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Pet Care

Can't Keep My Pet Anymore

I can no longer keep my pet. what can I do?

The ASPCA considers pets to be members of the family.With many millions of companion animals surrendered to animal shelters each year, and countless stray animals roaming our streets, giving up a companion animal is not a decision to be taken lightly. If circumstances arise that prohibit you from caring for your pet, there may be options for you to consider before relinquishing your pet.

Many companion animals are given up by their owners because of behavior problems—and in most cases, there are things you can do to change your animal's unwanted behavior.Before you give up on your pet, please consult a reputable trainer or animal behaviorist for assistance. Your local humane organization can help with a referral. You can also see our online behavior information for helpful tips. 

If you have made up your mind to re-home your companion animal, your best bet is find your pet a home through your own personal contacts (i.e., your veterinarian, dog walker, pet sitter, friends, family, co-workers, etc.). You may also wish to list your pet on Petfinder.com.

Do not give up if you do not find a home for your animal right away!Finding an ideal home for a companion animal may take considerable time and effort, but your pet's future is in your hands.Be sure to screen potential adopters carefully; ask them for references; inquire about employment, financial stability, and previous pet ownership.Ask to visit their homes before you place your animal to ensurethat the environmentis suitable, and be sure to follow up with calls and visits.

If you can no longer keep a purebred dog, you may wish to visit the American Kennel Club's website, which provides a list of breed-specific rescue groups that place purebred dogs in homes. Putting your pet in a shelter should be your last resort. Most animal shelters operate at full capacity, and there is often a waiting list to get an animal into a non-animal control ("no-kill") shelter. Even if your pet does qualify for entrance into a "no-kill" shelter and there is space available, there are no guarantees that your pet will be adopted quickly, or at all. Remember, thenumber of animals in need of homes faroutweighs the number ofpeople looking to adopt. Most shelters reserve the right to end the life of any animal evaluated to be unfit for adoption, or if time or space has run out. Rules and regulations vary in every shelter, and so do the conditions. Make sure that any shelter you bring your animal to has a reputation for humane conditions and successful adoptions.To find a shelter near you, please visit our Shelter Directory.