Surrendering a Pet
Making the Decision
Deciding to give up a pet that has been part of your family can be a difficult and emotional experience for both you and the pet. Whatever your reason may be, you owe it to your pet to consider all your options and choose the one that is best for both of you. Below are some common reasons people surrender their pets.
Often times pet owners give up too easily when looking for housing that will allow them to keep their pets. Be flexible but persistent, and refer to pet-friendly housing directories. Build a “pet résumé” with items such as medical records, training certificates, and reference letters to show your potential landlord you are a responsible owner with a well-behaved pet.
Many behavior issues can be solved by training, either in the home or with professional classes. Research positive reinforcement training methods on the Internet or in a library. Shelter staff can also provide resources.
Consult a physician before assuming an allergic reaction is caused by your pet. If keeping the animal will not seriously risk a person’s health, making small changes such as using a humidifier or keeping the pet out of the bedroom may help manage the symptoms. Many owners find the benefits of having a pet outweigh the inconveniences of allergies.
Finding a new home won’t happen overnight and it is very important to give yourself adequate time to find an appropriate placement. It may take weeks, or even months to re-home your pet. The following are suggestions on ways to find a home for the pet yourself.
- Where You Adopted the Pet: If your pet was adopted from a breeder or a rescue group, you may have signed a contact that requires you to return the animal if you can no longer keep it. Even if this is not the case, the person or organization you got the pet from may be able to help, or be willing to take the animal back.
- Rescue Groups: Rescue groups are private, non-profit organizations that typically do not have a shelter of their own, but house their animals in volunteer foster homes until they are adopted. Some handle general breeds of both dogs and cats while others are breed-specific. While the volunteers may not be able to place your animal in foster care right away, an owner assistance program may be available. Please contact the shelter for referrals.
- Advertising: Never underestimate the power of networking with people you already know. If you choose to place a public ad about your pet, be sure to screen any prospective new family very carefully. An unfit placement will only result in your pet being displaced again, or worse. Never simply give away a pet for free, and not specifying the re-homing fee in your ad gives you more leverage with placement.
- Euthanasia: Pets that have medical or behavior issues can be very difficult to place in a new home and older pets that have been with the same family most of their lives often have a hard time readjusting. In these cases, the most humane option may be to consult your veterinarian and discuss having the animal humanely put to sleep. These animals are less likely to kennel well in a shelter environment and with limited shelter resources, euthanasia may still be the end result. It is less stressful for the animal if you are there for support in the end which is why we recommend euthanasia with your pet's veterinarian.
Surrendering to the Shelter
The shelter should be used as your last resort, only when all other options have been exhausted. We accept owner surrenders on a space-available basis for a fee. The cost is $55 per dog and $42 per cat, plus $18 per day for boarding (minimum $72). For all other animals, the cost is $12 plus $12 per day for boarding (minimum $48). If a kennel is not available the first time you ask, check back often and keep trying other options. Please bring all your pet’s medical records at time of surrender. Animals must pass a behavior assessment before they will be available for adoption. We do not guarantee adoption of surrendered pets and surrendered animals may be euthanized at any time.