Surrendering an Animal


We know that sometimes it’s just not possible to keep a pet. But before making the decision to surrender a pet, please consider all of your options. Contact us at at or visit our behavioral page for information on a wide range of pet issues. We may be able to help you solve the problem or point you to someone who can.

Many problems can be improved by having your pet spayed or neutered. We can help! Go to our low-cost Spay and Neutering page to schedule an appointment.  Also, those who are undergoing financial difficulties can seek help through our community outreach programs.  Finally, try reaching out to friends and relatives who might be able to give the pet a loving home.

We will work together with you to determine and implement the best solution for you and your pet. Thank you for caring enough to try to keep your pet out of the shelter.

If you must surrender a pet, please follow the advice below.

  • PAWS is a managed admission shelter.  You MUST schedule an appointment to surrender an owned pet.
  • There is a mandatory $10 surrender fee for each pet.
  • Many rescue organizations require any returned pets to be sent back to the original rescue.  If you have adopted from a different organization, you may be required by contract to return the animal to that organization.

Do’s and Don’ts

If you have to give up your pet, please do the right thing:

DON’T drop your pet off in the woods or countryside, assuming that it can take care of itself. Pets lack the skills to survive on their own and may die of starvation or injury.  Dumping your pets is also illegal.

DON’T abandon your pet in a house or apartment you are moving out of, thinking that someone will eventually find it. This doesn’t always happen.

DON’T give your pet away to a stranger. You don’t know if that person is a responsible owner or even honest. Pets that end up in the wrong hands may be abused or sold to research laboratories.

DO try to place your pet with a trusted family member or friend, one who you are confident will love and care for your pet properly and will keep you informed of its welfare. Be sure the friend or relative understands the commitment of time and resources your pet requires and that they would like the pet because it will be a good fit for their home. Shelters receive many pets from people who knew the previous owners and wanted to help them by taking in a pet, but who did so without realizing the efforts involved in keeping the animal.

(Note: Pets adopted from PAWS, however, are required by contract to be returned here if you can no longer keep it. If you have adopted from us, it is often possible for PAWS to do a contract, at no charge, with the friend or relative you’ve chosen to care for your pet. This contract can protect your pet for the rest of its life.)

What to Expect

Surrendering ownership of your pet
PAWS is a managed admission shelter.  Due to space constraints, we take in owner surrendered pets by appointment only.  If you are considering surrendering a pet, please call us during open hours at 859-988-9800.  We try our best to accommodate owners but during busy seasons our wait can be two to three weeks.   Please consider this timeframe when surrendering your pet.

You will be required to sign a release form giving PAWS the legal ownership of the animal. Once you have signed the release statement, you may not reclaim your pet, so please be sure that you have made the right decision for you and your pet. PAWS does not give out information about animals after they are surrendered to us.

There is a $10 surrender fee to help offset the costs associated with the animal.

Pet’s medical records
It is extremely important for you to bring any medical records you have for your pet. A lack of medical information can delay the time it takes to evaluate your pet, and thus delay its availability for adoption.

Pet’s personality profile
Please be honest when answering questions about your pet; let us know if your pet has a history of biting, refuses to use the litter box, has a serious or chronic medical condition, or any other problem. It is unfair to pass on severe behavioral or medical issues to another family.