Re-Home Your Pet

Giving Up a Pet 

Giving up a pet is a heart-wrenching decision, but sometimes there seems to be no other option for a pet owner. We understand that financial concerns, illness, and moving to a home that won’t accept pets can put owners in a heartbreaking situation.

SFAHS urges pet owners to consider other options before deciding to surrender their animals, such as rehoming on your own, or finding an animal professional to help you with unwanted behaviors or medical concerns.  Please note that if you adopted an animal from SFAHS, it is in your adoption contract to bring that animal back to SFAHS.  Please call our front office for any questions. 

Please consider what option would be best for the comfort of your animal. 

Is your pet petrified when you've boarded them before, unsocial, or have a high amount of behavioral issues? Not all animals will thrive in a shelter environment, even with our amazing volunteers giving them attention, staff working with training, and providing a safe place to sleep. The shelter can be loud and feel chaotic , causing very high levels of stress. Your pet may be better fitted for a rescue that is foster-based for their comfort, as homes are not as chaotic as the shelter for some dogs. 

Please note, SFAHS reserves the right to decline the intake of animals that pose a threat to public safety, behavior concerns, or severe or ongoing health concerns. We rehabilitate the animals we can, with great volunteers, partnerships, and programs but we will not place a dangerous animal back into the community, nor will we allow an animal to suffer unnecessarily from medical issues that cannot be treated. 
Re-Homing Your Pet On Your Own

If you decide to re-home your pet on your own, please read the following:
  • Check Your Contract: If you have adopted your pet from the SFAHS, you must return them to the SFAHS per the adoption contract you signed.

  • Your Community: Talk to friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and your veterinarian, as they may know someone who might be interested in taking over the responsibility for your pet.

  • Be Wary: Be wary of the "free-to-good-home" tagline. It may attract people that do not have the best interest or safety of your pet in mind. Keep in mind that by re-homing on your own, the person that takes over the responsibility for your pet is not screened at all and it is up to you to advocate for the future of your pet.

  • Check References: Make sure you do not give up your pet to any person you feel uncomfortable with or feel is untrustworthy. Check references or potential new homes.

  • Visit New Home: Visit a prospective new home to see the environment that will be provided. Are there other pets in the home that your animal will or will not get along with? Children? You are your pet's advocate when finding them a great new home.

  • Be Honest: Be honest about your pet's personality and any behavioral or medical problems he/she may have. 

  • Contact Info: Be sure to get your pet's new home's contact information, including name and phone number, and make sure they have yours too.

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Surrender Process - Appointments only
If despite your best efforts, it is still necessary to give up your pet, we are here to help. We want to ensure that we are able to help our community's neediest pets first and ensure space and resources for all the pets being brought to the shelter. To help every pet get the best care, we ask that you schedule an appointment with our front office counselors to determine the best options for you and your pet.

  • Please call 605-338-4441 to make an appointment.   We are unable to offer walk-in surrenders. To make sure we are prepared for your pet's arrival and have the proper space for your pet, appointments are required for surrendering your pet
    • If you have multiple animals to surrender, we ask for a maximum of 4 animals to be brought in at one time from a single-family, unless it consists of a litter of kittens/puppies under 6 months old.

  • Arrive at your appointment 5 minutes early. Please bring your photo ID. All cats should be in carriers, and dogs should be leashed or in carriers. 

  • If you're able to donate, we ask for a donation to help care for the pets, but this is also not required. We generally ask for a $30 free-will donation, and $10 for each additional animal.

  • Once you surrender your pet, we cannot give you any updates on the animal.  Please be certain that your decision to surrender your pet is your final decision.
    By surrendering an animal to SFAHS, you are relinquishing all rights of ownership. If you have any doubts about surrendering your pet(s) to us, please DO NOT do so. 
    There is a 90-day wait period before you are able to adopt from SFAHS again.


Surrendering FAQ
Do I need an appointment to surrender my pet to SFAHS?
Yes, . To help every pet get the best chance at a new home, we ask that you schedule an appointment with our front office. Contact us at 605-338-4441 to schedule.

What should I do if I am having a crisis and need to surrender my pet immediately.
If you are having an emergency or crisis, please call our front office and explain your situation. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to get you in immediately, but will do everything we can to help.
What should I bring with me to my appointment to surrender my pet?
If you have scheduled an appointment to surrender your pet, please bring the following items with you to your appointment.
  •   Photo ID.
  • Pet’s veterinary records
  • Medications
  •  Information about your pet: ( Likes, Dislikes, Favorite Treats, Training information, Fun Quirks, Personality info) The more information we have about your pet, the easier it will be to re-home him/her. 

Cats are especially stressed when placed in new situations, so if possible please bring a familiar bed or blanket. 

All dogs must be leashed, and all cats must be in carriers.

Is there any paperwork I need to fill out to surrender my pet?
We will ask you questions about your pet's history and personality, and you will be asked to sign a contract releasing your rights over the pet. After this is signed, the pet will officially be owned by the SFAHS until they are adopted out.

After this paperwork is signed, we cannot release any information or updates about your former pet.
How much does it cost to surrender my pet?
There is no fee to surrender your pet; however, we do request a donation of at least $30 per pet to help us with the high costs of care. Additional fees may apply.
Where at the shelter do I go for my appointment to surrender my pet?
When you arrive at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society, you will come in the front doors of the adoption center. Make sure all dogs are on leashes or in carriers. Make sure all cats are in carriers. Once inside the adoption center, check in at the front desk. 
What happens after I surrender my pet?
Animals surrendered to the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society are evaluated based on health, temperament, and personality. If the animal meets the criteria for adoption or we are able to treat health issues or address behavior concerns, the animal will be placed for adoption and there is no time limit. If an animal does not meet our criteria for adoption, we may seek other alternatives including but not limited to transfer to another shelter, behavior modification intervention, and veterinary services. If the animal is suffering mentally, emotionally, or physically, the animal may be humanely euthanized to humanely end their suffering; this is always our last resort. We will do everything in our power to place an animal safely or help them medically. We cannot release any information about your pet once you have signed the contract relinquishing your rights to the pet. You may rest assured that your pet will be treated with kindness, dignity, and compassion.
I haven't seen my pet on the website. What happened to them?
Our website is updated in real time, Monday - Friday, to the best of our ability. If you don't see your pet on the website, don't assume the worst. There are some pets that get adopted minutes after getting on the adoption floor, so they don't even get a photo or feature on the website. The pet also may have gone up on the weekend and been adopted immediately. 

If we were not able to place the pet up for adoption, we may have looked into other alternatives including but not limited to transfer to another shelter, behavior modification intervention, and veterinary services.

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