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Surrendering Your Pet

How Can We Help You Keep Your Pet?

We understand that sometimes the difficult decision must be made to surrender your pet. Behavioral issues, costly health problems, unwanted litters, relocation, and a change in lifestyle that results in insufficient time for the animal are all reasons that owners relinquish companion animals. While thinking about your circumstances, we ask you to consider how we can help you to keep your pet.

Keeping People And Pets Together

Do you think that you have no choice but to surrender your pet to a shelter? Maybe you do! HSWC may be able to offer you a variety of resources and/or alternatives to surrender, such as GoodPup private video chat training or private rehoming. Call our team at 301-733-2060 and find out how we can support you.

If you must surrender, have you considered contacting a rescue group? Rescue groups work with a network of knowledgeable foster parents who will keep animals in their homes until they can be placed with new families. Be certain to research the rescue group and always screen a breed rescue organization before relinquishing a pet. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Reputable rescues will be happy to discuss their policies and procedures with you.

Surrendering An Animal

Please be certain that you wish for the HSWC to take on the responsibility of your pet and this is your final decision.

We are unable to answer inquiries after you leave a pet with us, so please do not contact us for this reason. If you have any concerns about surrendering your pet(s) to us, please do not do so. By leaving your pet(s) in our care, you are entrusting the HSWC representatives to make any and all decisions pertaining to the animal(s).


To ensure proper care for the thousands of animals we assist, the HSWC cannot accept animals without appointments. To make an appointment please call 301-733-2060. Your call will be returned in the order it was received.

Please note that during the warm, busy months, it may be necessary for you to go onto a Wait List, depending on what our available capacity is in the shelter. To go onto the Wait List, you must first provide a completed Owner Surrender Profile (below) and any veterinary records you have. Once these items have been received, you will be added to the Wait List. We contact owners on our Wait List based upon how quickly we believe we can get the animal into a home (spayed and neutered animals can at times take priority) and based upon available space at the shelter.

Anyone surrendering an animal to us, whether owned or stray, is asked to fill out the appropriate Surrender Form:


Our average cost per animal admitted often exceeds $600 per animal. The care we provide includes sterilization, veterinary treatments, vaccinations, medications, food and much more. Your surrender fee covers a fraction of these costs and monetary donations are welcome.

We only accept animals from Washington County.

Altered dog or cat: $20

Unaltered male dog or cat: $40

Unaltered female dog or cat: $60
Guinea pigs: $10
Unaltered rabbits: $40
Litters (puppies or kittens): $15 per animal
Small animals and birds: $20 per animal
Exotics: $50

When You Arrive

Expect to spend approximately 30 minutes at the HSWC. Additional time may be needed in the event that our medical or behavioral teams have questions. Please remember to bring the following items to your appointment so we may better serve you:
-Photo identification
-Medical records
-Your pet on a leash or in a carrier
-Completed animal profile

Placing An Animal Up For Adoption

The HSWC makes every effort to place healthy, friendly animals into new homes. We cannot, however, guarantee the rehoming of your pet. The placement of an individual animal for adoption is based on the evaluation of both his/her health and temperament. Though there is no time limit once an animal goes up for adoption, we may be forced to remove an animal from the adoption floor if it fails to thrive in the shelter environment.

Animals are not considered for adoption if:
-The animal has a history of biting humans
-The animal shows aggressive or unsocial behavior during our evaluation process
-Physical examination determines the animal is physically unsuitable for adoption

What If I Change My Mind And Want My Pet Back?

Please be certain of your wish for the HSWC to take on the responsibility of your pet. You will sign a contract relinquishing ownership and all rights to that animal.

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