Exploring the Reasons Behind Pet Surrender

Exploring the Reasons Behind Pet Surrender

The Holiday Pinch


‘Tis the season! The end of the year often leads to heightened stress levels. An increase in spending has us all feeling the pinch of the holiday season. Hosting guests, elaborate meals, buying presents, all on top of day to day living expenses, costs can be demanding on families of all income levels this time of year.

Couple holiday spending strains with a sick or injured pet, and the decision can quickly escalate to choosing between family survival and caring for a beloved dog or cat. Owners considering surrender typically find themselves facing a tough choice due to an unexpected change in circumstances.  These situations are often financially related.


Why Surrender?


Owner kissing dog at shelterOften times, families do not want to give up their pet. However, the choice becomes paying rent to keep a roof over their head or covering a hefty vet bill, putting food on the table or shelling out hundreds for a pet deposit. These are decisions no one should have to make.

Throughout the new year, we will be taking a deeper look at some of the reasons that cause pets to be surrendered. Our shelter intervention program has provided insight into what situations can lead to the difficult decision to give up a pet.


Surrender Reasons


Reasons for surrender can include, but are not limited to, the following reasons:


Read Jack & Lola’s story here.

  • Lack of affordable, pet-friendly housing.
  • Housing-related costs: moving expenses and pet deposits.
  • Proof of veterinary services: costs needed to have a pet spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and licensed.
  • Restrictions: breed, weight, and the number of pets.
  • Insurance requirements: renter’s insurance, home owner’s insurance that covers certain breeds.

Veterinary Care

Read Chapis’ intervention story here.

  • Preventive
    • Spay or neuter
    • Vaccinations
    • Flea or tick treatment
    • Exams

Snoopy with castRead all about Snoopy’s rush-hour run in here

  • Illness/Injury
    • Rising costs of vet care
    • Lack of access to or knowledge of low-cost clinics
    • Unexpected situation
    • Lack of free services for extreme financial distress
    • Turn to shelter for low-cost services or support, then consider surrender so their pet can receive care.
  • Euthanasia
    • Cost for procedure and body disposal.
    • Restrictions on attendance

Return to Owner Costs

Return to Owner CaseRead Marley’s tale here. 

  • Unexpected cost
  • Fees can be high and vary depending on factors such as length of stay or medical care needed.
  • Fees are necessary for shelter to operate but can be a challenge for families who do want their pets back.

Temporary Placement

Read Senior Dog Archie’s story here.

  • Sudden changes in circumstances can lead to a need for temporary boarding while securing new arrangements such as eviction.
  • Owner homelessness.
  • Crisis situation such as house fire, domestic violence situation, family illness or owner hospitalization.


General Care Costs

  • Pet food when feeding family is a challenge.
  • Recent financial change leading to prioritizing living expenses.



Closer Review of Pet Surrender

Continue following our blog and social media as we explore each of these categories further as they pertain to pet owners here in our Phoenix community.