Surrender A Pet

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you need to find a new home for your pet.

Animal surrenders at VAO require completing a Surrender Form:

This document contains questions that will help us determine if your pet is eligible for our adoption program. You can complete and submit one of our online forms or request the print version by email.

Pets adopted from VAO are always welcomed back to the shelter, though they must still go through the surrender process.

If your pet is eligible you may be asked to bring it to the shelter for an evaluation. You might need to make an appointment. For dogs, it is usually possible to get an appointment immediately. There may be a delay for cats.

During the surrender intake process we’ll assess your pet for medical and behavioral issues. Many are considered treatable and will not exclude the animal from participation in our adoption program. As a no-kill shelter, we do not euthanize for space or length of stay, but we’re not a sanctuary. There may be behavioral and medical issues that we cannot address.

  • If we determine your animal is not a candidate for adoption or rescue, you’ll be notified of the reason within 48 hours.
  • If we cannot accept your pet, we’ll do our best to provide you with resources, including referrals to animal behaviorists and education materials regarding behavioral issues.
  • If we do re-home your animal, the new owner’s contact information is confidential, and will not be released to you.
  • If we are out of space, your pet will be placed on a waiting list. We will remain in touch and encourage you to try other re-homing options.

Please plan for enough time to properly surrender your pet. The process may take several days. An Owner Surrender Agreement must be completed when the surrender process has concluded.

Many unwanted animal behaviors can be corrected, enabling pets to successfully remain in the family. If you would like more information about training or other solutions for keeping your pet, please contact us.

Every member of your family should be included in the decision to surrender a pet prior to bringing it to VAO. We also ask that all current veterinary health or vaccination records be brought in with the animal.

The owner surrendering the pet must be at least 18 years of age and provide photo identification.

As a private, nonprofit organization dependent on community contributions, we charge surrender fees to help defray the costs of providing for your pet.


Surrender Intake Fees

  • Dogs or a single puppy – $100 per adult dog or single puppy.
  • Cats or a single kitten – $100 per single adult cat or single kitten.
  • Litters of kittens or puppies – $150+ (three or more surrendered during one appointment/session)

Please contact the shelter if you have additional questions.

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