Before Surrendering a Pet

Keeping Families Together

We strive to reunify, re-home, or transfer as many animals that enter our care as possible. This is challenging, given that all animals owned by Rochester residents or found within the city are accepted regardless of age, health, species, breed, type, or behavior. There are hundreds of sick, injured, abandoned, and homeless animals that are in greater need of shelter compared to one already in a home. Although we will provide the best possible care for every animal that comes in, a home environment is almost always safer and healthier for your pets medical and behavioral wellness.

The City asks that owners exhaust all options before deciding to bring a pet to the shelter. First, is keeping the pet and option? Perhaps there is some form of support or intervention that we could provide that would help you overcome challenges and keep your pet in your home. 

The following is a partial list of the types of support we may be able to provide or facilitate:

  • Pet food or supplies
  • Crate and crate training guidance
  • Veterinary care - spay or neuter, vaccinations, and more
  • Behavioral support
  • Locating pet-friendly housing
  • Temporary boarding or foster care 

Let us know if you need support with basic care, veterinary services, training or behavior concerns by calling 585-428-7274 or via email

If not, check with family, friends, and co-workers to see if any are able to accept your pet into their homes. Advertise your pet for adoption. The following tips and resources will increase the likelihood of finding a new home for your pet.

Self re-homing a pet: 

  • Spay or neuter the pet.
  • Make sure the pet is healthy and current on vaccinations.
  • Work with the pet to make sure it is friendly and comfortable with many different people and situations.
  • Allow the pet indoors, so it can learn to be social and have better manners.
  • Read these suggestions from Best Friends Animal Society.
  • Explore options and solutions as outlined by The Humane Society of Rochester at Lollypop Farm  

Re-homing pet resources that we can help with:

Surrendering a Pet to the Animal Services Center 

If you are a resident of the City of Rochester and are unable to re-home your pet after exhausting all options, you can arrange to surrender your pet to the Animal Services Center. We recommend that you contact the Animal Services Center during hours of operation (M - Sat. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) to schedule an appointment. You may be asked to retain your pet for a few days or weeks due to space limitations at the City's managed admission shelter. Doing so will help avoid overcrowding at the shelter to ensure quality care is provided and to minimize stress and the associated susceptibility to illness.

Follow these steps:

  • Fill out a pet profile to provide us with as much info as possible about your pet.  
  • A representative will contact you to discuss the profile and schedule an appointment.
  • At your scheduled appointment, bring your pet to the center with the pet profile, any veterinary/vaccination records and license (dogs only).
  • Dogs must be leashed and cats must be contained within a carrier. We prefer that puppies and kittens are at least eight weeks old.

 End of Life Services For Medical or Age Issues

If your pet is suffering from medical or age-related issues warranting euthanasia, please contact your veterinarian. If you cannot afford the veterinary fees, try contacting Rochester Hope For Pets for financial assistance.  Animal Services staff may perform euthanasia service for pets of Rochester residents as staffing and operational needs allow. Please call (585) 428-7274 to make an appointment. We also accept walk-in requests, but we prefer that you attempt to make an appointment.

 NOTE: Leaving your pet at the Animal Services Center without having a staff person admit the animal to the shelter may be considered abandonment. In New York State, this offense is a misdemeanor with a potential penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.