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It is very hard for pets who are surrendered by their owners to adjust to a shelter environment. The comfort of home is all they’ve ever known, so they often become depressed and can even become aggressive. For the well being of your pet, surrendering him or her should be an absolute last resort.


We ask that you put forth every possible effort to find a home for your pet. Contacting rescue groups, friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members may be options if you can no longer keep or care for your pet.


Even though FCAC does not euthanize animals for time or space, and we treat any medical condition that can be managed giving the animal a good quality of life, it does not mean your pet couldn’t end up being euthanized or losing his or her will to live.  Pets who are surrendered are more susceptible to illness and depression.  They grieve the loss of their families and often stop eating or contract an upper respiratory infection.   Senior pets are in the most danger of falling ill or giving up.   And while we will most certainly treat them for any illness they contract, whether or not they overcome it is often up to the state of their emotional well-being.


Below are some possible resources, alternatives and points to consider before you surrendering your pet:


1.Behavior concerns.  For behavior questions/concerns, please contact us for suggestions.  Please allow 48 business hours for a response due to the volume of calls and emails we receive.


  • Dogs who are suddenly reactive or even aggressive to other dogs or cats in the home or in public

  • Separation anxiety

  • Basic obedience challenges (house and crate training, jumping up on people, marking, leash manners—too hard to walk)

  • Excessive barking

  • Fearful of new people/strangers

  • Dominance over children, adults or other pets in the home

  • Jealousy

  • Cats or dogs who constantly try to “bolt”

  • Cats urinating outside the litter box/marking

  • Cats who are suddenly reactive or aggressive with other cats or dogs in the home.


2.Health and General Care.  We realize vet care and even basic care can be very expensive if you have fallen on hard times.  If your pet is in need of medical care that you cannot afford, please call us at (574)223-7387 to see if we can direct you to a lower cost or alternative solution to surrendering your pet.  We usually have general pet supplies we can provide those in need.  When available, FCAC can also provide FREE pet food to those in need. 


3.Allergies.  While it is not uncommon for an individual to be allergic to cats and dogs, they are not always the culprit when it comes to irritated eyes, sinuses and itchy skin.   Every spring and summer when the pollen count begins to rise, we see an influx of animals surrendered due to allergies.  We find many family doctors and pet owners automatically jump to the conclusion that pets are to blame for allergies without doing the proper testing or considering seasonal allergies.  A simple blood test can determine if you are allergic to pet dander.  We encourage you to take that step before assuming the pet you’ve lived with for all these years is now the cause of your sniffles.  There are numerous over the counter options to help control allergy symptoms as well.   Here are some additional pointers on how to help control pet related allergies:


4.New baby.   We are constantly amazed by the number of dogs and cats who are surrendered not only when the new baby arrives, but sometimes when they get the news!  For many couples, they assume a baby cannot safely co-exist with a pet.  Not so!  While there are certainly dogs, and cats for that matter, who would not be appropriate for young children, we urge you to speak with us regarding your pet’s temperament so we can help you determine if they would be suitable and how to do a proper introduction.  Check out these very interesting articles regarding pets and babies!


5.We’re moving.   According to the 2011 Census, Americans move 11. 7 times in their lives.  The average life span of a dog or cat depending is around 10 years.  This means your pet is depending on you to take him or her with you every single time life takes you in a new direction.  In fact, their lives depend on it.  Surrendering your pet, especially an older one, is very hard on them both physically and emotionally.  And if you take them to a kill shelter, it is very possible they won’t survive.  There are countless options for rental properties that allow pets, and those who have no breed or size restrictions.  And while there may be some pet rent or a deposit to pay, isn’t that part of the lifelong commitment you made to your loyal companion? The price they may end up paying is far greater.  Please, before you sign a lease, make sure you have confirmed that your pet is welcome too.


6.I don’t have enough time.   “I’m traveling more with my job.”  “I’m so busy with the kids.”  “It’s just not fair to our dog to leave him at home for 10 hours a day.”  “He’ll be so much better off here at the shelter than alone at home.”  Trust me, if your dog could talk, he would say, “I DON’T MIND BEING AT HOME FOR 10 HOURS!  Please don’t leave me here!”   Think about it.  As long as your dog is getting companionship after your work day, they are loved and getting the care they need, why in the world would they be better off sitting in a 4X4 cage in a shelter where they are exposed to illness, they will get depressed, and may wait months for a home?  If you’re traveling or busy with the kids, what about a doggy daycare facility or an in-home pet sitter?  There are numerous, reasonably priced pet sitters we can refer you to who will come to your home and walk your dog and care for them if you are gone overnight.  


If you really want to keep your pet, there is a way. We are here to help you find the best possible solution.


Owner Release Fees & Information


FCAC only accepts pets surrendered (Owner Releases) from residents of Fulton County. If you would like to surrender your pet, we ask that you contact us at (574) 223-7387 to make arrangements. Be sure to come prepared with vaccination records to help expedite the processing of your pet.

The cost to surrender your pet is $20 for cats and $40 for dogs.

Please note that the FCAC reserves the right to NOT accept an owner surrendered pet for any reason.

NOTE: If an animal has been in your possession for 30 days or more, by law, that animal belongs to you and is considered an “Owner Release”.


Return to Owner Fees

The FCAC requires a reclaim fee of $20 if reclaimed within 24 hours of intake. Each additional day is $10.  Please note this fee may increase if we gave vaccinations or any other type of medical treatment.


Training & Behavior Support

We offer support and advice to help resolve pet behavior issues. If you have a finicky feline or a problemed pooch, help is available via email, over the phone, and in person.

ReHome by AdoptaPet

ReHome helps pets stay out of shelters. It is a unique, direct-to-adopter program for pet owners looking to re-home their animals. In just a few simple steps, pets can find a loving new home without ever seeing the inside of a shelter.  It’s free to use for both owners and adopters, and gives animals needing a new home the best of both worlds: their current owner can find the best fit, and their adopter can learn all about their personality and preferences first-hand. It’s a win-win for all!

There’s no place like home. Sometimes pets need a new one. We understand. Find your pet a new home, or find a new pet for your home, by visiting How To Rehome Your Dog or Cat (

Before Surrending Your Pet To The Shelter

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