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Pet Resource Center - Surrendering a Pet

Help! I think I need to give up my pet.

There are times when owners need to surrender their pet to a local humane society or rescue.  At MHS we strive to make this process as seamless as possible. 


Giving up a pet is a heart-wrenching decision, but sometimes there seems to be no other option for a pet owner. We understand that financial concerns, illness, moving to a home that will not accept pets, unwanted litters, or behavioral problems can put owners in a no-win situation.  Midlands Humane Society accepts all pets surrendered by owners in our jurisdiction of Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County.  We promise safe harbor and humane treatment as the pet is evaluated for entry into our adoption program.  While we cannot guarantee when your pet will reach the adoption floor, please know we try to find homes for animals that are surrendered.  MHS does offer some resources to help keep animals in loving homes and we urge pet owners to consider other options before deciding to surrender their animal.  Listed below are some options to think about:


  • Make sure that surrendering your pet is the right decision for you.  Sometimes a quick decision to surrender a pet can have lasting negative consequences.
  • Check with family or friends first to see if your pet might be placed with a familiar person who already loves them.
  • If low cost sterilization is needed to keep your pet, there are options in the Omaha metro area for Spay & Neuter procedures and we can help guide you.
  • If maintenance cost for your pet is a concern, MHS does offer free pet food (limited basis) and other supplies to help you keep your pet.  Another option is to contact Our Savior's Lutheran Church for assistance with either human or pet resources.  Their phone number is 712-322-6655.  You can obtain more information on their website Our Savior's Lutheran Churchthen click on the Food and Pet Food Pantry tab.
  • Don't forget...the staff at MHS is here to talk to you openly, honestly and with compassion about the decision you are facing.  If we can provide suggestions, advice or even services (on a limited basis) we are happy to walk you through your options which may allow your pet to stay in your home.  It's okay to ask for help.


Midlands Humane Society accepts surrenders through managed intakes. Managed intake refers to scheduling non-urgent intakes with the goal of controlling the flow of incoming animals so MHS can meet individual animals’ needs on a daily basis, plan for appropriate staffing, and match capacity to provide humane care. Without an appointment process, we would have no control over the number of pets that come through our doors each day, and our ability to provide the best possible care for each animal would be hindered.

To schedule an appointment, please call 712-396-2270 during business hours, Monday to Friday 12-6pm and Saturdays 11am-5pm. Please be prepared to answer questions pertaining to both medical and behavioral needs of your pet. Appointments may be scheduled at minimum two weeks from the initial inquiry of surrendering. We ask for a $50 fee at the time of surrender. This helps us mitigate some of the costs of taking care of the pet and get them ready for adoption. Any fee may be reduced or forgiven, depending on certain circumstances and with staff approval. Donations over and above this $50 fee goes towards the care of other animals in our building.

When preparing for your scheduled appointment, please bring with you a valid driver’s license or other government issued ID that states you are within our accepted jurisdiction and your pet’s veterinary records. Dogs must be brought in on a leash or in a secured carrier. Cats need to be in a secured carrier.

When you arrive, there will be 2 forms to be completed. The first form is a surrender questionnaire and allows you to give as much information as possible on behaviors you have experienced with the pet in your home (ex. how do they do with children? Being left home alone? Are they potty trained?). The second form is a relinquishment form that the owner must complete to sign over the animal to MHS so we can begin medical and behavior evaluations for entry into our adoption program. Once an animal is surrendered, we do not provide any updates on the status of the animal.

We understand that there are situations that warrant an emergent situation with surrendering a pet.  In these cases, the staff members will determine whether or not the animal can be surrendered immediately.

Midlands Humane Society makes every effort to place healthy, friendly animals in new, loving homes. However, we cannot guarantee rehoming of your pet. The placement of an individual animal for adoption is based on an evaluation of his or her health and temperament. Once an animal is placed up for adoption at Midlands Humane Society, there is no time limit in which he or she can remain up for adoption and we do all we can to ensure they find a loving home.

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