Loading... Please wait...

Surrendering your pet

At the NHSPCA, we understand that pet owners sometimes find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to find a new home for their pet.  If you are considering rehoming or surrendering your pet, we are here to help. Please contact us at (603) 772-2921 x 110.


If your animal was adopted from the NHSPCA, and you are no longer willing or able to care for the animal in the manner agreed to in our adoption contract, please contact us at (603) 772-2921 x 110 to return animal to the NHSPCA.
Many people consider their pets to be a part of their family.  There are many options available when rehoming a pet. Please consider all of your options before you surrender your pet.  Challenging behaviors is the number one reason that can dissolve the pet/owner bond.  Contact our behavior department for assistance with your pet if you are experiencing troubling behaviors such as house soiling, destructiveness, separation anxiety, nuisance barking, training challenges, or any other type of behavior you are dealing with that has brought you to the point of rehoming the pet.   You can reach our Behavior Department us at (603) 772-2921 x 112 or by emailing us.


Another common reason for relinquishment is allergies.  This is a common problem that is often easily managed by simple, consistent modifications of your living environment.  The most successful plan is a combination of: vacuuming on a regular basis, wash your pet’s bedding, wipe counters, bathe your pet frequently, keep them out of the bedroom, and consider the addition of a hepa-filter.  With these basic changes many people who were at the point of re-homing their pet were able to find relief and keep their beloved pet too!


Moving?  Finding pet friendly housing is a bit of a challenge but it can be done.  Give yourself plenty of time to find the right place for both you and your pet.  These websites will let you search for pet-friendly apartments by zip code.

If you feel you have tried all options and still cannot keep your pet, try to find your pet a new home on your own.  Talk with family, friends, co-workers, and your veterinarian to spread the word that you are looking for a new home for your pet. 


Bringing your pet’s vaccinations current will be the quickest way to attract a potential new owner.  People are more likely to choose a pet with current vaccination and health status since they won’t have to do that themselves. If your pet is a purebred animal, a breed rescue group may be the best choice.  These are a group of people with interest and knowledge in certain breeds.  They often work through foster homes to take in needy pets, and often have a list of people looking for certain breeds or mixes of a certain breed.  Examples are Lab rescue, Great Dane rescue, Golden retriever rescue, and Siamese cat rescue, etc. 


If you decide to place an ad on the internet, Petfinder’s classifieds provide plenty of great tips for helping to place your pet safely.  Make sure you screen any potential responders carefully buy checking their phone number, address and call their veterinarian for a reference.  It is best to not offer your pet “free to good home”, requesting a small fee can deter those who don’t have your pet’s best interest in mind and is the first screening tool.  Someone looking to add a new pet to their household will not mind paying a reasonable fee for it.  Doing your homework up front will help ensure your pet will not be abused once it leaves your care.


Making an appointment

If you have exhausted all of your options or don’t feel comfortable trying to place your pet yourself and need to surrender your pet to the Adoption Center, we first need you to call and make an appointment.  At any given time we can have over 200 pets in our care and making an appointment allows us to prepare for your pet’s arrival which will ensure they have the best experience and shortest stay possible.  Please call us at (603) 772-2921 x 110 to speak to an adoption counselor about surrendering your pet. 


Preparing your pet for surrender

To prepare your pet for surrender, it is best to bring all of their vaccinations current.  This will help ensure they remain healthy during their stay here and allow us to place them for adoption in the shortest possible time so that they can move on to their new home as quickly as possible.


Bring their veterinary records with you.  This way they will have a history of vet care that can stay with them and potential new adopters feel more comfortable adopting a pet with a history of health care.

Frequently asked questions about surrendering your pet


Does it cost money to surrender my pet?

While we do not charge a “fee” to you to surrender your pet, each animal that comes to us costs us an average of $250-$300 to care for and prepare for placement.  Caring for your pet and promoting that pet for adoption is a valuable service so we do ask for a donation of whatever amount you feel you can afford to help us continue to do this work.  We are a private, not for profit organization.  The NHSPCA is not a national or government program, we receive no assistance from the state of NH or any national humane organization; we rely solely on support from fellow animal lovers and our community.


Can’t I just leave my pet there, why do I have to make an appointment?  On any given day, it is not unusual for us to have over 200 animals in our care.  Every available kennel, cage, stall, and foster home is either in use or spoken for.  In order us to best provide for your pet, we need to be able to prepare for his/her arrival so we can at the very least, have an open spot for them.  Often it is a short wait of no more than 2 weeks, which is why it is a good idea to call ahead and not wait for the last minute. 


Can you guarantee that the pet will be placed in a new home?

While we cannot guarantee that every pet will be placed in a home, it is certainly our goal to find every pet that comes to us the best possible placement.  Everyone who surrenders a pet is able to check on that pet’s progress, if the pet is not doing well in this environment, sometimes the best option is for the owner to reclaim the pet.  Sometimes a pet is too sick, or does not respond to treatment, in these cases, despite our best efforts, euthanasia is often the kindest choice.  In other cases a pet may demonstrate such a significant behavior challenge that they are best placed with a breed specific group to work more intensively with them.  Our placement rate is currently at 95%.


How long will the NHSPCA keep my pet? 

There is no set time that any particular pet may be with us and no limit to their stay.  While it is difficult to predict how long a pet may have to wait to find a new home, you can significantly decrease their length of stay if you bring them current on their vaccinations and make sure they are spayed or neutered.  Those pets with current shots are much less likely to become ill while waiting for a home which will help ensure they are adopted quickly.  Those who have to wait for vaccination and /or surgery can be here weeks longer than those who came in up to date and have already come and gone.


Will the NHSPCA call me if my pet is not placed?  Most people do not want us to call them when they have surrendered a pet regardless of the outcome.  If you are interested or curious to find out about your pet’s outcome, you may certainly call us to check on a pet you have surrendered.


What will happen if my pet is not placed?  The outcome for a pet surrendered to the NHSPCA other than Adoption could be transfer, reclaim, death due to illness, or euthanasia.  Adoption makes up 95% of the possible outcomes.  If you want to be called prior to a negative outcome, you can make this known at the time of surrender.


Can I reclaim my pet if it is not placed?

Once the pet is surrendered, it is owned by the NHSPCA.  We want what is best for the pet.  Most often this means a new home.  If a pet is facing a negative outcome we will often call the previous owner to ask them to reclaim the pet to avoid a worst case scenario for them.  Sometimes, the owner’s situation that caused them to give up the pet changes and they are able to reclaim their pet.  The NHSPCA reserves the right to make such decisions on a case by case basis and will not return any pet to an environment that is not suitable for that pet.

What if I have found a stray pet?

Please make sure the animal you have found is truly a lost pet.  Make every effort to find the animal’s owner before you surrender it to a shelter. 


A stray dog or cat may have ID tags with an owner’s name and number to call.  Contact your local police station to report the found pet; its owner may have already called them to report it missing.  Most towns employ an Animal Control officer or ACO, find out if yours does and call them.  Often these are part-time employees so be sure to leave a message with a detailed description of the pet and location it was found.   Call us for assistance at (603) 772-2921 x110.

Join our E-News List