Surrender Your Pet

Before you surrender your pet

We understand that sometimes pet owners believe they cannot keep their pet. When you surrender a pet to any shelter, the transition can be difficult. Shelters are stressful environments for even the most well-adjusted animal. Before you make the final decision to surrender your animal, consider the following:

  • Contact the shelter, rescue or breeder where you initially got your animal. Most adoption contracts require you to contact them before surrendering or re-homing your pet.
  • Contact your veterinarian to rule out possible medical issues your pet may be experiencing. Undected medical issues can often cause sudden behavior changes.
  • Consult a trainer or behaviorist for help with common behavioral problems.
  • Reach out to friends and family members to determine if they would be willing to take ownership of your pet.

Visit Rehome for more information on ways to keep your pet, and guidance on re-homing your pet yourself.

Bringing your pet to the shelter

If you have exhausted all other options, you can surrender your pet to the Seattle Animal Shelter. The shelter accepts all animals from residents of the city of Seattle. You do not need an appointment, and there is no fee to surrender, although we always accept donations to offset the cost of caring for the animals. For the safety of your pet and the pets at the shelter, please keep dogs on leash and cats and critters in secure carriers at all times. Please see Hours, Location and Contacts for surrender hours.

What to bring

  • Current photo ID (required)
  • Proof of residency in Seattle (required)
  • Completed surrender form (required; you may download and fill out the form, or fill one out at the shelter)
    • Dog Surrender Form
    • Cat Surrender Form
    • Critter Surrender Form
  • Your pet's veterinary records and/or the name of the vet where they were last seen
  • Any behavioral or training records

Please provide as much information as you can about your pet; the more information we have from the previous owner, the easier it is to place the pet into a new home. Animal Care officers can give you more information about our policies and procedures for evaluating pets and placing them up for adoption.

Can you guarantee that my pet will be placed for adoption?

No, we cannot. The Seattle Animal Shelter accepts all animals from residents of the city of Seattle, regardless of species, breed, age, condition, or behavior. While we are typically able to adopt out 90 percent of dogs, cats and critters that come through our doors, some pets will not be placed for adoption. Our staff will perform behavioral and medical evaluations to determine if your pet is an adoption candidate. Pets that are determined to be a health or safety risk to humans or other pets will not be placed for adoption. Additionally, pets that are unable to be helped by reasonable veterinary care may also not be placed for adoption.

We are not able to notify you of your surrendered pet's status, but you are welcome to email animalcare@seattle.gov to inquire about their status. We cannot give out information about the pet's new adopters.