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(Photo by Rosanna Piazza)

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Giving Up a Pet

Sometimes pet owners need some extra help to overcome challenges that threaten their ability to keep their pets in their homes. In New York City, there are organizations that can help you explore potential solutions before you permanently surrender your pet, or take him/her into their care should surrender be the best option.

Pet Retention Programs

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC)

If you think you need to surrender your pet, contact the Owner Surrender Service at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC). While ACC never turns away a pet in need, they first try to work with pet owners to find solutions to help them keep their pets in their homes.


PAWS NY services are designed to help clients overcome the physical and financial limitations they face caring for their animal companions.  If you are a senior or someone with an illness or disability, and you are struggling with the day-to-day care of your pet, PAWS NY might be able to assist.  PAWS NY's focus is on physical assistance; they are unable to provide financial assistance. They evaluate each client on a case-by-case basis and offer services accordingly.

If You Must Give Up Your Pet…

Your best first option is to try to re-home your pet yourself. Any pet going into a shelter might have a long wait before being adopted, increasing the chances that they might become ill or worse.

Things you can do to find a new home for your pet include:

Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations. This can increase your chances of finding him or her a home.

Ask friends, neighbors, relatives, and people you work with if they are interested in adding a new family member.

Post a photo and description your pet on Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media platforms you use.

Ask your veterinarian and other local pet businesses if you can place an adoption poster of your pet in their office or store.

Post your pet on adoption websites, such as and

You know your pet better than anyone else, so advocating for him or her can go a long way to finding a good adopter.

If you absolutely cannot keep your pet and are unable to find him or her a new home, contact ACC Surrender Service.
Be sure to read the information carefully and follow the instructions for making an appointment to surrender your pet. Bringing your pet to ACC without an appointment can result in stress for your pet, a longer stay in the shelter, and may even negatively affect his or her chances of being placed. Without an appointment, wait times will vary and may be extensive. There will also be a fee incurred if you show up to a shelter without an appointment. In the event of an emergency, please call ACC Care Centers at 212-788-4000 and let them know about your situation.

You also can reach out to other local animal shelters or rescue groups. Remember that many organizations have waiting lists to accept new animals into their adoption programs. To request an appointment with a shelter or rescue group for an assessment of your pet, send a concise email with a good photo of your pet, and a video, if available. Provide a brief description that includes your pet’s name, age, weight, and whether your pet has been spayed or neutered and is up-to-date on vaccinations. Be sure to include your email address and phone number. Do not go into a long explanation of why you need to relinquish your pet.

Suggested organizations you might try first:

Dogs & Cats

Animal Haven (dogs & cats)

Phone: (212) 274-8511

ASPCA (dogs & cats)

Phone: (212) 876-7700, x5

Bideawee (dogs & cats)

Website: Bideawee Dog and Cat Admissions Application

Phone: 1-866-262-8133

The Humane Society of New York (dogs & cats)

Phone: (212) 752-4842

Posh Pets Rescue (dogs & cats)

Sean Casey Animal Rescue (dogs & cats)

Muddy Paws (dogs only)

Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition (cats only)

KittyKind (cats only)


City Critters, Inc. (cats only)




Rabbit Rescue & Rehab/NYC Metro Rabbit

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC)

Bunnies and Beyond

All About Rabbits

Long Island Rabbit Rescue

House Rabbit Society


Long Island Parrot Society

Northeast Avian Rescue

Exotics & "Pocket Pets"

Sean Casey Animal Rescue