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Rehoming a Pet

We understand that rehoming a pet is a very difficult decision to make. It is important to know that you have options, and to start the process as early as possible. Depending on the circumstances, we can advise you on possible solutions or alternate rehoming routes. Our goal is to help pet owners and pets find resources that could prevent their pet from having to enter a shelter as a surrender. While this isn't always possible, please read through our advised steps below and contact us to talk over options. 

Tips for Rehoming a Pet Yourself

If you have to rehome your pet, please consider the following: 

  • DO try to place your pet with a trusted family member or friend, one who you are confident will love and care for your pet properly and will keep you informed of its welfare. Be sure the friend or relative understands the commitment of time and resources your pet requires and that your pet will be a good fit for their home. 

  • DO submit posts to rehoming webpages. 

  • DO call your local animal shelter or humane society if you live outside of Sonoma Valley. We do not accept surrendered animals outside of Sonoma Valley, as we are a very small shelter. 

  • DON’T drop your pet off in the woods or countryside, assuming that it can take care of itself. Pets lack the skills to survive on their own and may die of starvation or injury, or be killed by wildlife. 

  • DON’T abandon your pet in a house or apartment you are moving out of, thinking that someone will eventually find it. 

  • DON’T give your pet away to an unvetted stranger. Always ask questions and meet with someone who expresses interest in adopting your pet. 

Owner Surrender

The first step to potentially surrendering a cat or dog to Pets Lifeline is to complete a Pet Evaluation Form.


Pets Lifeline accepts owner surrenders from Sonoma Valley on a case-by-case basis depending on available space at our shelter and a behavior evaluation. Staff screen Pet Evaluation Forms and speak with owners about their situation and their pet. Animals that have exhibited aggressive behavior or that are a danger to the community will not be admitted. Staff will only consider owner surrenders AFTER an Evaluation Form has been completed. 


If Pets Lifeline decides to accept your pet into our adoption program, you will be required to sign a release form for conditional surrender giving Pets Lifeline legal ownership of the animal. If, within 10 days, we find the animal is not adoptable or displays aggressive behavior, we may ask you to retrieve your pet and pursue other options. This also gives you time if another option becomes available. If we keep the pet and you have signed the release, you may not reclaim your pet, so please be sure that you have made the right decision for you and your pet. You are welcome to call us to check on the pet’s status.

It is extremely important for you to bring all medical records you have for your pet, and to share all known medical history. A lack of medical information can delay the time it takes to evaluate your pet, and thus delay its availability for adoption.

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