LifeLine Animal Project understands that sometimes even after careful consideration of options, people may no longer be able to care for their pets. Because county shelters are already overwhelmed with a tremendous number of homeless animals, surrendering your pet to your county shelter should only be done as a very last resort. If you are a resident of Fulton or DeKalb County, an animal may be surrendered to either of our two open admission shelter locations after following these steps.
You must first make an appointment in your county at either DeKalb County Animal Services or Fulton County Animal Services. There is a $35 surrender fee per animal. For other counties, please contact your local county shelter and note they may have different policies, pricing, and outcomes for surrendered animals. While LifeLine strives to save every healthy and treatable pet coming into the county shelters we manage, any pet surrendered to any county shelter is at risk of being euthanized.
Before You Surrender Your Pet
First, please consider privately finding a new home for your pet through friends, family, or other resources. There are many options and resources available to help you keep your pet, including those listed below.
Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Opportunities
Does your pet keep having puppies or kittens, and you cannot afford a spay or neuter procedure? LifeLine Animal Project offers affordable spay/neuter surgeries, four days a week, at two low-cost LifeLine Spay & Neuter Clinics in Avondale Estates and College Park. Our clinics also provide low-cost vaccinations at clinic events held monthly.
Free Spay and Neuter Resources
- DeKalb County residents who cannot afford low-cost spay/neuter surgery may fill out this application to see if you qualify for a free surgery.
- Stopping Pet Overpopulation Together (SPOT): If you live outside of DeKalb County and cannot afford low-cost spay/neuter resources, you may check here to see if free programs are offered in your county. If your county does not offer a resource to help you, SPOT may be able to help cover the surgery. Call 404.584.7768 for information.
Free Pet Food
- Daffy's Pet Soup Kitchen provides free pet food.
- Save Our Pets Food Bank delivers food to your home, monthly, for up to four dogs and five cats. $10 per month covers transport fees.
- Pet Buddies Food Pantry provides free food and pet supplies on a temporary basis.
Affordable Pet Care
- WellPet Humane provides veterinary services for those struggling financially.
- Pals Atlanta provides pet care, including free food and basic veterinary care, to the companion pets of critically-ill and disabled Atlantans.
- Community Veterinary Care helps those who cannot help their sick or injured pets due to financial hardship.
- The Pet Fund provides funding for non-basic, non-urgent care, such as cancer treatment, heart disease, chronic conditions, endocrine diseases, eye diseases, etc.
- Care Credit is a credit card company for health care, including veterinary care.
- LifeLine Spay & Neuter Clinics offer vaccine clinics once a month and low-cost spay and neuter procedures.
Moving/Housing Pet Restrictions
Here are some websites to find pet-friendly housing:
- Zillow Pet-Friendly Housing
- Trulia Pet-Friendly rentals in Atlanta
- Hotpads Pet-Friendly rentals in Atlanta
- DogFriendly.com Apartments
Dogs On Deployment helps find temporary home for pets while their owners are on deployment.
- See an allergist to determine if you have specific pet allergies.
- Children may outgrow pet allergies, and many others successfully manage their symptoms and keep their pet in their home. Children with pets are less likely to develop pet allergies.
- Create a pet-free area to go to when symptoms act up. Vacuum and clean floors and furniture on a weekly basis.
- Place a high efficiency particulate air purifier (HEPA) in the home.
- Wash hands, pets, clothing, and bedding materials frequently, including the pet’s bed.
Often pet behavior problems can be managed through training.
- If your dog acts “hyper” or wild, he may need more exercise, especially if he is crated while you are at work. Make sure that your dog gets walked or played with for at least an hour a day.
- Frogs to Dogs offers a free consultation for dogs adopted from LifeLine’s shelters.
- Paws Whiskers and Claws offers behavioral assessments for cats.
- Positively.com the website of LifeLine supporter and world-renowned trainer Victoria Stilwell, offers training tips for nearly every pet behavior issue.
- JabulaDogs.com is another great resource for training located in Decatur, Georgia.
Families and Pets
Family changes, like having a new baby, can be overwhelming, but they do not automatically equate to having to give up your pet. Pets can also teach children empathy and compassion, as well as lower kids’ stress levels. Many studies show that children who live with pets exercise more, have higher self-esteem, and have fewer respiratory infections than their pet-free peers.
- Make sure that all the pets in your home are spayed or neutered. Pets who have not been fixed may not get along with spayed/neutered pets.
- Most pets, children, and spouses require an adjustment period that varies with every situation and can take several weeks or months.
- If necessary, keep the pet separated until he feels more comfortable in your home. There are some great resources online, even on PETMD.com for introducing new animals into your home. Check out LifeLine's tips on introducing a new dog to your pack. The ASPCA has information on preparing your dog for a new baby and other topics relating to pets and babies. free downloadable flyers on understanding dogs’ body language, teaching kids and adults how to approach dogs, and dealing with fearful dogs.
Re-homing A Pet
If none of the above suggestions helps, please try to re-home your pet. Increase your pet’s adoptability and spread the word.
- Set up an online pet profile here through the Petco Foundation and Adopt-a-Pet.
- Give yourself time to re-home your pet. It can often take weeks to months.
- The more people who know your pet needs a new home, the more likely you will find the right home. Tell your friends, family, and co-workers, and ask them to do the same.
- Post your pet’s picture and information on social media or to online neighborhood groups. Ask everyone to share, but be sure to screen potential adopters to make sure that your dog is going to a great and loving home.
- Please have your pet spayed/neutered before re-homing it. This will make your pet more adoptable and keep the pet from contributing to Atlanta’s pet overpopulation problem.
- To learn more about re-homing pets, visit this Best Friends resource page
- Try to find a rescue group. Visit SPOTsociety.org to see a list of Atlanta-based rescue groups. These groups are made up of volunteers who are trying to save a lot of animals with very limited resources, so an offer of a significant monetary donation to help cover food, shelter, and any medical expenses will go a long way toward helping your pet get the resources he needs. Please be patient when waiting for a return call; it might take a few days.
If you live in Fulton or DeKalb County and still want to surrender your pet, please call the shelter and speak to an Animal Help Specialist to make an appointment.