Alternatives to Surrendering

Consulting Services

If you would like to keep your pet but need help solving a problem, we may be able to provide resources to help you keep your pet in your home. Please complete this short questionnaire to provide us with additional information about your situation. At the end of the questionnaire, you will be prompted to schedule a telephone appointment with one of our Surrender Consultants, which could take place as soon as 18 hours after you complete the questionnaire.

Pet Care & Behavior Resources

Owner Support Questionnaire

Rehoming Resources

DCHS hosts a rehoming page on our website where you can post your pet for adoption. We strongly encourage all owners to post their healthy, friendly pets on this site as a first step. Nobody knows your pet better than you! You can provide the best description of their personality and pictures of them in a home setting. Additionally, you would be most knowledgeable when talking to a potential new owner about whether the animal would be a good fit for them. Rehoming your pet this way allows them to stay at home in comfortable surroundings while you select the home that you think will be the best for them. This also leaves one more opening at DCHS for those animals without someone to advocate for them.

Learn More About Rehoming a Pet

Rehome Your Pet

Additional Resources

  • Ask local veterinarians if you can post signs in their clinic.
  • Ask local pet-related businesses if you can post signs in their store.
  • Talk to friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers to see if they are looking for a pet.
  • Use social media to share your pet’s story.

Admissions Process

If you decide that surrendering your pet to DCHS is the right option, please be aware that we follow a managed admission philosophy for all incoming animals. This means that we request all customers schedule an appointment before bringing an animal, including strays, to our facility. Utilizing a managed admission process ensures we have the resources to give each animal the best care and accommodations we can provide and allows us to properly isolate, treat and prevent illness from spreading to at-risk populations. Managing the admission of animals helps us plan and prepare, instead of react, and allows us to save more lives.

Customers surrendering a pet from outside Dane County must make an appointment and pay the corresponding out-of-county surcharge in addition to our standard surrender fee (see list below) plus tax. Please note, we also require payment of the corresponding out-of-county surcharge (see list below) plus tax, for stray animals being brought by out-of-county customers. The fees help DCHS ensure we are financially able to care for each pet that is surrendered to us and that we are addressing the needs of our community first before expanding services to out-of-county customers.

Appointment Process

  • Click on this link to complete our Owner Support Questionnaire. This questionnaire will gather basic information about you, your pet and your situation. Upon completion of the questionnaire, you will be prompted to schedule a time for a telephone appointment with one of our Surrender Consultants. This appointment can take place as soon as 18 hours after completion of the questionnaire.

  • Prior to this phone call, our Surrender Consultants will review your questionnaire and will be prepared to offer you whatever resources might be appropriate to your situation.

  • During your phone call, our Surrender Consultants will gather additional information and will answer your questions. Together, you and your consultant will determine the best course of action which could include giving you options to try on your own, placing you on our surrender waitlist or scheduling a surrender appointment.

  • DCHS takes in all surrendered animals by appointment to ensure that we have the space and resources to best provide for every animal entering the shelter. It is also our goal to schedule appointments for all incoming stray animals. Please note that we are generally scheduling one to two weeks out for surrender appointments, depending on the species.

  • Bring all veterinary records to your appointment. This will ensure that your animal will not receive unnecessary vaccinations or procedures and will expedite their medical assessment.
  • Complete a Pet Personality Profile Prior to Your Appointment. After your phone consult, you will receive an email with a link to complete a personality profile for your pet. Please provide as much detail as possible so that we can be prepared to meet your pet’s medical and behavioral needs upon arrival.
  • Allocate 30 minutes at DCHS for your appointment. This will provide time to complete paperwork and review your pet’s personality profile so we can ask any necessary follow up questions about your pet’s temperament in the home.
  • Bring the animal yourself. We will receive the most accurate information if you bring your pet in yourself.

    If you are unable to, we need written and signed consent from you naming another person to act as your agent and that you authorize this agent to bring the animal in on your behalf. Sample Agent Authorization Statement. All cats and critters should be in a carrier and all dogs should be wearing a collar and leash.

  • Bring payment. There is a considerable cost to care for and rehome pets that are in our care. DCHS asks for a surrender fee to off-set those costs and to provide the best care possible for your pet. Any donations beyond that cost are greatly appreciated. DCHS accepts cash or credit card (no checks, except for donation purposes).
  • If you have additional questions on the surrender process, you can email us at

Surrender Fees

As a local, nonprofit organization, DCHS relies on service fees and donations to continue providing services for the community’s people and animals. The following fees apply to surrenders with a scheduled appointment. Surrenders without an appointment are strongly discouraged and are subject to a fee of double the scheduled surrender fee amount listed below.

Dogs/Puppies $50

Cats/Kittens $25

Rabbits/Ferrets/Chinchillas/Hedgehogs/Degus/Sugar Gliders $25

Reptiles $25

Birds $20

Small Mammals (Guinea Pigs, Rats, Mice, Hamsters, Gerbils)/Amphibians/Fish/Invertebrates $5

Need to surrender livestock, including chickens, turkeys or waterfowl? We have limited space in our barn so you must make an appointment to surrender any livestock.

Learn more about our Equine & Livestock program.

Out of County Surcharge

Out of County Residents pay the Surcharge in addition to the Surrender Fee listed above.

Dogs/Puppies $100

Cats/Kittens $100

Rabbits/Ferrets/Chinchillas/Hedgehogs/Degus/Sugar Gliders $25

Reptiles $100

Birds $20

Small Mammals (Guinea Pigs, Rats, Mice, Hamsters, Gerbils)/Amphibians/Fish/Invertebrates $5

Chickens/Turkeys/Waterfowl $15

Goats/Sheep/Pigs/Cattle/Llama/Alpaca $100

Horse/Donkey $100