How to Surrender a Dog in Los Angeles

Parting ways with a beloved pet, especially in a bustling city like Los Angeles, can be a heart-wrenching decision fraught with emotional turmoil. Yet sometimes, life’s circumstances necessitate this tough choice. Fortunately, in these trying times, there are resources and organizations standing by to help make this transition as smooth, dignified, and compassionate as possible.

This comprehensive guide aims to walk you through the procedure of surrendering a dog in Los Angeles. We’ll explore a range of resources available at your fingertips and delve into the intricacies of the process to ensure the wellbeing of your four-legged companion.

Moreover, we understand that surrendering your pet may not be your first choice, so we will shed light on potential alternatives and support systems that exist. From adoption agencies to pet support services, there’s an ecosystem of resources available to help pet owners in distress.

Whether you’re seeking guidance on the surrender process, hoping to explore potential alternatives, or seeking comfort in knowing that there are support systems for pet owners like you, this guide aims to ease the emotional journey ahead.

Understanding the Surrender Process

rescue puppy los angeles

Reasons for Surrendering a Dog

There are several reasons why people might need to surrender their dog. Some common motives include changes in living arrangements, financial struggles, or personal health issues. It’s essential to remember that surrendering a dog is a challenging decision, and no one should judge those facing it. With empathy in mind, let’s dive into the available options for both the pet and the owner.

Alternatives to Surrendering

Before deciding to surrender a dog, it’s wise to explore alternative options. There are numerous community resources available, such as dog training or behavior consultations, which can help mitigate issues and ensure a better relationship between owner and pet. Additionally, seeking temporary housing or financial assistance for pet care can provide the necessary support to keep the furry family member around.

Sometimes, a helping hand is all that’s needed to maintain the bond between people and their pets. Consider reaching out to friends, family, or neighbors for assistance, whether it’s dog-sitting, walking, or providing space for the pet during housing transitions.

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Evaluating Your Decision

After exploring alternatives, take a moment to reflect on the decision to surrender a dog. It’s crucial to assess whether it’s the best choice for both the owner and their canine companion. Remember that surrendering a dog should always be a final resort and never a quick, off-the-cuff choice.

In conclusion, surrendering a dog in Los Angeles comes with an emotional cost, but understanding the process and exploring alternative options can offer the best possible resolution. Through community resources, personal reflection, and support networks, owners can ensure they’re making the best decision for their pets and themselves.

Los Angeles Animal Shelters and Rescue Organizations

Please note that this is a last resort decision and there are many resources available to help you with pet behavior issues, medical costs, and other struggles you may be having. If you are in a situation where you can no longer care for your dog, it’s always best to try to find a new home for them yourself if possible. This is less stressful for the dog and helps to keep shelter spaces available for those animals who have no other options.

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The truth about Pitbulls is… they can be majestic perfect dogs
East Valley Shelter14409 Vanowen St, Van Nuys, CA 91405All dogs over 4 months must be spayed/neutered before surrendering. Animals are accepted by appointment only. Call (888) 452-7381 to make an appointment. They ask for a $25 surrender fee, but it can be waived if it is a hardship​
North Central Shelter3201 Lacy St, Los Angeles, CA 90031All dogs over 4 months must be spayed/neutered before surrendering. Animals are accepted by appointment only. Call (888) 452-7381 to make an appointment. They ask for a $25 surrender fee, but it can be waived if it is a hardship​
West Los Angeles Shelter11361 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064All dogs over 4 months must be spayed/neutered before surrendering. Animals are accepted by appointment only. Call (888) 452-7381 to make an appointment. They ask for a $25 surrender fee, but it can be waived if it is a hardship​​

The are South LA Shelter, West Valley Shelter, and Harbor Shelter policies are similar to the ones listed above, but you should call to confirm before visiting.

Los Angeles is home to several animal shelters and rescue organizations that work tirelessly to provide care, housing, and rehoming services for dogs in need. This section highlights four such organizations making a difference in the lives of pups throughout the city.

LA Animal Services

As one of the primary sources of animal welfare in Los Angeles, LA Animal Services promotes and protects the health and well-being of local animals and their adopters. They provide shelter and care to over 15,000 animals each year, placing many in loving homes or partnering with other organizations. Their foster care program offers temporary refuge for pets needing a kind environment before they find their forever home.

A dog sits patiently at a dog rescue
A dog sits patiently at a dog rescue

North Central Animal Shelter

The North Central Animal Shelter, located in the heart of Los Angeles, is committed to rehoming dogs and other companion animals. Run by LA Animal Services, this shelter houses dogs, cats, rabbits, and more, striving to match each furry friend with the perfect adopter. With patience and a little bit of determination, adopters can find a loveable companion perfect for their specific needs.

The Rescue Train

A small but mighty force for good, The Rescue Train is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, no-kill animal-welfare organization. As a passionate group of advocates, they are dedicated to transforming the lives of pets in Los Angeles. Their commitment to animal welfare extends beyond housing and rehoming. They offer various programs, including education and outreach initiatives, to ensure the well-being of pets and their human companions. Contact them at 818-927-1364 for more information about their services and activities.

A dog walker in Los Angeles
A dog walker in Los Angeles

Wags and Walks

Wags and Walks has made it their mission to rescue family-friendly dogs from shelters while promoting responsible pet ownership. This organization focuses on matching dogs with loving homes based on each adopter’s unique needs, lifestyle, and personality. With a strong belief that a knowledgeable and caring home is essential for a happy and healthy pup, they offer support and resources to ensure that both dog and adopter can thrive together. Their dedication to the animal community shines through in the countless wagging tails and joyful walks shared by their rescued dogs and new families.

In conclusion, these organizations play an indispensable role in fostering a sense of community and compassion towards animals in Los Angeles. They work as a team to ensure that each dog gets the love and care they deserve while helping them find the happiness of a forever home. Next time you’re considering expanding your family with a furry friend, remember the great work these organizations do and see if you can help make a difference too!

Surrender Procedures and Requirements

Surrender Appointment

When surrendering a dog in Los Angeles, it’s crucial to first contact the shelter to schedule a surrender appointment. Most organizations are just a phone call or email away, and scheduling an appointment will help to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

green grass dog

Surrender Forms

Before arriving at the shelter, it’s a good idea to have the necessary surrender forms prepared. This might include an Application or Statement of Representation regarding the dog’s health, behavior, and background. Be as thorough as possible so the shelter can fully understand the dog’s needs.

Surrender Fees

Unfortunately, there are costs associated with surrendering a pet, such as surrender fees. Those fees vary depending on the shelter and the dog’s neuter/spay status, ranging from $65 for an altered dog to over $200 for unaltered dogs. Some shelters might also have different fees for rabbits, rodents, and birds. It’s always best to confirm these fees before the appointment.

Pet TypeAlteredUnaltered
Other AnimalsN/ACase by case

Medical Records and Evaluation

When you bring your dog to the shelter, be sure to have any medical records and documentation regarding their health. The shelter will often perform an evaluation to assess the dog’s overall health and temperament. In some cases, if the dog is deemed untreatable or unhealthy, humane euthanasia might be a consideration.

Microchipping and Vaccines

Lastly, ensure that your dog is up-to-date on its microchipping and vaccines. Animal shelters may require proof of these before accepting a dog for surrender. This not only keeps your dog safe but also helps to protect other animals within the shelter.

With these points in mind, the process of surrendering a dog in Los Angeles should feel more manageable. Just remember to be patient with yourself and the shelter staff, as everyone involved wants what’s best for the furry friend in need.

Rehoming Your Dog Independently

Rehoming your beloved dog is never an easy decision, but sometimes, life circumstances dictate that it’s the kindest choice for both you and your furry companion. In this section, we’ll explore some ways to find a caring, responsible adopter for your pup in Los Angeles.

Home to Home Rehoming Services

Sometimes, the best alternative to surrendering a dog to a shelter is arranging for a direct “Home to Home” rehoming. Various organizations help facilitate this process in Los Angeles. For instance, LA Animal Services ( is one such organization that believes in granting second chances to dogs and owners in need.

A service Doodle dog (low shedding!)
A service Doodle dog (low shedding!)

Social Media and Online Platforms

In the age of the internet, social media is not just for sharing cute dog pictures—it can also serve as an invaluable tool for rehoming your dog. Facebook, for instance, is an excellent platform to reach out to your network of friends, family, and acquaintances. Sharing a heartfelt post with photos of your dog and an honest account of their personality and needs increases the chances of finding a caring, responsible adopter.

Additionally, online platforms like offer resources and guidance to help you safely rehome your dog.

Finding the Right Adopter

But how do you ensure your dog’s new family is the perfect match? A little detective work goes a long way. Remember, this is like matchmaking for your pet, so channel your inner Sherlock and do some investigating:

  • Ask questions: Don’t hesitate to ask potential adopters about their living situation, past experiences with pets, and plans for the future.
  • Home visits: If possible, visit the prospective adopter’s home to get a sense of your dog’s potential living environment.
  • Trial period: Arrange a trial stay at the adopter’s home, allowing both your dog and the new family to assess compatibility.

So, there you have it: a brief guide to rehoming your dog independently. While a challenging task, remember that friends, family, and the community are there to help you find the perfect forever home for your furry friend.

Additional Resources and Support

Financial Assistance Programs

There are various programs available in Los Angeles that cater to those who may need financial assistance in caring for their pets. For example, Downtown Dog Rescue offers services for low-income pet owners in underserved communities, such as vaccinations and spaying/neutering. They can be reached at 213-403-0129 or visit their website at

Safety Net Foster Program

In times of crisis, it can be challenging to find temporary care for your pet. The Safety Net Foster Program is designed specifically for this purpose. Offering short-term foster care to pets while their owners navigate challenging situations, this program is a valuable resource in Los Angeles. Some rescue organizations provide this service, so it’s best to research local options and inquire about their safety net foster programs.

Pet Food Pantry

For low-income families and individuals facing financial hardship, pet food pantries can provide much-needed support. These pantries help ensure that pets are well-fed even when their owners are struggling financially, primarily through donations from the community. Reach out to local animal shelters or community resource centers to inquire about pet food pantry locations or assistance programs in your area.

A dog sits patiently at a dog rescue
A dog sits patiently at a dog rescue

Community Resource Guides

There is an abundance of community resource guides available to help pet owners find the support and services they need. These guides may include information on financial assistance, behavior and temperament evaluations, and local pet resources. To obtain a pet resource guide specific to your area, contact local animal shelters or community centers, or search online for reputable sources.

By utilizing the resources mentioned above, pet owners can receive much-needed assistance and ensure their furry friends’ wellbeing in Los Angeles. Remember, it’s essential to explore all relevant resources before considering surrendering a pet.

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