Surrendering a Pet
Loudoun County Animal Services (LCAS) understands that surrendering a pet is never an easy decision, and we hope that the following information will be helpful to you. Please know that if you find you are no longer able to keep your pet, you have options. To learn more about alternatives to surrender, check out our Surrender Checklist
To surrender your pet to LCAS, please note the following guidelines:
- Cats and dogs should be up to date on their rabies vaccination prior to surrender. Pets that arrive with current rabies vaccinations are able to move more quickly through the medical and behavioral assessment process shortening their stay in the shelter. Help us, help your pet – ensure their rabies vaccine is up to date before surrender. If you need need assistance finding low-cost vaccination options, check out our Low-Cost Resource Flyer.
- Pets can only be accepted from Loudoun County residents over the age of 18. Proof of age and residency will be required.
- While pets can be surrendered anytime during normal business hours, we do ask that residents make an appointment to surrender a pet by calling us at 703-777-0406
- When you come to the shelter to surrender your pet, please bring proof that you own the pet. This can be in the form of:
- Bill of sale
- Breed registry
- County license
- Microchip registration
- Rabies vaccination certificate
- Veterinary records
- Written transfer of ownership
Before arriving at the shelter to surrender a pet, please take a moment to review the following checklist. If you have questions about surrendering a pet, please contact us at 703-777-0406 or by email
After Surrendering a Pet
- If you are thinking about surrendering your pet, please first consider using the following resources:
- Have you notified friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers that you need to find a new home for your pet? More often than not, this type of networking can have very positive results. Plus, you may even get to visit on occasion if you find your pet a new home within your social network.
- Have you contacted a rescue group about taking your pet?
- If you are having behavioral challenges with your pet, have you contacted our shelter by email or phone, 703-777-0406? We have a Behavior Program Manager on staff, and she is a great resource for challenges you may be experiencing.
- If you rent and need assistance with pet friendly housing, have you investigated options? Try visiting one of many websites tailored to the needs of pet owners, such as peoplewithpets.com, which save you time by allowing you to search for "pet friendly" apartments in various communities in your target price range and with the amenities you specify.
- If you have allergies, have you had a conversation with your doctor? Pet allergies are a common problem. The good news is that today your allergist or veterinarian can recommend many helpful products and tips to "lose" the allergies, rather than your pet.
- Are you a Loudoun resident?
- Are you over the age of 18?
- Have you scheduled a specific time with the shelter staff to surrender your pet?
- Do you have proof of ownership for your pet?
- It is helpful to the pet to come into the shelter with current vaccinations. If your cat or dog does not have current vaccinations, please see your veterinarian prior to surrendering to the shelter.
- Please bring a small bag of your pet's current food with you to the shelter. This bag of food will help us transition your pet to the shelter's food and minimize the occurrence of stomach upset.
- In order to do the best job possible for your pet, we ask owners to complete a personality profile prior to arrival at the shelter. This profile gives us important information regarding how your pet behaved in your home.
- Please note that Saturday afternoons are very busy at the shelter. In order to give you the best service and attention we can, we request that you make an appointment to surrender your pet on another day. If this is not possible, limited appointments are available on Saturday morning between 8:30-11:30 am.
LCAS has an open admission philosophy, which means we accept every animal regardless of health, age, breed or temperament. We are also committed to reducing euthanasia through innovative approaches to animal sheltering and community-supported initiatives such as our foster and transfer partnership programs. Placement of an animal for adoption is based on an evaluation of his or health and temperament. However, in balancing the welfare of the animals with our responsibility to the public, we recognize that not all animals are suitable for placement. Once an animal is placed for adoption, we do not have time limits on how long an animal can remain available for adoption.
Surrendering your pet to LCAS is a final decision. When you surrender a pet to us, you will sign paperwork relinquishing all rights of ownership. Once a pet is surrendered, LCAS staff will not call you regarding the pet’s status or outcome. Take comfort in the fact that we are committed to providing the very best care for each pet that comes to our shelter.