Surrendering A Pet

Surrendering a pet can be an incredibly difficult decision. Shelter staff may be able to help you keep your pet at home or there may be alternative re-homing options to consider prior to relinquishing your pet to the shelter. Please review the following resources before deciding to surrender your pet as the animal shelter should be the last resort.

Why are you considering surrendering your pet?

  • Behavior issues? Consult a local trainer or check out this Pet Behavior Library to resolve common behavior issues and help keep your pet.
  • Cannot afford care? There are many great resources that can help you keep your pets at home even during financial struggle. Please call the shelter at 271-5363 (dogs) or 271-5333 (cats) to ask about available resources.
  • Moving/don’t have adequate housing?  Read this helpful information from the Humane Society

Other options:

Staff understands that sometimes it is just not possible to keep your pet. Before the final decision to surrender, you may want to consider other re-homing options. The following are some tips to try to re-home your pet:

  • Give yourself time to re-home your pet. It can often take weeks to months to find it the best home.
  • Increase your pet’s adoptability by having it spayed or neutered. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations. Call the shelter at 271-5363 for low-cost assistance.
  • Spread the word to increase your chances of finding the right home for your pet. Ask your friends, family and co-workers to help. Social media can be a great place to share information as well.
  • Use the Adopt-A-Pet re-homing tool. This is a safer alternative to online options as the site is monitored by staff. 
  • Use caution and hold meetings in a public place. Ask questions to screen adopters. 
  • Contact breed-specific or foster based rescues 
  • Never abandon your animal.

Owner Relinquish Information

If the resources above do not address the circumstances you are experiencing, St. Joseph Animal Control & Rescue has a process in place for relinquishes. The shelter conducts owner relinquishes by appointment only. If you are needing to relinquish a pet to the shelter, you need to fill out an owner surrender form. Once your form is submitted, a staff member will contact you to schedule your appointment. There is a $10 fee to relinquish a pet for residents who live inside the corporate city limits and a $40 fee for those who live outside of the city limits. We do not accept animals from outside of the St. Joseph city limits.