Giving Up Your Pet | PAWS Chicago

Giving Up Your Pet

Important factors to consider when deciding to part with your pet

A Matter of Life & Death

There are many considerations responsible pet owners must take into account when deciding whether to give up their pet.  Read this carefully to ensure your pet has the best chance at a good future.  Making the wrong decision could mean your pet's life is taken prematurely.

Best Option for Your Pet

The best possible option is for your pet to stay with you.  There are many resources available that could help you address medical or behavioral challenges.  If you are facing financial hardship, programs exist to help you while you get back on your feet.

Second Best Option for Your Pet

The second best alternative is to find your pet a home with a friend or family member who knows your pet well.  You can continue to see your pet so that he doesn't feel abandoned, and you have confident that he is being cared for.  Be very careful when handing your pet over to a stranger you have met online or through acquaintances.  Make sure that you check references to ensure the person is responsible and ask that they reach back out to you in the event that they can no longer care for your pet.  In fact, it is best to document those stipulations in a contract to show your seriousness.  

Giving Your Pet to a Shelter is a Last Resort

The last option is for you to turn your pet into a shelter.  If you want to ensure your pet's life, you must do your due diligence!  Many shelters pretend to be No Kill, but in reality they save far fewer than the bare minimum threshold of 90% to qualify as a No Kill shelter.  Ask for data on all animals that came into the shelter in the prior year and ask whether the shelter would be willing to contact you if, for any reason, your animal was at risk of euthanasia.  

Sadly, shelters are not always transparent to the public about a pet's likelihood of survival. Many call themselves "Open Door", but they take in more animals than they can save and kill the excess. They often euthanize greater percentages of the animals they take in than the city pound in the area, which frequently have robust transfer relationships with No Kill shelters and rescue groups.  

If you must give your pet to a shelter, consult our Guide to Determining if a Shelter is No Kill.

Surrendering Your Pet to PAWS Chicago

Partnering with PAWS Chicago guarantees your pet’s life. Founded with the No Kill mission at heart, we are committed to each and every pet in our care.  And we are committed to our pets for their entire lives.  If anything should happen where their adopters can no longer care for them, we ask that they be returned to us.

Because we are committed to every pet in our care, we manage our admissions to ensure that we can provide the quality care that each pet requires.  Depending on the season, we may have a wait list based on your pet's species and age.  Similar to a hospital, we triage our admissions to ensure that real emergencies are considered first.  Many times of year, we have no wait list; during breeding seasons, it can take several weeks to several months.

To have your pet considered for the PAWS Chicago adoption program, please complete the admissions application. Once submitted, we will contact you about next steps, which will include a meeting with our Admissions team and your pet, looking at medical records and evaluating behavior.

We ask that families giving up their pets provide a modest Surrender Fee to help cover the cost of caring for, treating and finding a quality home for your pet.  Each pet we save costs an average of $500 over our adoption fee, so Surrender Fees only cover a small part of the cost of taking in your pet.  We would greatly appreciate additional financial consideration you could provide.

PAWS Chicago Surrender Fees*

Discounted Fee: $100 per animal or $150 for multiple animals
Applies to animals who are:

  • Spayed/neutered
  • Current with their rabies vaccination
  • Current with their distemper vaccination
  • Current with a Felv/FIV negative test (if feline)

Standard Fee: $150 per animal or $250 for multiple animals
Applies to animals who are not current on vaccinations and/or spayed/neutered.

*The surrender fee may be waived for individuals on public assistance

PAWS Chicago provides a lifetime guarantee for every cat and dog in our program. Euthanasia is only reserved for pets who are irremediably suffering, where medical treatment cannot alleviate the condition, of for dangerous dogs who posse a threat to the public, as determined by behavior experts.  Our save rate is an industry leading 97+ percent, despite taking in a very high risk population of pets from the city pound. Because of the quality care administered to all of our homeless pets, surrender fees helps cover the significant cost of medically caring for, sheltering and adopting out your pet.

Did you adopt your pet from PAWS Chicago?  If so, please contact us at 773-935-7297 or adoptions@pawschicago.org for information on surrendering your pet.