BARCS Community Cat Program
A Free spay/neuter and rabies vaccination program for outdoor cats in Baltimore City.
Have an outdoor cat colony in your neighborhood? Please call (443) 240-8530 or email us at BARCSCommunityCats@gmail.com to see how we can help you.
Free Trap-Neuter-Return Workshops
Join us for our free workshops for information on how to help stray and feral cats in your community. See Alley Cat Allies (Baltimore) for more information.
Low-Cost Spay / Neuter
Community Cats Maryland, Inc. (Trap/Neuter/Return for outdoor cats)
Maryland SPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic
Post Office Box 3637
Baltimore, MD 21214
3300 Falls Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21211 410-889-SPAY email@example.com
Baltimore Humane Society
1601 Nicodemus Road Reisterstown, MD 21136 410-833-4480 firstname.lastname@example.org
Falls Road Animal Hospital
6314 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD 21209
Animal Rescue Inc.
2 Heritage Farm Drive
New Freedom, PA 17349- CATS ONLY
Harford Co PAWS Animal Wellness Clinic 1098 Principio Furnace Road
Perryville, MD 21903
Anne Arundel SPCA in Annapolis
SPCA of Anne Arundel County
1815 Bay Ridge Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21403
410-268-4388 ext. 123
Low cost programs offered at AWS 410-465-4350 and Animal Advocates 410-880-2488
Why Spaying and Neutering is Critical
If you’ve put off spaying or neutering, it’s never too late to have this safe, highly beneficial operation performed on your pet. Looking for incentive? It’s the best, most humane way to avoid unwanted litters and thousands of homeless animals who are left to survive alone on the streets. In addition, there are several medical and behavioral benefits to your pet which ultimately result in a longer, happier life.
Medical Benefits of Spaying Female Pets
- Decreases the risk of breast cancer and tumors.
- Eliminates uterine disease, ovarian cysts, miscarriages, and delivery complications.
Behavioral Benefits of Spaying Female Pets
- Stops the heat cycle (bloody discharge, nervous pacing, crying/yowling) which, in turn, stops male dogs from having the urge to come into your yard.
Medical Benefits of Neutering Male Pets
- Decreases the risk of enlarged prostates, testicular cancer, and tumors.
Behavioral Benefits of Neutering Male Pets
- Stops the mating drive and subsequent spraying, reducing the urge to roam and mount.
- Reduces aggression against other animals, lowering the risk of injury, infection, and expensive veterinary bills.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS)
301 Stockholm Street Baltimore, MD 21230
Located on the water side of the Ravens Stadium
Clinics are usually held the 1st Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. with some exceptions due to holidays or Vet availability. Call ahead to verify date.
- Rabies $6
- Microchip $20
- Distemper vaccination $10
This is an outdoor clinic, so please plan ahead for the weather, and dress accordingly. Inclement weather may result in the clinic being cancelled.
Please bring your pet’s shot records if you have any.
All dogs and puppies must be on a properly-fitted collar and a leash. All cats, kittens, and ferrets must be in a secured carrier.
We accept cash and all major credit/debit cards. We cannot accept checks.
Pet Licenses may also be purchased at the Clinic.
We thank you for your cooperation in contributing to the safety of the clinic.
Baltimore County Animal Control/Shelter
13800 Manor Road Baldwin, MD
Clinics are held on the second Sunday of every month from 1 - 3 p.m. Please call in advanced to schedule an appointment.
- Rabies $8
- Microchip $10
Maryland SPCA Low-Income Vaccine and Wellness Clinic
4007 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD 21211
Located in Hampden Area of Baltimore City
For services, pricing and more information, please click here.
Pet Wellness Clinic Division of West View Animal Hospital
5017 Ritchie Highway Baltimore, Maryland
Located in Brooklyn Park Plaza Shopping Center
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 5 p.m.-6:45 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.- 11:45 a.m.
Must arrive at least 15 minutes before closing to see the doctor. Walk-ins welcome, No appointment necessary. Checks and cash only, no credit cards.
- Rabies $10
- Distemper $10
- Kennel Cough $19
- Lymes $20
- Dewormer (depends on weight)
- Others (please ask)
Test range from $20-$40.
Our shelter takes in an astounding 12,000 animals a year! Since our inception in 2005, and with public support, BARCS has significantly increased the live release rate at the shelter. However, we still have a long way to go and we need your help. We take in an average of 33 animals each day, and our shelter is already full with 250-300 animals on site and hundreds more in foster homes. Animals brought to us may be placed into our adoption or foster programs, sent to another rescue group, or unfortunately euthanized if we do not have an available live-saving alternative. We also have several placement programs for outdoor cats such as our working cat program, barn program, and community cat trap, neuter, return (TNR) program. Even with all of these programs, there is an astounding number of animals needing our help. We hope to continue to increase the number of animals saved in Baltimore City, but we need you to also do your part to help us save more lives!
Too often owners lose their pets and never reunite with them. Please visit our lost and found page to learn more of what you can do to prevent a loss. Per the state law, a shelter must hold a stray animal for 3 business days for an owner to attempt to find it. After that time, the animal may be placed up for adoption, sent to rescue, or euthanized if not reclaimed by its owner. If you find a stray animal, please either hold on to it while helping to look for its owner or take it to the shelter in the County where you found it. This will help aid the owner in finding their pet.
You can help find the owner by posting signs around the area you found the animal, at your local veterinarian hospitals, pet stores, post offices, grocery stores, and shelters. If you chose to hold onto the animal while you are looking for the owner, please contact your local shelters to report the found animal. (In Baltimore City, please contact BARCS, MDSPCA, Baltimore County Animal Control, and the Baltimore Humane Society). You should also have the animal scanned for a microchip at your local vet or shelter.
If you see un-owned cats roaming outside, we need to get them spayed/neutered and vaccinated (also called TNR)! This will help lower the population of outdoor cats. If you need help with outdoor cats in Baltimore City, please contact us at email@example.com, or the MD Feline Society firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maryland SPCA and BARCS hold workshops on how to get involved with spaying and neutering outdoor cat populations. You can also call our Baltimore Community Cat Program Staff at 443-240-8530 to find out more.
Surrendering Your Pet
BARCS takes in almost 11,000 animals a year. Due to the overwhelming number of animals that are surrendered to our shelter, we have begun charging a fee to anyone surrendering a pet that is not a Baltimore City resident.
For the benefit of your pet’s well-being, we ask that you consider the following before surrendering to the shelter:
- Moving? If you are moving there are many pet-friendly housing opportunities available. One example is apartments.com.
- Can't afford to feed your pet this week? We can help. Please email our resources team at email@example.com or call 410-396-4695.
- Medical concerns/costs? If you are surrendering your pet due to a medical issue, your veterinarian may allow you to set up a payment plan so that your pet can receive proper care and treatment at a cost affordable to you. Call your local vet today!
- Behavior issues? Behavior issues can usually be remedied with just a few changes. There are a variety of training classes available to you in your area. You can also call your local shelter or veterinarian to inquire about your concerns. Visit our dog and cat training tips above to learn about what you can do with some of the most common behavior issues for cats and dogs.
- Not home enough? If you are concerned that you are not at home enough, there are many options for pet sitters and doggie daycares available to you. Keep in mind that pets usually sleep most of the day. They are very happy when you return home, and waiting for your return is worth it!
- Ask around for help. Talk to friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives and see if they or anyone they know would be interested in adopting the animal or housing it until a new owner can be found.
- Post notices. Put up notices at your local vet office, rescue, shelter or petfinder.com, newspapers, free websites, etc to see if you can help in finding a new home for your animal. The MD SPCA has a re-homing program where they will also assist you with your pet. Make sure any person who is interested in adopting the animal will care for it properly and for life.
- Pure Breed? If the animal is a pure breed, contact a rescue group for that breed. If the rescue group does not have room, ask them to post the animal’s picture on their adoption web site. Many rescues are listed on Petfinder.
- Puppies and kittens? If you are surrendering puppies or kittens, please hold onto them until they are 8 weeks old. They will be more healthy and have a better chance of surviving if they can nurse from their mothers. It is also against the law to sell, adopt, or give away animals that are under 8 weeks of age. Our shelter does not have space to raise them so we need you to hold onto them a little longer. During that time, you may also find someone who would like to adopt them!
- Never let your pet loose on the street thinking it will have a better chance of survival. Animals are like humans and need food, shelter, water and care. On the street, they will suffer, starve and risk being injured by a car or malicious person.
Last Resort: How to Surrender a Pet
Make an Appointment:
The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) schedules appointments for animal surrender in an effort to better serve the public and public pets. This new program will not change BARCS’ status as Baltimore City’s only open-admission shelter, but is a benefit to pet owners in need of surrendering their animals. Surrender by appointment marks an end to long lines, long wait times and the crowded and chaotic over the counter process where animals are turned over to BARCS with little detailed information being exchanged. This new process will help determine the best option for both the pet and owner.
This program provides owners with new, convenient and extended appointment hours, high-quality service and the critical attention necessary to make the most informed decision about their pet’s future.
- To make an appointment, please call (410) 396-4695 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- BARCS accepts walk-ins for animals with a medical emergency or found stray animals, when an appointment is not an option for the finder. Our walk-in hours are M-F from 2 to 5 p.m. and weekends from 11 to 3 p.m.
This program was made possible by a generous grant from PetSmart Charities.
Purchasing a license is like taking out an insurance policy – if your pet ever
gets lost, it can help ensure they’ll find their way home. As if that weren’t
reward enough, it also helps provide for all the animals that aren’t lucky
enough to have a home because, as of July 2013, 100% of the proceeds go directly toward
caring for the animals at BARCS.
To purchase a pet license tag or to look up a tag of a lost pet, click here.
Annual Pet License Fees
To purchase any pet license, you must provide proof of a current rabies vaccination.
- $30.00 – without proof of spay/neuter
- $10.00 – with proof of spay/neuter
- $15.00 – owner over 65 years of age without proof of spay/neuter
- $5.00 – owner over 65 years of age with proof of spay/neuter
- $1.00 – replacement of lost license
- No fee – assistance dog
- A new Lifetime License is now available for $100.00. This pet license is good for the life of the animal and is nontransferable. To purchase a Lifetime License, you need to have proof of a current rabies vaccination, proof of spay/neuter, and proof of a microchip.
Two articles by Debbie Winkler CABC; CPDT & Dee Ruck BA; MPA
Most Common Canine and Feline Training Issues
Canine Behavior Issues
Dogs often bark due to lack of exercise, boredom, or loneliness. The right amount of exercise and time spent with your pet will most often solve this type of problem. When a dog has used up a lot of its energy by exercising and interacting with you, they don’t need to expend their energy through natural behavior such as barking. Some dogs may need more exercise than others. It often depends on the breed of dog you have. We recommend all dogs to get a minimum of 3 walks a day: 1 walk in the morning when you wake up, 1 walk when you return from work or in the middle of the day, and 1 walk before bedtime. At least one of these walks should be a high-energy walk or exercise of some kind to get your dog’s heart rate up (toss the ball, go for a run, take your dog to a park). You can contact your local Veterinarian to get advice on how much exercise your specific dog may need.
When your dog is behaving well, you should give him more attention and praise. Often owners will ignore their pet when they are lying calm because it’s a time for them to rest as well. However, remember to let them know they are being good. This will help to increase this positive behavior. If you only pay attention (or correct/yell) at your dog when he is barking, he sees that as attention. Be sure to give attention to the things you want to see from your dog. They are craving attention and you are craving good behavior so remember to reward it!
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. Dogs can be trained to chew on only items you want them to chew on; however, until the dog is to the point of understanding this, you may want to crate train them. Crate training can be very helpful to you and your pet. (Please see crate training below.) When you have a new pet, its best to set them up for success. Remove items off the floor that are easy to chew (example: shoes!) It may take a little more effort on your part to clean up your house in ways you never needed to before, but you will be happier in the long run! Set out toys that you want the dog to chew. There are a variety of toys available to you and your pet. Try out a few and see which ones your pet likes best. If you use the toy while you are playing with your dog, you will often find they gain more interest in the toy during times you are not around. Another way to make the toy more interesting is if you put a little peanut butter on the toy or put treats inside of the toy. You will want to rotate through a variety of toys to keep your pet’s interests.
If you like nothing better than coming home from a hard day’s work and finding that your dog decided to “go” on the couch or use your favorite slippers as a new chew toy, then crate training isn’t for you. But if you’re like most people, then using a crate to properly train your dog will be time well spent. Crate training takes some time and effort, but it is a proven way to help train dogs that act inappropriately without knowing any better. If you have a new dog or puppy, you can use the crate to limit his access to the house until he learns all the rules-like what he can and can’t chew on and where he can and can’t eliminate. A crate is also a safe way of transporting your dog in the car or taking him places where he may not be welcome to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, he’ll think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed. Your dogs crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in. If your dog is still growing, choose a crate that will accommodate his adult size. Block off the excess crate space so your dog won’t eliminate at one end and retreat to the other. Crate training can take a few days or week, depending on your dog. It is important to keep two things in mind when crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant, and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don’t go too fast. To learn more details about how to crate train, contact the shelter or your local veterinarian.
Consistency is the best policy! Take your dog outside as often as possible, and especially right after eating, when beginning training. Once you get outside do not play with the dog until he/she has gone to the bathroom. Continue to walk the dog around the yard until they “go”. When the dog is going to the bathroom outside, calmly repeat one word or phrase that the dog can associate going to the bathroom with. For example you may use “do you business, go potty, etc.” Once he is finished going to the bathroom, then get really excited, let him know how good of a dog he is, and give him a treat. This encourages the dog to continue to go to the bathroom outside. Punishing your dog when they have an accident in the house does not work. The dog does not understand why it is being yelled at. You may accidentally teach your dog that going to the bathroom in generally is a bad thing or they may think you are punishing them simply because you came home (especially if you don’t “catch” them in the act). Instead you must be proactive in teaching the dog to “go” outside. Make it positive and fun and your dog will learn much faster. It will take effort on your part to take the dog out often and to also learn the body language that your dog is showing you when it has to “go”. Crate training is also helpful when housebreaking your dog.
Feline Behavior Issues
Litter Box Training
A good rule of thumb is to have 1 more litter box than the number of cats you have. For example, if you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes. Litter pans should be kept in an area away from your cat’s food and water bowls and they should be placed in different locations in you home. It is also best to scoop the litter pan at least 2 times a day. Having a clean litter pan will help keep the cat from choosing somewhere else to use the bathroom. Just as you do not want to go to the bathroom in an area that is dirty, neither do cats. Cats are very clean and would like their litter pan to be clean as well. Another helpful tip is to make sure that you are consistent with the type of litter you use. Cats will sometimes stop using the litter pan if they do not like the kind of litter you buy. Stick with what you already know works!
If you cat starts going to the bathroom in other locations, and you have been following the guidelines above, your cat may be having a medical problem. If a cat has a urinary tract infection, it will begin to use other locations of the house as a bathroom. Your first step should be to take the cat to the vet to rule out a medical issue. Antibiotics are often enough to treat this condition. If your cat does go to the bathroom outside the litter pan, throughly clean the area and block that area for a few days. De-clawed cats sometimes have litter pan issues as well. Please see the “prevent scratching” section below to learn why this may be a problem.
Cats that are not spayed or neutered will often spray to mark a territory. Hormones take a few weeks to get out of the cats system so if your cat is not altered, do it immediately! It is best to have them altered before they reach sexual maturity and especially before the spraying behavior begins. If you are too late, and the cat is already spraying, you will need to train them. The best way to do this is to confine them in an area when you are not home and if you are not able to supervise them. Start with keeping them in an area that can easily be cleaned such as a bathroom. In that area you will also want to put their food, water, and of course a clean litter pan. When you are home and able to supervise your cat, allow them to roam around. When your cat goes into the litter pan, be sure to praise them. Once they have gone to the bathroom, be prepared to give them a treat!
How to Prevent Scratching
Scratching is a normal cat behavior that helps the cat to mark its territory and to maintain their claws. The best thing for you to do is to provide them with areas to scratch and trim their nails on a regular basis. There are a variety of scratch posts and toys available to you and your cat. Try out a few kinds since not all cats like specific toys. For example, scratch posts come with carpet or with rope. Find out which kind your cat likes or try both. Keep the scratch posts in areas the cat likes to hang out. It is often helpful to place a scratch post in areas where you see the cat normally scratching such as the corner of your couch! If your catch your cat scratching on something you do not want them to, immediately remove them from that area and put them near the scratch post. When you see the cat scratch on the post, make sure you reward them! If your cat doesn’t seem to like the scratch toys you have collected, you can also try to entice them to use it by putting catnip on the toy.
Trimming your cat’s nails on a regular basis is another great way to help with scratching problems. You should begin this training immediately. When you first train this behavior, be sure to have some yummy treats present so that you can reward her for good behavior. The best way to begin is to trim one nail and then give a reward to your cat. When you first begin training, you may choose to stop after one nail in order to make this a positive experience. It may take you a few day or a week to get to every nail at first; but keep in mind it is best to make sure you make the training positive so that you can easily maintain nail clipping.
De-clawing your pet often is not the answer to your scratching problems. (Remember, outdoor cats should never be de-clawed since this is their only protection.) De-clawing can cause many problems with cats; including, litter pan issues. In order to remove the nails from a cat, the bones at the end of their paws are also cut off. Cats like to dig and cover their “waste” after going to the bathroom. Over time, this behavior becomes more difficult for cats and they will start going to the bathroom in other locations.
BARCS Community Cats Program
Are you seeing outdoor cats in your neighborhood? We can help. BARCS’ free* Community Cat Program is the humane, effective way to reduce the number of cats living on our streets. Community cats are the unowned stray or feral cats who live outdoors in our neighborhoods.
Services of the Community Cat Program
- Humane trapping of stray and feral cats, followed by spaying or neutering, vaccination and return of the cats to their home area. Over time, their numbers are reduced
- Ear-tipping of spayed or neutered cats. A painless procedure, an ear-tip is the universal symbol of a spayed or neutered outdoor cat
- (ALL FREE PUBLIC SERVICES)
Benefits of Spay/Neuter
- Prevents unwanted litters
- Saves taxpayer dollars by keeping cats out of municipal shelters
- Decreases the number of cats needlessly dying in shelters
- Helps improves the health of outdoor cats
- Reduces nuisance behaviors like spraying, fighting, howling and roaming
How You Can Help
- Tell us about stray cats in your neighborhood: 443-240-8530
- Volunteer with this program - current opportunities listed below
TNR CLINIC ASSISTANT
- Monday afternoons starting at 10 a.m.. until 4 p.m.. (or until needed)
- Assist with cleaning and wrapping surgical instruments, cleaning traps and carrying traps to and from the holding area to the surgery room
- Great experience for anyone who wants to gain experience in sheltering and/or veterinary field
- Credit for school programs and/or graduation requirements
COMMUNITY CATS DAYTIME ASSISTANT
- Flexible schedule throughout the work week (before 6 p.m.. needed)
- Help with cleaning cages and traps
- Assist with cat drop offs/pick ups by the public
**Note: The cats in this program are often not domesticated cats, they are community cats and can range from friendly to feral. Here at BARCS we are committed to proper care for all animals in our program.
If you are interested in either of these volunteer opportunities, please email BARCScommunitycats@gmail.com with questions or to get started.
FOUND A PET WITH A BALTIMORE CITY PET LICENSE TAG? CLICK HERE AND ENTER TAG NUMBER.
Report your lost pet to BARCS by filling out one of the following forms and attaching a photo:
Lost a pet? Here are some things you can do:
- Alert local shelters, Humane Societies, SPCA's, and Veterinary Hospitals (Make sure you give as much information as possible about the animal and ways to contact you.) Attach a picture!
- Post signs about the animal in the area last seen and the surrounding areas (animals will travel far!) Attach a picture!
- Post signs/pictures in local restaurants, stores, parks, post offices, etc.
- Put ads in the local newspapers and magazines each week.
- Visit local shelters every 3 days to look at the strays. You can identify your animal best. (Many facilities have a “hold” period for stray animals. After that time period, the animal becomes property of that facility – BARCS holds for 3 days.)
- Submit your report to Petfinder and other similar sites.
Ways to prevent losing an animal companion:
- Have Rabies and license tags on your pet at all times.
- Write your name and phone number directly on the animals collar with a permanent marker. (Tags often fall off!)
- Have your pet micro-chipped. This is an identification device that is inserted under the skin, on the back of the animal’s neck. It is the size of a piece of rice and does not hurt the animal. When an animal is brought into a facility, the animal is scanned for a microchip, and the owners contact information is automatically provided. You can purchase a microchip at BARCS low cost public clinics or from your veterinarian. Be sure to register your microchip on the chips registry and with FoundAnimals.org (free lifetime registration and updates). Also remember to keep your contact information updated!
- Keep your pet properly restrained.
- Do not leave your pet outside unsupervised.
BARCS depends on its rescue partners to help save lives. We believe that it is important to work closely with all types of rescue groups to help more animals find their forever homes.
We work closely with all-breed rescue groups who come visit our shelter to select dogs and cats for their adoption programs. We also work closely with breed specific groups to come and take the many purebreds that we get in to our shelter.
We especially count on groups to help with the many animals that come to us that may have special needs, urgent medical attention, or are just simply older and more stressed in a shelter environment.
We are always looking for new groups to partner with us to help save the lives of the many homeless and unwanted animals of Baltimore city. If your organization would like to work with BARCS please complete the Rescue Partners Form (available in Microsoft Word format as well) and either email it, fax it or mail it to our rescue coordinator.
We invite you to call our rescue coordinator and discuss any questions you may have about our rescue program. We encourage organizations to come to the shelter when they have available space and look at the many dogs and cats we have to see if any would fit into their programs.
BARCS is also always in need of volunteers who can help transport animals to other facilities. If you are interested in helping our rescue program by transporting dogs and/or cats please contact the rescue or volunteer coordinators at 410-396-4695.
The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks has been working with the community to create fun new ways for dogs to socilize and play through creating dog parks around the City. Parks and Recreation requires that all dogs that enter into a City dog park area must wear a dog park registration tag. (Please note that the Robert E. Lee dog park is not a City park. This park is run by a non profit organization through the County.)
BARCS has been asked to handle the registration tag process, and in return, the proceeds will benefit the animal shelter. Please visit the shelter at 301 Stockholm Street to register or mail in the registration tag form. In order to purchase a dog park registration tag you must provide: proof of a current City Pet License and proof of your pet being spayed or neutered. There is a $20 annual fee ($10 for seniors) for a dog park registration tag.
Policy for reclaiming Impounded animals
BARCS accepts and cares for all animals impounded by Baltimore City Animal Control.
The following is the policy for redemption of impounded animals. The owner is responsible for all charges. Cash and credit card are acceptable payment methods. For questions concerning the reason for the impoundment of your pet, please contact Animal Control at 410-396-4688. Click here for our hours.
Per Baltimore City Code Title 10: The owner may reclaim an animal within 72 hours of impoundment. If the owner reclaims the animal, the City may require the owner to pay fees for the care, feeding, housing, and veterinary care of the animal during impoundment, may require the animal to be microchipped, or may require the animal to be altered. Proof of current pet license, vaccinations, spay/neuter, or microchip will lower the cost of the redemption.
- 1st Impoundment: $50.00, 2nd Impoundment $70.00, 3rd Impoundment $80.00
- Microchip: $35.00
- Boarding: $15.00 per day
- Intake Vaccines and flea preventative: $10.00
- Pet License: $5-$30, prices vary depending on if altered and age of owner
- Rabies vaccination: $45.00
- Spay/Neuter: $75.00
- Medical fees: Varies depending on treatment provided
- No one under the age of 18 can reclaim an animal.
- Proof of owner identification must be provided.
- Proof of ownership of the animal must be provided.
- For “misrepresentation to obtain custody” of an animal in our care, the penalty is a fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or both fine and imprisonment for each offense.