For many people, surrendering a pet can be emotionally upsetting. Often a pet is surrendered because an owner simply has no choice, or is unaware of resources that can help keep them together with their pet. The Buncombe County Animal Shelter staff and volunteers recognize and appreciate this may be a very difficult time for you and your family. Please know we are here to assist you and to care for your pet if you must surrender.  After working with the Shelter you may find there are other alternatives than surrendering your beloved pet.

Before you Surrender Your Pet

Asheville Humane Society operates the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, the only open-admission shelter in our county. We take in any small domesticated animal (dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc). We cannot guarantee placement in a new home for any animal so before surrendering your pet we ask that you consider the following:

  • Have you tried to find your pet a new home yourself?
  • Have you asked friends, family, posted online, called other rescues?
  • If you are interested in re-homing your pet on your own, please see our rehoming page

What resources would you need in order to keep your pet?

  • Pet Behavior and Training
  • Behavior Issues
  • Medical Issues
  • Medical Assistance
  • Moving
  • Pet Friendly Housing

In some cases surrender is the only option. If that is your situation, here are the steps you will need to take to surrender your pet:

To ensure there is space available for your pet and to give you an opportunity to speak with our staff about your situation, you will be given an appointment time to relinquish your animal. You can make that appointment over the phone or in person at the shelter. To speak with an admitting counselor for more information or to make an appointment, please call the Buncombe County Animal Shelter at (828) 250-6430. 

You will need to bring:

  • Vet records for your pet
  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of Buncombe County residency
  • A completed owner surrender questionnaire 
  • $25 surrender fee

At the appointment our staff will review the surrender questionnaire with you, ensuring we know as much as we can about your pet. Your pet will still go through an assessment process to see if they are a candidate for adoption, but the information you provide will allow us to find the right home if they are chosen for placement. Please note that appointments take at least 20 minutes. 

What will happen to my pet when I surrender them?

Your surrendered pet will be compassionately cared for during his/her stay at the Buncombe County Animal Shelter during which time the animal will be evaluated medically and behaviorally to identify the animal's adoptability and concerns that could restrict, or preclude the animal from finding a new home. Animals made available for adoption go to the Asheville Humane Society Adoption and Education Center or to one of the Shelter Placement Partner Agencies. Once an animal is transferred to Asheville Humane Society or a Shelter Placement Partner Agency legal ownership, responsibility and liability are transferred to that agency. When you surrender your pet you are giving up all legal ownership rights to the animal and legal ownership and responsibility are transferred to Asheville Humane Society.  Asheville Humane Society takes the responsibility of your animal’s well-being very seriously and we have a team of compassionate and dedicated animal care specialists who will provide loving care both in the Buncombe County Animal Shelter and in the Asheville Humane Society Adoption Center.