Animal Surrenders: Personal Pets

Personal Surrendered Animals:

These are animals that have an owner and need to be surrendered to HART for various reasons. If a person can no longer keep their pet here is the procedure to surrender it.

  • Call the shelter to talk with a worker to see if the pet is a candidate to be surrendered. Age,
    temperament, and health are factors in determining if this is a good candidate for surrendering to
    a shelter.
  • If the pet is a good candidate for surrender, the owner may need to be placed on a waiting list to bring the pet in. The average waiting time is less than two weeks for dogs and may be longer for cats.
  • The owner is charged a surrender fee. This varies on the species, and if they are altered or not. We require proof that female animals have been spayed.
  • If puppies or kittens are surrendered, HART requires that you bring proof of having the mother spayed or surrender the mother with the litter. The reason for this is HART does not want to have to take the next litter that animal has. It is a never ending cycle.
  • Once a pet is surrendered to HART it becomes the property of HART. HART does not give out any information on the pet  (such as who adopted it), once it is surrendered.
  • You are welcome to bring your pet’s belongings with and they will go to the new home with your pet.

Please take in to consideration the following when you are thinking about surrendering your pet to a shelter.

Surrendering Your Personal Pet to HART:

As an animal shelter HART takes in animals under various circumstances. One of these is what we call a “Personal Surrendered Animal”. In the shelter world the definition of this is; any animal that you have had in your care for two weeks or longer.

Unforeseen circumstances can arise where there are people who truly can no longer care for their pet. And then there are people who their pet is no longer cute, or has bad habits because no one ever taught it different and the really heart breaking reason; the pet is old or sick and they can’t or won‘t deal with it.

I would like to speak to the following scenarios HART encounters and the policies in place.


If your cat or dog is a senior, please do not think they are going to do well in a shelter.

All senior animals are evaluated on a case by case basis as to whether we can take them. Personal surrendered animals, especially cats do very poorly in a shelter situation. They sit in the back of their cage with their heads stuck in the corner, or they hide under any piece of furniture they can find. Dogs are somewhat more resilient but it is very traumatic for them also.

These animals have been loved and in a home from the time they were a baby until the time an owner decides to no longer keep them. HART gets calls from people who want to surrender an elderly pet (8 years and up) because they have decided to travel or are moving to an apartment, and various other reasons, and no longer want this pet.

This type of surrender will curl up and physically shut down in a shelter. No matter how hard we try to make its life comfortable we can’t. And no one is going to adopt an animal of this age, because unfortunately these animals have health problems such as kidney diseases, bad teeth, joint problems and the list goes on. The owner wants to be assured that their loved pet will find a good home. How can we tell them yes, when they no longer want the pet because it has become an inconvenience for them? It is a tough to find someone who will take this pet on. It can be expensive and also heartbreaking to adopt an old pet.

Bad Behaviors:

A very nice lady brought her young lab to HART because; “it chewed the house up and destroyed everything they owed.” She was at her wits end and thought it was inhumane to put it in a crate while they were not home. So, she surrendered the dog to HART and wanted a guarantee that the dog would find a loving home and have a happy ever after ending. I sat down with the lady and asked her why someone else would want her dog that had not been taught to be a canine good citizen?

She did not have an answer for me. I told her we would do the best we could but could not guarantee anything as we have to disclose to any potential adopter why the dog was surrendered. She left the dog and the following day she returned to get her lab. She said she thought about what I had told her and decided she owed the dog some training and a chance to be a good dog.

This story did have a happy ending but many don’t. We ask if your pet has really bad behaviors that you are not willing to work with, please do the right thing and don’t bring them to a shelter.

Have the courage to euthanize this pet. Behaviors that HART cannot accept are: Aggression which includes biting, being cage aggressive, attacking other dogs or cats, and destruction of the house. Having a cat that does not use a litter box is another call we receive on a regular bases. This behavior could have a medical reason or it may be behavioral. Healthy cats and kittens that use a litter box can be hard to find good homes for, ones that have bathroom issues are next to impossible.

Sickness and Chronic Health Problems:

If the pet you want to surrender has chronic health problems such as thyroid, diabetes, kidney disease please do not think they will find a home. Veterinary care is very expensive and people adopting from a shelter will overlook these pets. Bad skin conditions are another thing we look at when accepting personal surrenders. These are usually ongoing and can be high contagious.

What is the Bottom Line when Surrendering Your Personal Pet to HART?

If your pet is old, has health issues that require ongoing medical care, has aggression or bad behaviors, and has bathroom problems. Please do the right thing and have this pet humanely euthanized with you by its side. Do not surrender it to a shelter where your beloved pet will be frightened in the last days of its life.

HART strives to be a “Low-Kill Shelter”. If we continue to take in personal surrendered animals that we know are not adoptable, we add greatly to our numbers, never achieving our goal.

Please be truthful with our intake staff. HART does find excellent homes for hundreds of surrendered animals a year.

Thank you for understanding this issue and doing the right thing for your pet if need be.