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Common Reasons for Animal Surrender and Easy Solutions

It is difficult for our shelter to maintain high save rates while under the constant stress of owner surrenders.
To ensure a positive outcome for your pet, please consider the following alternatives to surrendering an animal to our shelter. 

Issue

Solution

 "The feline will not use its litter box." 

  • Ensure that the litter box is clean. Some cats will not use the litter box if there is previous urine or feces standing in the litter. 
  • The feline may have a urinary tract infection. This infection can spread to the kidneys and will cause the cat to have a frequent urge to take painful urinations.
  • A recently declawed cat will often cease using its litter box. This is because scraping litter to cover its feces or urine can cause pain. An alternate litter solution may be required.

"The canine will not use its puppy pads."

  • Ensure that the puppy pad is placed in the same location every time that it is set down. Ensure that the puppy pad is replaced every time that it is used. A dog may not use the puppy pad if it has previous urine or feces on it.
  • Ensure that there are no simliar surfaces for the dog to confuse the puppy pad with (cotton bath mats, soft rugs, etcetera).
  • Make sure that there is plenty of space for the dog to fully empty its bowels. A dog does not generally like to urinate and defecate in the exact same spot. Using two or more pads, in proportion to the dog's body size, will give the animal more room to empty its bowels.

"I am moving to a location where I cannot bring an animal."

  • If the pet was originally adopted from JCACC and you are attempting to return it to a different shelter, it must be brought back to this shelter or you are in violation of the contract you signed when accepting the animal. JCACC reserves the right to persue legal action in the event of a breach of the adoption contact.
  • If the pet was originally adopted from JCACC and you wish to rehome it to a friend, relative, or other resident, be sure to contact the shelter at (859) 881 - 0821 so that the animal's owner information and microchip information can be updated.
  • There are many local rescue groups who might be able to aid your situation. Consider contacting local groups such as Friends of the Jessamine County Animals, Caring Hearts Feline Rescue, or the Jessamine Humane Society. There are hundreds of other rescue groups in Kentucky for rehoming cats, dogs, and other specific animals such as rodents, reptiles, and otherwise. There are many national rescue groups that specialize in specific breeds. We encourage you to access these rescources by Googling for them. It is always less stressful and healthier for your pet to be placed into a foster home with a rescue group than into a kennel environment at a shelter.

"I don't have time for my pet."

  • It is not inhumane or cruel to leave an animal at home during the work day, so long as you are feeding the animal appropriately and giving it the opportunity to exercise. Millions of pet owners worldwide, including many of the staff here at JCACC, crate their animals or let them free roam the house during the workday and will allow their dogs to use the bathroom, eat, and exercise before and after they return home. 
  • Consider signing up for a daytime pet care service, such as Rover's cat and dog care service, that will allow you to arrange for an individual to come to your residence and walk your dog or interact with your cat during the workday. You can also Google boarding facilities and animal daycare services that will allow your dog to play alone or with other dogs during the workday for a small fee.

"The animal is ill and I cannot afford vet care."

  • Our shelter has limited resources medically and financially, and we will likely not be able to treat the animal for a severe illness or debilitating disease. While we boast high save rates for our animals, we are not a "no-kill shelter." We will not intake a terminally ill animal and allow it to suffer while at our facility. Alternatively, we offer low-cost euthanasia; call the shelter at (859) 881 - 0821 for more information.
  • Consider reaching out to rescue groups who specialize in certain breeds or illnesses, which you can find on Google. There are rescue groups that focus on blind animals, diabetic animals, deaf animals, and more illnesses. You can reach out to these groups to see if they will offer aid.
  • Consider using social media such as Facebook or GoFundMe to fundraise for your pet's medical needs.

"The animal is aggressive with my other animals."

  • If it is a canine isssue, you can call our shelter at (859) 881 - 0821 and ask to speak to our canine behavioral specialist, Jessy Couch, for aid on your specific issue.
  • If you have two canines fighting over possessions such as food or toys, consider providing a crate for them to enjoy treats in or feeding them in separate rooms. Don't leave items such as rawhide or bones laying where the dogs could find them and begin to fight.
  • If it is an issue between a cat and a dog, give the cat access to a spot high off of the ground, such as a cat bed on top of a shelf or purchasing a very tall cat tree where the dog cannot reach the top, to give the cat an area to avoid the dog. It is not unhealthy to allow the cat to spit or swipe at the dog so that it may learn the consequence of trying to harass the cat, so long as the interactions are not dangerous to the health of either animal.

"My cat or dog is destructive and tears up my belongings/home."

  • The animal may be experiencing stress. A disruptive change in the environment-- such as installing a pool on the property, digging in the front or back yard for cable or pipelines, children playing loudly nearby, or lawn work-- can cause stress to build in the animal that it releases through activities such as chewing up shoes or clawing furniture. Consider relocating the animal to a quieter part of the house, and if it is still stressful, you can place the animal in a boarding facility or at a relative's house away from the noise.
  • The animal may be bored. An understimulated cat may need a companion cat to keep it amused, or a catdoor to allow it inside/outside access so that it may stay amused during the day. A dog can be stimulated with long-lasting toys to gnaw on such as hooves or porkhide. Filling a Kong toy with water and treats and then freezing it offers hours of stimulation, as well as filling one with peanut butter. You can also consider crating the dog during the workday or allowing it to remain outside, so long as it is restrained to the property and provided the appropriate accomodations as outlined by law (KRS chapter 258; JCO chapter 90).
  • The animal may be experiencing extreme separation anxiety. This can often be treated by vet-prescribed anti-anxiety medicine. There are over-the-counter anxiety solutions as well, such as store-bought calming treats, aromatherapy techniques, or body wraps such as Thundervests.

"The animal won't stay on my property."

  • If the animal is a canine, and you are opposed to constructing a physical fence out of wood or chainlink, consider investing in an undergound or electric fence. Make sure that the collar the animal wears is fully charged/has fresh batteries every time that you let the animal out.
  • Spay or neuter the animal. This will greatly decrease the animal's interest in roaming with intent to procreate.
  • If the animal is a feline, consider keeping the animal inside of the house, with adequate stimulation to compensate, so that it cannot wander.
  • If the animal is a canine, don't let the animal outside off-leash, even just to go potty. Use a leash or confine the animal to the property by another means. If the canine is tethered, make sure that the animal cannot slip out of its collar or invest in a harness to better secure the animal. Make sure that you are following tethering laws and ordinances at all times. Call us at (859) 881 - 0821 for more information on tethering laws.

You are welcome to call us at (859) 881 - 0821 if your question is not covered in this list. We are willing to help as much as we can to prevent the animal from being surrendered. 



It can be a difficult decision to surrender your pet. It is equally difficult on our shelter to accept such a relentlessly large volume of animals. To increase the chance of a positive disposition for your pet as well as to aid our shelter's struggle to manage intakes, we will soon begin mandated scheduling to surrender. To schedule a surrender, and to learn about what to bring with you when surrendering, contact JCACC at (859) 881 - 0821. This ensures that we have the space to house the animal as well as the resources to care for it when it arrives.