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Transfer and Transport

Animal Transfer and Transport


Animal transfer and transport is common practice in the animal welfare community when relocation can provide an animal with the best chance of adoption.  Pets Lifeline (PLL) brings (transfers) many more animals in a typical year than we transfer out.  We work primarily with our local partner network but we have occasionally participated in both National and Global animal transports.


Transfers – Working with our Partner Network


This is a crucial lifesaving collaboration that allows shelters to reduce the gaps in their capacity and expertise. For example, whenever we have space available, we transfer animals into PLL from our local partners: 

  • Sonoma County Animal Services, 

  • Petaluma Animal Services, 

  • Lake County Animal Services, 

  • North Bay Humane, 

  • Forgotten Felines and 

  • Jameson Ranch 

  • Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter

  • San Francisco SPCA


This helps reduce the strain on our partners and reduces the time animals are in the shelter system.  

We may determine that some animals will have a better opportunity for adoption with another organization.  Some examples for transferring to a partner shelter include:

  • A local emergency or evacuation.  The 2017 fires are a good example of this collaboration in action.

  • We may have lots of a certain breed in our care so we may transfer to an organization that doesn’t often get many of that breed. For instance chihuahuas. 

  • Severe medical situations in which we may not be able to provide the care that a partner shelter with a 24/7 veterinarian can.

  • Legal situations such as animal abuse where the animal is protected only when held by a county agency with an Animal Control department. (Sonoma County, North Bay Animal Services, etc.)

  • If we have made significant efforts to adopt the animal out and not found them a home.  A particular partner shelter might be able to offer a better chance of adoption.  


While ownership of the animal is transferred to a partner organization, if circumstance warrants,  we will always take them back.  


Transports – Helping Around the World


While it is the mission of Pets Lifeline to protect and improve the lives of cats and dogs in need in Sonoma Valley occasionally we will participate in a pet transport, which is the transfer of adoptable pets from regions in the U.S. or from abroad where there are too many animals to be adopted or where there are no facilities to cope with the situation.  When Pets Lifeline has the capability and a relationship with an organized transport program, the goal of the pet transport operations is to address the imbalance in the supply and demand for animals.


We’ve participated in several transport programs including:


2005 - The transfer of 12 dogs and 5 cats from Hurricane Katrina who were later reconnected with their owners or found local homes.

2016 -A transfer of street dogs from Thailand who we found forever homes for in Sonoma Valley.

2021- The transport of cats and dogs to Bay Area shelters from a hoarding situation in Tulsa Oklahoma.

For a full list of our partners, visit our Policies and Positions page. 

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