We ask that you exhaust all resources and alternatives of surrendering your pet to the shelter. If you feel you have explored all options, including asking family, friends, and neighbors or have attempted to overcome any difficulties you are having with your pet, surrendering your pet may be the next option.  We highly encourage you consider every alternative to relinquishment before surrendering your pet to a shelter.


Surrendering your pet to a shelter means you are giving up all rights to that animal. WHS is not required to notify you of any development regarding the health or status of a pet surrendered to the shelter. You may use our website for updates on the availability of an animal.

WHS ONLY accepts and schedules owner/surrender assessments by appointment.

What You Should Expect

WHS makes an investment in every animal. Upon arrival to the shelter, each animal is vaccinated and dewormed and any obvious medical conditions are addressed as much as possible. We treat every animal’s life with the same level of care and importance. As a no-kill community, we work hard to save the lives of healthy, treatable animals that enter into our shelter. While we do not euthanize an animal for space.  However, there are rare circumstances we may have to euthanize an animal for incurable medical concerns, public safety concerns, and concerns of quality-of-life.

An animal shelter is a stressful environment for any animal, but especially for owned pets. We urge you to exhaust all other resources and alternatives before surrendering your pet to WHS. This helps our organization ensure shelter is available for the pets that need it most — those who are lost, displaced, homeless, injured, or sick.

Surrendering your pet to our shelter means you are giving up all rights to that animal. We are not required to notify you of any development regarding health or status. Nor, will we give the animal you surrendered special treatment over another animal. You may use our website or call the shelter for updates.

Requesting an Owner Surrender Appointment

If you are unable to rehome your pet after considerable effort, you can arrange to surrender your pet to WHS by appointment. In order for our team to better assess each unique pet in need of our support, it is important that we gather as much information as possible about the pet’s history, including living conditions, behaviors, medical care, and socialization.


If you are unable to submit a form online, you can contact our Pet Support Center team who will gather the information and triage the case over the phone. The phone assessment process could take up to thirty (30) minutes.

It is important that the answers provided for surrender questionnaires and assessments are honest and detailed. This information is all WHS has to help set the pet up for success while in our care and in-depth information allows us to find the best outcome for the pet, including placement options and matchmaking for adoptions.

Once our team has received the questionnaire information shelter staff will contact the owner to gather any additional information, discuss what options are best for the pet, and/or schedule an intake appointment for the pet to be surrendered to WHS. WHS is typically unable to accept same day surrenders, but we do our best to keep the surrender process moving forward and to schedule an intake appointment for surrender as quickly as possible.


There is a surrender fee per pet. This fee helps WHS cover a small portion of the costs associated with caring for the pet. WHS is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Collecting fees allow our shelter to continue to support unwanted and homeless animals each year. Donations made to WHS above fees paid are always welcome and are tax-deductible. If you need to discuss financial assistance, please do so with shelter staff when they contact you.

Cat Surrender Fee $20 (plus tax)

Dog Surrender Fee $40 (plus tax)


  1. Submit a Surrender Questionnaire for each pet through our website. Our staff use these forms to gather important information about your pet so they can better assist you in the surrender process and better support the pet while in our care.
  1. A member of our staff will contact you to discuss the surrender process, and when appropriate, schedule an intake appointment.  The phone assessment for owner surrenders can take thirty (30) minutes or more. WHS receives a high volume of calls each day, which are returned based on priority and in the order they are received. Appointments are scheduled based on jurisdiction, appointment availability, available space within the shelter, and in consideration of Watertown Humane Society’s capacity to care for the pet. Appointments are required if you need to surrender your owned pet to the shelter.
  2. Be sure you have all veterinary records, including all received vaccinations, readily available. Veterinary records can be brought along to the surrender appointment or can be sent by email PRIOR to the surrender appointment to It is important to ask your veterinarian to send your pet’s full written veterinary medical records and to include the animal’s name, the animal’s description, your first and last name, and your phone number. Please confirm that your pet’s records have been received prior to your scheduled appointment.
  3. Have all of your pet’s medications readily available as well as your pet’s toys, leash, and other belongings from home.


  1. Secure your pet - Please make sure all dogs are on leash and all cats are in a sturdy carrier. It is important to support the bottom of the animal carrier while you enter the building and to ensure any retractable leashes are locked when you enter the building. This is required for your safety and your pet’s safety.
  2. ID/Payment - Please bring along your Drivers License/ID, as well as they appropriate surrender fee to help cover the cost of the animal while in our care. WHS accepts cash and major credit/debit cards. WHS does not accept personal checks for surrender fees.
  3. Records and medications - Bring all of your pet’s veterinary medical records, including vaccination history, with you to your appointment, or confirm it has been sent to prior to your arrival. If applicable, please be sure to bring all of your pet’s current medications with you.  This is incredibly important if you have not confirmed the receipt of your pet’s records prior to your appointment time.
  4. Intake - You should be prepared to spend up to thirty (30) minutes while at the shelter to answer additional questions about your pet and complete the required paperwork for owner/guardian pet relinquishment. The intake interview, including verification of all information, as well as the completion of paperwork is required. The transfer of ownership to the shelter requires an owner’s signature, 18yrs or older, by law.