Surrender your pet

Make sure you have explored all of your options for keeping your pet before you make this difficult choice.

The decision to give up a companion animal is a difficult one. The Humane Society of St. Lucie County, is here to help you explore all possible options so that you can keep your animal, but we recognize that sometimes, giving up your companion is the best option—for you and for your pet.
Before you decide to give up an animal, ask yourself:

  • Training?
    If the challenge you are experiencing is related to your pet's behavior, is it something that possibly could be corrected with training or by speaking with a trainer? Contact the HSSLC for training class information.
  • Medical care?
    If the problem is health-related, is it something that your veterinarian may be able to help you with?
  • Allergies?
    If you are suffering from animal allergies, are there steps that you can take to help control your allergies?
  • No time?
    If you are concerned that you simply don't have enough time to spend with your companion animal, could you hire a pet sitter (or dog walker if it's a dog) to help out?
  • Be honest ...
    If your pet has a chronic health problem or one or more serious behavior issues, is it realistic to expect that another person will be more willing or able to deal with these problems?


Steps for finding a suitable new home for your companion:

If you have a challenge with your companion animal that you want help with, please call the HSSLC.  Our staff can guide you through the resources that are available to help you keep your pet.

If you have adopted your pet from the Humane Society of St. Lucie County and can no longer keep your pet, please return your pet to the shelter as required in your adoption agreement. Because we already have the pet's medical records and temperament history, we try to place your pet back up for adoption as quickly as possible.

If you obtained your pet from another place or person other than The Humane Society of St. Lucie County, you are able to try to place your pet into a new home on your own, and the HSSLC recommends you take the following steps:

  • Be honest about your pet, and why you must rehome her. It is not fair to your pet to send her to a new home with false expectations of her behavior or medical requirements
  • Advertise through friends, neighbors, and local veterinarians first.
  • If your pet is a purebred dog, you can contact your dog's breeder, or speak with the American Kennel Club to learn if there are any breed rescue groups in your area. If you are not successful, then try the newspaper. There are also internet forums, such as Pet and, and Craig's List which allow users to post descriptions and pictures of pets looking for new homes.
  • Ask for a fee. This deters people who may have made a spontaneous decision and may not be ready for the responsibility of a pet.
  • Ask questions. Get a feel for the new home, and what the potential new owner is looking for in a new pet. You must make sure that your pet's needs will be met. Here are some sample questions:
  • What are the new family's expectations of your pet?
  • Has the family had pets before? What happened to them?
  • Are their current pets vaccinated and neutered?
  • How often will the dog be walked?
  • Are the parents willing to supervise the children to make sure a small animal, such as a hamster, receives appropriate care?
  • Does anyone in the household have allergies?
  • Is anyone in the home afraid of animals?
  • Are the new owners thinking of moving soon? If so, will they arrange for the pet to join them in the new home?
  • Where will the pet stay while the new owners are vacationing?
  • Will the pet be kept inside, outside, or both?
  • Ask to visit the prospective home. As the caregiver of an animal, it is up to you to ensure your pet goes to a responsible, caring home that is able to meet his needs.
  • Ask for valid identification. Keep a record, along with a contract signed by both of you, outlining the requirements you both agree upon.
  • Spay or neuter your pet before sending him/her to the new home. This makes your pet more adoptable and increases him/her chances of staying in the new home. Click here for low cost spay and neuter programs at the HSSLC
  • Do not be afraid to say no. You have a responsibility to your pet to find him/her a good home.

Please remember that we are here to help you. If you have any questions concerning your pet or about finding your pet a new home, please contact us. We will do our best to find your former companion the happy, healthy home he/she deserves.