Surrendering A Pet


In Wake County, nearly all lost, stray or owner-surrendered animals go to the Wake County Animal Center, the government-run and government-funded County department responsible for providing animal care and control services for our community.

We understand life will sometimes throw curveballs. The unexpected happens and pets need to be rehomed. We know this is a very tough situation, but the key to remember is you are your pet's best advocate. There are several options out there. Please do whatever you can to avoid bringing your pet the shelter.

This packet offers tools to help pet owners keep their pets when possible as well as DIY rehoming tips for when keeping a pet isn't an option. Read packet here.


Let us try to help you keep your pet.

This packet offers tools to help pet owners keep their pets when possible (as well as DIY rehoming tips for when keeping a pet isn't an option). Read packet here.

Is it a behavior problem? The SPCA of Wake County celebrates the human-animal bond and has made a commitment to help pets stay in their homes and out of the shelter system. As a part of that effort, we offer a few resources to help pet owners. Click here to read more about your options.



Remember you are your pet's best advocate. There are several options out there, don't wait until the last minute to find your pet a home. Here are couple options you may choose to try to rehome your pet and avoid the shelter all together. You can also find tips in our Pet Retention/DIY Rehoming Packet, which can be found here.


If you screen your potential adopters on Craigslist, there are many good homes that are looking for pets on this website!

Screening Potential Adopters It is up to you to decide how carefully you want to screen any potential new homes for your pet. Depending on the time you have available, you may wish to be very careful to ensure your pet is going to the best home possible. Just remember that not everyone is honest about their intentions when they inquire about your pet. And even honest and well-intentioned people may not be a good match for your pet. To eliminate the largest risks associated with rehoming a pet, we suggest you do the following at a minimum:

  1. Do not give your pet away for free. Charge at least a small rehoming fee, somewhere around $35-$50. Free pets are sometimes sold for medical experiments or other unsavory uses.
  2. Spay or Neuter your pet before adoption. This will help prevent pet overpopulation and keep your pet from being used for breeding. The Saving Lives Spay/Neuter Animal Clinic has minimal-cost spay/neuter options, located next to the SPCA Pet Adoption Center.
  3. Ask questions. Here's what you want to know:
    • What kind of life will your pet have with its new owners?
      • Will they view it as a member of the family, or just a dog/cat?
      • What will they do if it gets sick, or tears up their house, or doesn't get along with their other pets?
      • Will it have daily exercise, quality food, regular vet care?
      • Do they have experience with your pet's breed or specific issues your pet has?
      • How do they plan to discipline your pet or train it?
      • How much time will it spend in a crate or in the yard alone?
    • Ask open-ended questions and really listen to the answers. Be non-judgmental and you will get more honest answers.
    • If they have cats or kids or dogs, does your pet get along with those?
    • How does their activity level fit with your pet's?
  4. Consider your personal safety when arranging to meet strangers who express interest in your pet. Use common sense. (Courtesy of Austin Pets Alive!)


Use Social Media

Facebook/Instagram/Twitter have become a fantastic resource for rehoming pets.

  1. Use your own Facebook or Instagram accounts to market your pet to friends, family and co-workers. Take cute photos and post them, with attention-grabbing descriptions. Be accurate with what you say, but also "sell" their cutest traits. Double points if you write in the pet's voice!
  2. Make your pet his/her own Facebook/Instagram/Twitter accounts! Yes this is possible.
    • Sign in to Facebook, and go to your timeline
    • On the left-hand side there is column that says "Pages." Click on it.
    • Click on the button in the upper right hand corner that says "Create New Page"
    • Now click on "Artist, Band or Public Figure" (yes, just stay with us on this one). It will give you a scroll down menu, choose "Pet" and then "Get Started."
    • Fill in the blanks with your pet's information and photos!
      • Remember, make sure the photos are clear, and your pet looks happy!
      • Write attention-grabbing, fun, entertaining content: What did your pet do while you were at work today? If he/she had a career, what would it be? Who is your pet's celebrity look-a-like? (hello, who wouldn't want to adopt a dog who looks like Brad Pitt?)
      • The more engaging the content, the more likely it will be shared, and hopefully the faster someone will step up to adopt him/her!
  3. Create a creative #Hashtag for your pet. Hashtags are a way of categorizing your posts and tweets, so people can easily look back and see what you have posted, or what other are talking about that hashtag. Just put the #InFrontOfYourTagLikeThis (be sure not to put spaces between words)!
  4. Ask your friends and family to share the posts with their friends, and so on. The more people who see them, the better the chance of your pet finding a home!