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To improve the lives of the animals in our care, be timely and compassionate in our responses, educate the public through community outreach and, provide for the health and safety of the citizens and animals of Ventura County.

Pet Surrender

pet-surrender-preventionWe 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.  Ventura County Animal Services understands, that there are some circumstances where surrendering your animal is unavoidable. Remember, surrendering your pet to an animal shelter is the last resort when you have tried everything else. Shelters can be noisy, crowded and scary places. Please do your best to find a home for your pet before bringing them to the shelter. Your pet might live in a kennel for quite a while (sometimes or even years) before he/she finds a home.


  • Did you acquire your pet from a breeder?
    • Have you contacted that person? If he or she is reputable, you would have signed a contract at the time you purchased, stipulating that the pet should be returned if you decide to no longer keep them. Please contact your breeder first before contacting Ventura County Animal Shelter.
  • Did you acquire your pet from a rescue organization?
    •  If so, have you contacted that rescue organization? If they are reputable, you would have signed a contract at the time you adopted your pet, stipulating that the pet must be returned to them if you decide to no longer keep him or her for any reason.
  • New baby in the family?
    •  If you can take care of your new little human baby, you can take care of a pet. Some of our educational materials are listed below to help you ease the transition:
  • Moving?
    •  There are plenty of apartments, townhouses, condos that accept pets. Many places will even allow you to spread pet deposit payments over multiple months. Check out our Pet-Friendly Rentals page or visit People With Pets
  • Think you don’t have enough time for your dog?
    •  Experts agree that a dog requires a mere 15 minutes of one-on-one time with his master per day, to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted! That laying in bed watching T.V. together, playing ball in the backyard or going for a walk! Surely you can spare 15 minutes a day. Pets reduce personal stress and can add years to your life and even decrease the amount of medication you take – make the time for you AND your dog
  • Are there behavioral issues?
    • Is your dog having trouble getting along with other animals in the household or are there other behavioral issues that have led to the decision to give up your dog? If so, let us help you. Send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , we can most likely recommend a trainer in your area or take a look at our Behavior & Training Page for information on a wide range of pet issues. Many problems can be improved by having your pet spayed or neutered. We can help! Contact our Pet Retention Coordinator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to learn about the many resources available.  If you didn’t socialize your dog as a puppy, it’s never too late to enroll him in obedience school. It’s fun and can count as your 15 minutes of bonding time
  • Experiencing financial issues?
  • Other options available
    • Have you tried finding your pet a new home on your own?
    • Have you checked with family/friends/neighbors/coworkers to see if they can take your pet?
    • Have you tried re-homing your pet using our Courtesy Re-homing page ?
    • Have you read our list of Re-Homing Tips  that will increase your chances of finding a new home for your pet?
    • Have you listed your pet on www.NextDoor.com ?
    • Have you tried temporarily boarding  your pet until your life has settled down?
    • Have you talked with your doctor about obtaining a prescription for an “Emotional Support Animal?”
    • Have you tried setting up a GoFundMe  to raise funds for a vet procedure or pet deposit?
    • Have you contacted “Dogs on Deployment ” regarding the safe keeping of your pet while you’re on active duty?
    • Have you attended one of our monthly low-cost vaccination/microchip clinics  to make your pet more adoptable?


When all other options have been unsuccessful and you are still in need of surrendering your pet to us. The next step is to schedule an appointment with us to reserve a spot for your pet.

Admissions process and what to expect:

In order for us to find the best home possible for your pet. Our Pet Retention Coordinator consults with all owners who are requesting to surrender their pet to us. Surrender appointments are available and scheduled Tuesday - Saturday, 9:00am to 1:00pm. Surrender appointments outside the designated times can be arranged through our Pet Retention Coordinator, if necessary. Allow at least 30-45 minutes for your relinquishment appointment. Additional time is necessary if bringing multiple pets to be surrendered.

While there are times that we may ask if you can keep the pet with you longer in order to ensure that we can provide the best care possible for your pet, we understand that there may be circumstances that will prevent you from holding onto the pet longer. If you are facing an emergency situation where you are unable to return the pet to the home, please advise our staff.

Please understand that, as a ‘No-Kill’ shelter, Ventura County Animal Services cannot accept every animal brought in to our shelter immediately. We treat every animal’s life as precious and will not resort to euthanasia to control the number of pets entering our shelter. Therefore, we will accept the surrender of owned cats and dogs by appointment.

To schedule an appointment:

Contact our Pet Retention Coordinator by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If it is an urgent matter, we ask that you call our dispatch line at (805)388-4341 and let the dispatcher know it is an urgent matter.

Be sure to include:        

  • Your Name, Address, and Phone Number
  • Type of Pet (Dog or Cat)
  • Sex of animal and whether or not it has been spayed/neutered
  • Pet’s Name, Age, and Breed
  • A Brief Description of the pet (including how long you’ve had the pet and where you initially got the pet)
  • Why you’re surrendering the pet
  • Any Medical History and Vaccine Status
  • Any images of the pet

If you would like to speak with our Pet Retention Coordinator about alternative options to surrendering.

                                                      Schedule a Call
Surrendering ownership of your pet:

When you surrender your pet you are giving up all legal ownership rights to the pet and legal ownership and responsibilities are transferred to VCAS. Ventura County Animal Services takes the responsibility of your pets well-being very seriously. We have a team of compassionate and dedicated staff and volunteers who will provide loving care to your surrendered pet. Your pet will be compassionately cared for during his/her stay with us, during which time your pet will be evaluated medically (if needed) and behaviorally to identify the pet's adoptability and concerns that could restrict, or preclude the pet from finding a new home. Keep in mind that the shelter environment is stressful and your pet may react quite differently than they have in a home environment.

We do not impose any time limits on an pet's stay with us and do not discriminate based on a pet’s breed.
If the pet you surrendered is in good health and has a sound temperament while with us he  or she will be made available immediately for adoption. If the pet has a minor, reversible, or treatable problem and has a high degree of adoptability we will still be able to find the pet a new home. What can be done for those pets that are not adoptable in their current state depends on our available resources.