San Diego Humane Society and SPCA

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Programs & Services

Relinquishing a Pet

Intake photoFor many people, surrendering a pet can be emotionally upsetting. Often a pet is surrendered because an owner simply has no choice, or is unaware of resources that can help keep them together with their pet. The San Diego Humane Society staff recognize that this is a very difficult time for you and your family. Please know we are here to assist you and to care for your pet if you must surrender.  Together, we may be
able to find other alternatives than surrendering your beloved pet.

Alternatives to Surrendering Your Pet to a Shelter
The San Diego Humane Society may be able to help you keep your pet at home or there may be alternative re-homing options available to you. Please consider the following alternatives before surrendering your pet.

What challenges are you facing with your pet?  Please click the links below to learn about resources that may assist you with keeping your pet.

Many pet-related problems are solvable! Talk to our staff about your situation. Whether it’s a pet behavior problem, a housing issue, or other kind of crisis, the more information we have, the better we’ll be able to advise you and come up with solutions that might help you and your animal stay together. Call us at 619.299.7012 to discuss your situation.  

If you would like to re-home your pet without bringing him or her to a shelter, here are a few tips to help:

  • Click here to download the re-homing tool kit with ideas to find a new home for your pet.  
  • Give yourself time to re-home your pet. It can often take weeks to months to find it the best home.
  • Increase your pet’s adoptability by having him/her spayed/neutered, groomed, and up to date on vaccinations.
  • Tell your friends, family and coworkers. The more people that know, the better chance you will have at finding a new home.
  • Advertise in the local newspaper or online, but use caution when considering unknown individuals or families as your pet’s new owners. Share your expectations for your pet’s new home and be sure to ask questions to identify a home that will be a good fit for your pet. No one knows your pet better than you do!
  • Never abandon your pet! The San Diego Humane Society will work with you to find options for your pet. 

Surrending Your Pet to a Shelter
The San Diego Humane Society, San Diego Campus and the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (DAS) are co-located on the San Diego Campus for Animal Care and work together to find the best home for animals through their Joint Intake Policy.

Stray animals found in San Diego are required by law to go to DAS, animals found in Oceanside or Vista should be taken to the San Diego Humane Society, Oceanside Campus so that their owners may claim them.

If you have additional questions, or need to schedule an appointment to surrender your pet, please call to schedule an appointment. Please allow at least 45 minutes for the relinquishment appointment. If you are late to your appointment, you will be accommodated as time allows, however it may be necessary to reschedule. 

San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, San Diego Campus
Information and Appointments: 619.299.7012, ext 2241

Admissions Desk Hours: Monday - Sunday 9:30am - 6pm

Appointments are available: Monday - Sunday 10am - 5pm

San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, Oceanside Campus
Information and Appointments: 760.757.4357, ext 2858 (dogs) or ext 2000 (cats and small animals)


What will happen to my pet when I surrender it?

Your surrendered pet will be compassionately cared for during his/her stay at the San Diego Humane Society during which time the animal will be evaluated medically and behaviorally to identify the animal's adoptability and concerns that could restrict, or prevent the animal from finding a new home.


What else do I need to know?

When you surrender your pet, you are giving up all legal ownership rights to the animal and legal ownership and responsibility are transferred to the San Diego Humane Society.  We take your animal’s well-being very seriously and we have a team of compassionate and dedicated animal care specialists who will provide loving care. 



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