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Making the decision to surrender a pet to a shelter is difficult and heartbreaking. At Atlanta Humane, we understand that life is full of situations beyond our control, but some people struggle to understand why a loving owner would surrender their pet.

So why do some people choose this route? Well, each case is unique. Reasons often include:

  • Financial hardship: Life is unpredictable, and sometimes owners fall on hard times and can no longer provide basic necessities like food and medical care for their pets.
  • Moving: People need to move for a variety of situations, whether it’s related to finances, work, their own safety, and more. When housing options are limited based on a variety of factors, including breed restrictions, it can be difficult to provide a pet with what they need.
  • Behavioral problems: Sometimes, a dog may begin to show aggression toward a new member of the family, or a cat may become stressed by a new roommate’s dog. When animals develop behavioral problems that owners don’t feel comfortable addressing, surrendering the pet allows a shelter to rehabilitate that animal.
  • Health issues for owners or their dogs: When devastating medical issues come into a person’s life, it can be difficult to live a normal life. Whether their child developed allergies to a cat or an owner is undergoing chemo treatment, it can be difficult to cohabitate with their beloved pet. And when an animal gets sick, it can be just as difficult to provide the support that that animal needs.

Giving up a pet does not mean someone was a bad pet owner. In fact, in certain situations, surrendering a pet is the kindest and most humane thing to do. It takes courage to admit that an animal may be better off in a different environment or with different people caring for them. But when owners come to the decision that their home wasn’t the right place for their pet to really thrive, it gives the animal the opportunity to find a better situation.

Atlanta Humane offers judgment-free services to support every animal and their owner. If you need to surrender your pet, please review our Animal Rehoming page for more information.

June 5, 2023