like you. In addition Portage APL receives some funding from foundations on a competitive application basis.

Does Portage APL receive money from my taxes?

The Portage APL is not a government agency and is funded by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses and foundations in the community. (Link to You Can Help)

Does my gift to other animal welfare organizations (such as Humane Society of the United States, PETA or ASPCA) help animals in Portage County?

No. Portage APL is a local shelter that receives and houses animals from Portage County and is dependent on local support to keep the shelter operating.

National organizations can offer great resources and information to assist local shelters. Portage APL is an independent non-profit funded by voluntary donations. Funding for Portage APL’s services and programs is received in the form of cash donations, bequests, trusts, endowments and through adoption and surrender fees.

What does the APL do with all the money it collects each year?

All funds received are used for operating our shelter. Money is used to care for neglected, abused and injured animals including food and medicine, veterinary costs, vaccinations, and more. Things like utilities, gas for our vehicles and even laundry are costs that also help us operating daily. The need is constant.

How can I help?

Portage APL is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization, which appreciates donations of cash, time and items to help the shelter operate. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. The shelter, nor its programs, would exist without the generous donations from the community.

You can do any or all of the following:

  • Cash, food and supply donations
  • Tributes for people & pets
  • Cage sponsorships
  • Volunteer
  • Remember the APL in your will and overall estate plan
  • Attend and support an APL event
  • Adopt a pet

Donations are accepted via mail or can be brought directly to the shelter. (Click Here – link to “You Can Help” page)


How many pets do you place into new homes?

Each year the Portage APL finds loving homes for about 800 dogs and cats. Another 45 to 50 cats and dogs are reunited with their original owners.

Where do the animals come from?

Some are surrendered to the shelter for a variety of reasons; moving, eviction, the death of the owner. Many are strays that become sick, injured and in need of medical attention. Some are seized by APL humane officer due to neglect, cruelty or abandonment and brought to the shelter for rehabilitation and placement.

Sometimes Portage APL will arrange to take dogs from the Dog Warden and place them up for adoption.

What is the difference between the county dog warden and the Portage APL humane officer?

The Humane Officer is sworn in by a county probate judge. This officer is empowered to investigate and enforce all Ohio animal cruelty, neglect and abandonment laws in Portage County according to the Ohio Revised Code. The Humane Officer is an employee of Portage APL.

The dog warden is a county employee that focuses on:

  • Dogs running at large
  • Unlicensed dogs
  • Vicious dogs
  • Dog bites
  • Dogs attacking livestock
  • Stray dogs

Does the APL euthanize animals?

We keep animals as long as it takes to find them homes. We do not euthanize treatable, friendly animals in order to make room for more animals. And there is no time limit on their stay here. That is why we are called a “limited access” shelter. However, there are some circumstances under which we may euthanize. They include:

  • Veterinary recommended due to medical condition
  • Animal has seriously injured a human
  • Animal has killed another animal
  • Ordered to do so by law enforcement authorities
  • Animal has serious behavioral problems that have not responded to our behavioral training interventions
  • Serious quality of life issues

How long do you keep the animals?

The Portage APL is a “limited admission, unlimited stay” shelter. This means that healthy, adoptable animals remain at the shelter until they find the right home.

Do you ever get purebred dogs or cats?

Yes, purebred animals pass through the shelter and are available for adoption. Check our pet gallery frequently to see if any purebred pets are available.

How do I adopt a pet from Portage APL?

Adopting a pet is a match of personality and selecting the proper pet for your lifestyle. Adoption staff members are available to help select the perfect pet for your family and explain the adoption process.

Dog adopters are asked to spend time with the dog and bring in family members as well as any other family dog(s) to interact.

Cat and dog profiles are available on-line through Portage APL web site gallery (click here).

Why does the APL charge for adoptions?

To help defray the cost of vaccines, spay/neuter, medical treatments and care and feeding. We care for almost 1,000 animals per year.  Owning a pet is a financial commitment and we hope adopters understand this ongoing need. Each animal is different and some require more care than others… especially those seized from cruelty situations.

Why does the APL interview all potential adopters?

We want to be sure to match the right animal with the right family. For example, if you work 10 or 12 hours a day it world not be right for you to adopt a puppy that needs lots of attention. An adult cat or dog might be a better match. We want you and your “new best friend” to be happy.  Just like with people, not every dog, cat and person is the right fit. It is stressful on animals and families if the adoption fails. We do all we can to ensure you’ll have a family member for life.

Do you require spaying or neutering of adopted pets?

Yes, all animals adopted from Portage APL must be spayed or neutered prior to becoming available for adoption. The Portage APL is committed to ending pet overpopulation. We do not allow animals to leave unaltered.

Why do the animals have to go to an indoor home?

Generally many of the animals available for adoption come to the shelter after being injured or abandoned. Some have had horrific experiences. The APL spends considerable time and money to make the animals ready for adoption. Indoor homes are safer. Under certain circumstances, indoor/outdoor animals are available for adoption.

How do I surrender an animal to the shelter for adoption?

You must call the shelter at 330-296-4022 to inquire if room is available.  Many times we are full and are not able to accept animals. (link to Services & Resources/Giving Up Your Pet)

The shelter can only accept animals that are of sound temperament and in good health. Pets with a history of aggression or medical problems that cannot be resolved without major medical care may not suitable for our adoption program.

Portage APL Services

Can the Portage APL help me afford to spay/neuter my pet?

The Portage APL does not have the facility to perform spay or neuter services to the public on a regular basis but does offer several programs to help people afford spay/neuter services.

Friend of Animals Certificates (FOA’s) are available at the shelter for purchase during regular business hours. FOA’s are available for both cat and dog owners. Simply purchase the low cost certificate and call a participating veterinarian to schedule an appointment at your convenience. A list of participating veterinarians is available at the shelter, or (click here for list).

Low cost Cat spay/neuter surgeries are available each month provided by NOMAD; a mobile cat spay/neuter service as wel as PetFix Northeast Ohio. Please call the shelter at 330-296-4022 to schedule an appointment. Please note that there is a waiting list so call as soon as you acquire your new cat. (For additional information, click here (link to

Can the Portage APL recommend a veterinarian?

Portage APL works with many local veterinarians. We cannot specifically recommend one, but when you adopt we do offer a certificate for a free wellness exam at many offices.

How do I report neglect, abandonment or cruelty?

If the animal in question is in Portage County, click here (link to

Note: You will be asked to provide detailed information about the location, animals in question, and potential suspect as well as your contact number, which will be kept confidential. Being able to contact you for additional information often helps resolve the issue in a timelier manner.

Due to the confidential nature of the investigations, you will not receive any information regarding the results of the investigation.

You may also contact your local police department or the Portage County Sheriff’s office for assistance.

How do I report a lost pet?

Simply call Portage APL at 330-296-4022 and file a lost pet report. (Click here for animals recently received at Portage APL)

Dog owners should also call the Portage County Dog Warden.
Important note: Dogs and cats can travel further than anticipated. If you live within 10 miles of the county border, it is advised that you contact the neighboring county Dog Warden and humane society in addition to the Portage APL and Portage County Dog Warden