Need to give up your pet?
Important Update: Temporary Change to Dog Owner Surrender Services
All San Diego Humane Society campuses (including San Diego, El Cajon, Escondido and Oceanside locations), which are currently at capacity, are not scheduling appointments for owner relinquished animals until Feb. 1, except in cases of emergency.
We are currently experiencing incidents of canine distemper virus, a canine respiratory disease, in our shelters. In accordance with appropriate disease management practices, we have quarantined all animals who have either tested positive or been exposed to the virus, and we are temporarily limiting our dog intake to stray animals.
We understand this is a challenging situation and are here to help. We have a wide range of tools and resources available that can help you hold onto your pet a little longer or rehome them directly to an adopter. Please browse our available resources and contact us to let us know how we can help.
Thank you for your understanding.
Facing the decision to give up your pet can be devastating and we know it's not easy. We understand that there are sometimes circumstances that may prevent you from being able to keep your pet, and San Diego Humane Society is here to help.
- Consider using the free websites Rehome by Adopt-a-Pet (cats and dogs only) or Home To Home (all species) to find a new home for your pet yourself, rather than taking them to a shelter.
- If you’re interested in keeping your pet, you’ll find our alternatives and resources below that can help you address medical, behavioral and other concerns.
- If you need to bring your pet to San Diego Humane Society, please call 619-299-7012 to make a pre-admission phone appointment so we can provide you with instructions on how to give up your pet safely.
- Due to the unique housing and husbandry needs of livestock, San Diego Humane Society is only able to admit a limited number of livestock at any given time. For owners seeking to surrender livestock, we recommend first exploring rehoming resources and rescue partners. If these options do not meet your needs, please contact us for further support.
Have questions about giving up a pet? Email [email protected] for assistance.
Give up your pet without taking them to a shelter
- Review our Tips for Rehoming Your Pet.
- Don't rush! Take time to find your furry friend the best new home.
- Increase your pet's adoptability by having them spayed/neutered, groomed and vaccinated.
- Tell your friends, family, coworkers and social networks that your pet is looking for a new home. The more people who know you need help, the better your chances of finding your pet a new family.
- No one knows your pet better than you do! While interviewing potential adopters, be sure to 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.
- Create a listing for your pet on the following websites, which specialize in connecting pets who need a good home with families looking to adopt!
- For dogs, complete a Transfer of Ownership form with their new adopter. Once completed, please send a copy of this form to [email protected] so we can update the dog’s records.
- For all other animals, complete a Transfer of Ownership form with their new adopter.
- It is the responsibility of current owners to disclose any bite history to potential adopters. Rehoming platforms connect people looking to rehome their pets with interested adopters. The pets featured are not animals at San Diego Humane Society and require direct communication with their caregivers through the platform itself. It is the responsibility of the individuals who express interest in a particular pet listed on these pages to obtain and verify information about the pet’s medical, behavior and bite history. All information contained in the pets’ description page has been provided by their caregiver. San Diego Humane Society does not verify the accuracy of the information provided.
- Please, never abandon your pet! San Diego Humane Society is here if you need to bring your pet to a shelter.
Alternatives & Resources
Many pet-related problems are solvable — and we’re here to help you find solutions that allow you to keep your pet! Whether it's a behavior problem, a housing issue or another kind of crisis, we're here to offer guidance. See below for helpful links or call 619-299-7012 so we can find a solution together.
- Review our Resources to Help You Keep Your Pet.
- Behavior issues - pet training resources
- Medical care (Also visit FACE Foundation)
- Community Support Services - help with supplies
- Housing issues - find pet-friendly housing
- Military Support - resources for service personnel
- Rescue Partners - connect with a local San Diego rescue organization
Relinquishing a Pet at San Diego Humane Society
To relinquish your pet, please call our resource center at 619-299-7012. During your admissions consultation, a member of our team will discuss a variety of options with you that are most suitable for you and your pet. This may include alternatives to relinquishment including:
- Utilization of our Rehome and Home To Home™ platforms to rehome your pet without them entering the shelter.
- Exploring relinquishment with a San Diego Humane Society Rescue Partner, such as breed specific rescue organizations.
- The possibility of humane euthanasia if your pet is found to have severe medical or behavioral issues that impact their quality of life or ability to be safely placed in a new home.
There is a $25 relinquishment fee to help cover the cost of care ($40 if you live outside our jurisdictions).
When you relinquish your pet, you are giving up all legal ownership rights to the animal. Legal ownership and responsibility are transferred to San Diego Humane Society. We take your animal's well-being very seriously and have a team of compassionate and dedicated animal care professionals who will provide loving care.
Relinquishing a Litter at San Diego Humane Society
If your pet has had a litter of babies, you can bring the offspring to San Diego Humane Society. We will take in the litter ($25 relinquishment fee or $40 if you live outside our jurisdictions) and spay and neuter the parent animal(s) free of charge, to help curb pet overpopulation and ensure every adoptable animal finds a loving home.
To bring in your litter and schedule your spay and/or neuter surgery, please call our resource center at 619-299-7012.
More info on San Diego Humane Society's spay/neuter services can be found here.