Surrendering Your Pet

We understand that making the decision to surrender a pet is a difficult one. Please read through the following information prior to bringing your animal to the shelter.

  • The main focus of Santa Barbara County Animal Services is handling stray animals. Keeping these animals safe and getting them off of the streets protects public safety in our communities. As a result, our shelters are often at capacity. We ask all owners who can no longer keep their animal to explore other options prior to surrendering an animal to the shelter.

  • Post the animal on craigslist or other social networking sites in an attempt to find a home with another family. It can be easier to transition the animal into their new home with your support and guidance.  This can actually be healing for you and your animal. For more tips on rehoming your pet click here .    

  • If you are looking at surrendering your pet due to behavior reasons, please consult with a behaviorist or trainer; they may be able to help you overcome the behavior you are concerned about. If you are willing to try this approach but cannot afford a trainer there are a couple of options to assist. Please call your local shelter to discuss. 

  • If you are looking at surrendering your pet due to medical concerns, please consult with a veterinarian. We understand the cost of medical care can be frightening but there are many programs aimed at keeping pets and their families together while ensuring the pet stays healthy.  If veterinary care is the concern please contact C.A.R.E. 4 Paws , the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society , the Santa Barbara Humane Society , or ask your veterinarian about Care Credit  options.  Many of these organizations may be able to assist you which we hope will allow your pet to stay in your home. 

  • If you are looking at surrendering your pet due to landlord concerns or moving please remember that your pet is a part of your family and would be happiest with you. Often times obtaining renters insurance will help property owners feel more at ease with allowing an animal. We suggest you contact an insurance company prior to giving up hope. 

If all else fails and you must relinquish your pet, we urge you to contact a humane society or rescue group prior to bringing your animal into the shelter. To locate a breed specific rescue you can do an internet search for that breed or visit .  Owner surrenders are accepted by the humane societies with an intake appointment on a case by case, as room permits basis.  Please contact your local humane society to discuss intake procedures and make an appointment. 

Santa Barbara Humane Society: 805-964-4777

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society: 805-349-3435

Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society: 805-688-8224

Lompoc - Volunteers for Inter Valley Animals (VIVA): 805-735-6741

 Once you have exhausted all options, your local Santa Barbara County Animal Services Shelter will serve as your last resort. There is a relinquishment fee for surrendering your animal. To make the process a little easier on everyone you may want to complete the owner surrender questionnaire prior to bringing your animal into the shelter.  Although we do the best we can with all animals that enter our facilities we cannot guarantee adoption for owner surrendered animals.

Owner Surrender Questionnaires:  Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Guinea Pig