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Surrender FAQ

Form 1Surrender Statement

Form2 DogCatBirdSmall Animal

The Humane Society of Portage County understands that circumstances may arise that require individuals to surrender their companion animals.  Surrendering a pet is never an easy decision.  We strongly encourage you to notify friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances to determine if a close contact can take your pet.

If you are unable to locate a home for your animal, and you would still like to relinquish your pet to the shelter please read our guidelines carefully.  Surrendering an animal is an important decision for both you and the HSPC and should be handled in a humane manner.

If you are faced with a behavior problem, there are options and behavioral points to consider that can be resolved with a little patience.


Behavioral Considerations

  • Is the animal spayed or neutered? This simple procedure can have a dramatic impact on some behaviors.
  • Consult with an animal behaviorist. We have HSPC caregivers who can help you. Free assistance is available by phone (715-344-6012).
  • Discuss the problem with you vet.  Your veterinarian may be able to suggest a training method or even a medication to help eliminate the problem. Also, pet allergies are a common problem. The good news is that today, you allergist or veterinarian can recommend many helpful products and tips to “lose” the allergies, rather than your pet.
  • Breed rescue - Try contacting a breed rescue group if your dog is a purebred. A great website for dog rescues is www.widogrescue.com
  • Pet friendly apartments - Finding “pet friendly” apartments can take some time, but today there are many options for people with pets. Try visiting one of many websites tailored to the needs of pet owners, such as www.peoplewithpets.com which saves you time and provide various options in price ranges and amenities specified.
  • Senior animals do not adapt well to a shelter environment and often will deteriorate rapidly due to the stress of the environment.  Consult your veterinarian before contacting the HSPC to make sure that your pet’s health is in the best interest.

Q: Do I need to have an appointment to surrender my pet?

A: Yes, we do want animals to be surrendered by appointment only. 

Q: What information do I need to surrender a pet?

A: The shelter needs to have all of your pets’ veterinarian records faxed before the animals’ arrival or brought with when the pet is dropped off at the shelter. The shelter fax number is 715-344-5954.

Q: Is there paperwork I need to fill out?

A: The owner of the animal will be required to fill out a Surrender Statement. This form relinquishes the pet to the custody of HSPC. Owners will also be asked to fill out a Surrender Profile. This profile has questions about what kind of environment your pet is used to. This information helps the HSPC place your pet in its new home. The paperwork takes approximately 15-20 minutes to fill out so please allow enough time to complete the forms.

Q: Is there a surrender fee? 

A: The shelter asks for a surrender fee to help offset the cost of caring for your animal while it is at the shelter waiting for a new family. The HSPC is a non-profit organization that relies on donations. Please help us care for your pet until we are able to find it a home.

Q: What do I do if I can’t afford the surrender fee?

A: If you are unable to pay the surrender fee, arrangements can be made with a manager. 

Q: Can I bring my pets belongings and open food?

A: Yes you can.  We will keep the animals bedding and or toys with them and use the food donated. We also accept monetary donations to help care for your pet during their stay at the shelter.

Q: How long does the shelter keep animals?

A: Our shelter is an adoption guarantee facility. As an adoption guarantee facility we will hold on to healthy and safe animals until a home is found.

Q: Can I visit my pet after I surrender it?

A: Once the animal is surrendered to the shelter you cannot come and visit the animal.  Being left at the shelter is a very hard adjustment for an animal to make. They will wait for days hoping that their family will return. Coming to see the animal only makes it harder for the animal. 

Q: Can I keep my pet in my home until it gets adopted?

A: Animals that need to be re-homed must be relinquished to the shelter. Families cannot hold onto animals as it makes the adoption process harder if the animal is not at the shelter for the public to see. 

Q: Can I call to check on my pet?

A: You are welcome to call and check on a pet, but please keep in mind that once a pet is surrendered we will not give you any information on the pet that would be considered confidential.  Please trust that the staff at the shelter is doing the very best job to take care of your pet. 

Q: What if I change my mind and want my pet back?

A: Occasionally, pet owners are put into a position where they have to surrender a pet to the shelter. Sometimes they find a way after they’ve surrendered that would allow them to have their pet.  We will use our discretion as to whether we will give an animal back to an owner.  Never surrender your pet when you are upset. If you are having difficulty with your pet’s behavior you can always call the shelter, consult your veterinarian or a professional before surrendering. Keep in mind that signing the surrender paperwork means you are signing your rights to that pet(s) to the HSPC. After the surrender form is signed the pet is HSPC property.   

Q: How long before my pet will be available for adoption?

A: Each pet is given a 3-4 days to adjust to the shelter environment. Sometimes a pet needs more time to adjust to the shelter before it’s made available. After they have settled in, each animal must have a health assessment and a behavioral assessment. Moving an animal to the adoptable area also depends on how much room is available. 

Q: Will surrendering have an effect on my chances of adopting an animal in the future?

A: There is not a black and white answer for surrendering animals as each situation is different.  The HSPC understands that situations arise and prevent families from keeping pets sometimes.  We do not discourage people from adopting in the future, but please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee that an application will be approved.  

Q: Will my pet find a good home?

A: Rest assured that our staff takes very good care of all of the animals that come into the shelter.  They are all treated like they are family.  The adoption team screens applicants to make sure they will be the best fit for your pet.  When you surrender a pet, the filling out the surrender profile helps us to match your pet with the perfect home.  We love these animals like they are our own and we’ll do our very best to take care of them. 

 

Q: What can I do after I surrender my pet?
A: Surrendering a pet to the shelter is a very hard decision that no one wants to be faced with.  In these situations, there is seldom any 'closure.' The owner does not know where the pet will go after it is left at the shelter.  There may be additional guilt associated with this type of loss.  It has been shown that when grief can be expressed, the time needed for healing is often less. Similarly, if the expression of grief is restricted or withheld, the healing process may take much longer.

In addition to talking with others, to do something often helps work through our grief.  By doing something positive during this time of sadness, we expand our focus by celebrating the life of the pet.  Activities which may help include:

  • Planting flowers or a tree in memory of the pet
  • Making a charitable donation
  • Drawing a picture, making a clay sculpture or doing needlework of something that reminds you of your pet (you could do this yourself, or have it done by a professional)
  • Placing your pet's nametag on your key ring
  • Writing a poem, song, or story
  • Composing music or a song
  • Creating a memorial photo album or scrap book
  • Writing a letter to your pet
  • Framing a photograph