Caring for a pet can come with setbacks and frustrations. You may even get to a point where you feel like surrendering your pet is your only option. At the Austin Animal Center, we believe that pets are happiest with their family and we are here to help keep you together any way that we can.

  • Looking for pet-friendly housing? Check here and here.
  • If you’re dealing with a setback with a landlord or breed restrictions, Love-A-Bull has a great list of suggestions for working with your rental company. Click here for tips.
  • We’re proud to offer free/spay neuter, rabies vaccines, and microchips through Emancipet mobile clinics for Austin and Travis County residents. Click here for more information on Emancipet Free Day mobile clinics.
  • Experiencing behavioral issues or something else? Email Our Pet Resource Center team is here to help you with tailored resources and solutions to keep your family together.

Rehoming a Pet

Finding a new home for your pet allows you to play an important role in the next chapter of their life. Your pet will be much less stressed and confused by avoiding a stay at the shelter and you will be helping save space for animals who truly need our help.

  • Home To Home - a direct-to-adopter tool for pet guardians looking to re-home their animal.
  • Word of mouth- network your pet to friends, family, coworkers, and community members through places like Facebook, Nextdoor, and community bulletins. Ask friends and family to share!
  • If you adopted the pet from another rescue or breeder, reach out to them to see if they will take the pet back. Some adoption contracts require that you return to them.
  • Local rescue partners sometimes accept pets directly from the public, depending on space and resources. If you have a particular breed, check with breed-specific rescues. Your pet may be just the right fit for their adoption program.
  • Post your pet on a rehoming website.
    • A great resource  is – not only can you can post your pet here for free, but you can review applications, screen potential adopters, upload vet documents, and finalize adoptions.
    • APA!’s Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender program lets owners connect to potential adopters directly, bypassing shelter surrender entirely.
  • Choosing the right adopter
    • You’re in the best position to screen adopters for best fit. Use these adoption questionnaires to help you find the right home.
    • Sign an adoption contract
      • An adoption contract can help provide a safety net for the adopter, the pet, and you. You can find example adoption contracts here and here.

Shelter Surrender

Surrendering your pet to the shelter should be the last resort. With thousands of animals coming through our doors each year, the shelter is at or near capacity on a daily basis. While we pride ourselves in creating a safe and caring atmosphere, an animal shelter is still a very stressful place for an animal.

If you cannot keep your pet and have been unsuccessful in finding a home for it, reach out to us about scheduling an owner surrender appointment.

1.Schedule an owner surrender consultation appointment here.

2. A staff member will contact you to discuss your unique situation, offer resources, and schedule an intake appointment if appropriate.

The center is an open-intake shelter serving Austin and unincorporated Travis County. We accept animals from our jurisdiction that need shelter regardless of age, health, species, breed, or behavior.


Depending on capacity, owner surrenders may be limited to emergencies. Emergencies will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and proof of situation may be requested. Examples of emergencies that may be accepted include, but are not limited to: 

  • Injured animals
  • Owner being evicted
  • Owner being hospitalized or incarcerated
  • Bite incidents

Healthy Stray and Feral Cat Surrender

With roughly 170,000 free roaming cats in Austin, The Austin Animal Center offers services to support community cats and their caretakers to keep cats healthy in the home that they know best.

View “Is This Cat Owned?” in our Reunification Guide here for tips on locating an owner and more info on resources that we’re proud to offer through our Community Cats program, a partnership with Austin Humane Society. Resources include free spay/neuter services, humane trap loan, and non-urgent medical care for sick and injured community cats.

To comply with a No-Kill philosophy and provide live outcomes to the free-roaming cats that call Austin home, the shelter cannot accept healthy found cats. Cats that are friendly likely have an owner or someone invested in caring for them. Don’t assume they were abandoned. Use our paper collar template to help locate their person and check here for how to scan for a microchip. 

Home looks different to them. The shelter can be a very difficult place for community cats which are used to roaming freely outside, and an animal shelter is not home. With limited shelter space we need our community’s support of no-kill practices . Visit this guide for more info on how you can help healthy found cats.