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 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.

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, and you will be helping save space for animals who truly need our help.

  • Post your pet on a rehoming website. 
    • Home To Home - a direct-to-adopter tool for pet guardians looking to re-home their animal. AAC promotes Home To Home profiles regularly to get them seen. 
    • Adopt a Pet - 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 - helps keep pets with family and lets owners connect to potential adopters directly, skipping shelter surrender entirely.
  • Spread the word. Network your pet to friends, family, coworkers, and community members through places like Facebook, Nextdoor, and community bulletins. Ask friends and family to share!
  • Choose the right adopter. 
  • 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.

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 for medium-large dogs. While we try to create a safe and caring atmosphere, an animal shelter is still a very stressful place for a pet.

Depending on capacity, owner surrenders, particularly of medium-large dogs, 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: 

  • Animals that need urgent medical attention
  • Owner being evicted
  • Owner being hospitalized or incarcerated
  • Bite incidents

If you are facing the prospect of surrender, we can help you keep your pet. If you are facing an emergency or need to rehome an animal, visit us at the Pet Resource Center from 11am-6pm. After hours, call 311. 

Austin Animal 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.

Small Animals

If you can no longer keep your small animal or exotic pet, please do not let it go. Exotic animals need special care and will suffer and die outside.  

Post your pet to Home To Home to find the right fit for your exotic pet. If the situation is urgent or you cannot care for your exotic pet, visit the Pet Resource Center from 11am-6pm for surrender assistance. 

Healthy Found Cats

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

Cats that are friendly likely have an owner or someone invested in caring for them. Use our paper collar template to help locate their person and learn how to scan for a microchip. View “Is This Cat Owned?” in our Lost and Found Guide for tips on locating an owner.

If you have not been able to find an owner, we can assist with free spay/neuter and adoption evaluation through our Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) program

For more info on resources that we’re proud to offer for community cats in Austin, such as free spay/neuter and non-urgent medical care, visit our Community Cats program page.