Relinquishing a Pet

Surrendering an Animal

We know that sometimes it’s just not possible to keep a pet. But before making the decision to surrender a pet, please consider all of your options. Contact our behavior consultants at 707.996.4577 x101. Our counselors may be able to help you solve the problem. Other regional shelters and humane societies also have behavior consulting and training options. Many problems can be improved by having your pet spayed or neutered. We can help! Go to our Spay and Neutering page to learn about the many resources available. Reach out to friends and relatives who might be able to give the pet a loving home.  If you must surrender a pet, please read through our advice and procedure below and fill out one of our Pet Evaluation forms.


Do’s and Don’ts

If you have to give up your pet, please do the right thing:

  • 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. Shelters receive many pets from people who knew the previous owners and wanted to help them by taking in a pet, but did not realize the efforts involved in keeping the animal.

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

  • DO call Pets Lifeline if you live in Sonoma Valley and have exhausted ALL other possibilities.

  • 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 hunted by other wildlife.

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

  • DON’T give your pet away to a stranger. You don’t know if that person is a responsible owner or being truthful with you. Pets that end up in the wrong hands may be abused.


What to Expect

When surrendering a pet to Pets Lifeline, we require an initial Pet Evaluation Form to be completed by the owner. Links to the forms for dogs and cats can be found below.

Cat Evaluation Form                                                Dog Evaluation Form


Pets Lifeline accepts owner surrenders only when there is space available at our shelter. Staff screen Pet Evaluation Forms and speak with owners about their pet's temperament. Animals that have exhibited aggressive behavior or that are a danger to the community cannot be admitted. Staff will only consider owner surrenders AFTER an Evaluation Form has been completed. 


During our interviews, we gather all the information a future adopter might need about your pet. We will also determine whether your pet is a good candidate for our adoption program. If we are full at the time, we will put you on a waiting list for the next possible opening. There is a surrender fee of $35.00.


When you do bring the animal to the shelter, you will be required to sign a release form for conditional surrender giving Pets Lifeline temporary 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 permanent release statement, 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 the Shelter to check on the pet’s status.

Pet’s Medical Records: 

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



Mailing Address

PO Box 341
Sonoma, CA 95476

Temporary Location

21045 Broadway

Sonoma, CA 95476

Permanent Location

19686 Eight St. East

Sonoma, CA 95476

Shelter Hours

Shelter staff are onsite 7 days a week, 8:30am-5:00pm. However, due to COVID-19 health concerns, we are only open to the general public by private appointment. For more information, please phone or email us at:
707.996.4577 x106 or

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Our Federal tax ID is #94-2851279

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