Surrendering Pets: Options To Help Keep Pets At Home

In communities across the nation, we see recurring issues that prevent willing pet adopters from adopting pets or keeping their adopted animals in their homes.

 Did you know that shelters and rescues wish and pray there would be no need for their services? Did you know they pray for the day that they have empty crates and kennels?

They love animals, however, not everything is perfect in our world. According to the Huffington Post, more than 1 million homes a year give up their pets. That isn’t 1 million pets, it’s 1 million homes.

Often multiple pets from a home are given up. This only includes pets surrendered to shelters/rescues, not pets that are given away, sold or just euthanized. That is an incredible number of animals.

We as a society must unite to help pets and families in need. Many who give up their pets don’t do so because they want to, but because they have no other choice.

We beg you to explore all options first. There may be help you were not aware of.

If you must give up your pet(s), please try everything before turning them into a shelter.

Public shelters are all run by their counties. They work with rescues according to their bylaws and/or ordinances.

NC Statute 19A-32.1 states, “The minimum holding period for animals in animal shelters; public viewing of animals in animal shelters; disposition of animals. All animals received by an animal
shelter or by an agent of an animal shelter shall be held for a minimum holding period of 72 hours.”

This means once you surrender your pet to a shelter, by law they only are required to hold the animal 72 hours before euthanizing it. Not all animals are euthanized after 72 hours, but the sad reality is that many are.

Here are three of the most common reasons that family pets end up in the shelter system

1. Housing Concerns

According to major animal welfare agencies including the Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA and Petfinder, the primary reason for giving up pets is that people have to move and can’t find a new apartment/home that allows pets.

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If you must relocate, please find a place that accepts pets. People with Pets can also help you find a pet friendly apartment or home nationwide. Also, many real estate agents can assist you in your area...(always a free service to you).

2. Economic Issues

The second reason for giving up pets is that people are experiencing hard times and can no longer care for them. Did you know there are local programs that can help you keep your pet if you qualify?

Many shelters will provide free dog and cat food for low income pets owners year round.

Many people don’t know that most communities provide subsidized veterinary services for eligible pet parents. Caring for a pet can be costly, and in some instances, cost-prohibitive.

Legal and community requirements such as vaccinations and registration fees can cost money, as can services necessary for the pet’s well being. Depending on an animal’s age or medical issues, things like spay/neuter surgery, x-rays, blood tests or routine vet check-ups can add up. 

Without taking advantage of subsidized services, the high expense of owning a pet often leads people to relinquish animals to the shelter system; they simply can’t afford the cost of care. 

Contact your local shelter or rescue group which will provide cat and/or dog food. They would much rather help you feed your animals than have you give them up. They also, along with many other groups, offer low cost vaccine and micro chip clinics throughout the year.

3. Spaying and Neutering

The third reason for giving away a pet is that not many pets are NOT Spayed or Neutered...
Spaying/neutering animals helps with many issues. It reduces roaming to find a mate. A pet on the prowl faces many risks. It can get lost, injured, sick, hit by a car, or killed.
If it does find a mate and manages to return home, it is likely either pregnant or it just impregnated another animal.

Animals not spayed/neutered face higher risks for mammary gland, ovarian, uterine, testicular and/or prostate cancer, according to the American Humane Society.

They are also at a higher risk for mastitis, prostatitis and pyrometria than spayed/neutered animals. Since their hormone levels are decreased, animals that are spayed/neutered are less likely to spray to mark their territory.

"Too many animals enter the shelter system for reasons that are completely preventable." –

Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO

Please, if you need help, reach out to a local organization. They can help you. Your pet loves you and needs you.

I personally found that there are ways you can keep your pet...
I had a financial problem and was unable feed my pets...or myself. I went to the NSPCA and they gave me large bags of food for them for over three months, which enabled me to keep my pets with me until I no longer needed their assistance I'm so grateful for their help!