Surrendering Your Pet to the Ottawa Humane Society

Surrendering Your Pet to the Ottawa Humane Society

If you are no longer able to care for your pet, the OHS is here to help.

If this is an emergency, call us at 613-725-3166 ext. 223. If we are unable to answer your call, leave a message with your name, number and reason for calling and we will respond as soon as possible.

Giving up a pet is never easy. If you need to surrender your pet to the OHS, this is what you should know:

The decision to surrender your pet is permanent. Once you have surrendered your pet, they become the property of the OHS. Surrendering your pet when you can no longer care for them is emotional and often in the pet’s best interest. It would not be responsible for the OHS to return an animal to a person who has told us that they are unable or unwilling to care for the animal.

What you need to surrender your pet to the OHS

We ask you provide the following:

  • Completed Pet History Form.
  • A recent photo of your pet (JPEG format preferred).
  • Your pet’s medical records (if any).
  • A piece of photo identification for yourself.
  • Proof that you are the owner of the pet: such as a City of Ottawa registration tag; bill of sale; a receipt from your veterinary clinic; or a photograph.
  • One cup of your pet’s food. If you plan on donating other animal belongings, please take a look at our wish list or reach out to inquire first, as we are unable to accept certain items at this time.
  • To help reduce your pet’s stress, bring items that are familiar to them such as favourite toys and a blanket.

Pet History Forms

To begin the surrender process, complete the following form that will give us more information about your pet and help us find their best possible home.

Complete one form per pet who you are considering surrendering (or one form for a litter of puppies, kittens, etc.).

Filling out a form does not guarantee that the OHS will be able to accept your pet, and it does not mean that you must surrender your pet. It provides the necessary information to begin the surrender process.

You may attach a photo and medical records for your animal, if you have them.

Once we review your completed history form, we will contact you for next steps.

Surrender FAQs

  1. Can I follow my pet’s status throughout the shelter?

Yes, you can contact us at 613-725-3166 ext. 223 or Please let our staff know the animal’s ID number (e.g. A123456) and wait for a few days after surrendering so we are able to give a full update.

  1. Can I visit my pet while they’re being assessed?

The public is not allowed to visit the animals while they’re being triaged and assessed for adoption.

  1. Can I speak with a behaviourist about my pet’s needs?

We are currently unable to offer behavioural consults to the public.

  1. Will my pet be euthanized if I surrender them to the OHS?

The OHS does not euthanize healthy, adoptable animals regardless of lack of space or length of stay.

Animals with medical or behavioural issues that are beyond our resources to treat and rehabilitate, or who cannot be rehomed safely, may be humanely euthanized by caring, professional staff.

Because these conditions can develop or evolve quickly in a shelter environment, we cannot guarantee a specific outcome for an animal, even if they appear healthy and friendly at the time of admission.

The OHS also has a foster program that allows for animals who need a longer time in our care to be placed in a temporary home instead of remaining in the shelter.

  1. What happens to surrendered pets?

When an animal is surrendered to the OHS, they will first have their picture taken for identification purposes and be scanned for a microchip. If their vaccine status is not current or unknown, they will be vaccinated. Vaccines take a few days to be fully effective. We recommend that if possible, animals be fully vaccinated several days prior to admission. All animals are examined by a veterinary technician, and some of them will be rechecked by our shelter veterinarian. Cats and dogs will receive a behaviour assessment to determine their needs in their respective adoptive homes. Depending on resources, some animals may be placed in foster care prior to adoption for health or behaviour reasons. All cats and dogs that are deemed suitable for adoption will be microchipped and, if not already, spayed or neutered.

  1. Why do I need to wait for an appointment to book a surrender appointment?

The OHS requires an appointment to surrender an animal to ensure we always have the room and resources for injured or stray animals in our community. An appointment also gives us more time to learn about the animal, prepare for their arrival and help them find a new home even faster. The OHS is an open-admission shelter, which means we never turn away an animal in need.