Surrendering your pet to Stafford Animal Shelter

We understand that sometimes there are circumstances that may prevent you from being able to keep your animal and we are here to help. Stafford Animal Shelter is honored you would entrust us to take care of your pet but we have some suggestions to try before you bring them into the shelter.

Are you having behavior or house soiling issues?

Please consult a veterinarian or dog/cat trainer, these unwanted behaviors may be a result of an underlying health issue or require simple behavior modifications.  Professionals may help you remedy the problems you initially thought were untreatable.

Our colleagues at Animal Humane Society have a reference page with advice for the most common cat and dog behavior issues:

Temporary hardship, domestic violence or natural disaster?

Stafford Animal Shelter has low-cost emergency boarding for up to 30 days (subject to available space) when community members experience hardship due to domestic violence, wildfires, flooding etc…  Please call 406-222-2111 for information on temporary boarding and fees. We also have a pet food pantry and supply closet where we offer free or low-cost food, collars, medications, toys etc.. to help our community keep their pets.  Please stop at the shelter during business hours to see what supplies are available.   We also have 2 funds earmarked to help with unexpended veterinary costs,  The Veterinary Assistance Fund and the Senior Assistance Fund.  Please call our Executive Director Steve Leach at 406-222-1311 for more information and to receive the application for financial assistance (when available)

Have you tried rehoming your pet privately?

Nobody knows your pet better than you! You can provide the best description of their personality and pictures of them in a home setting. Additionally, you would be most knowledgeable when talking to a potential new owner about whether the animal would be a good fit for them. Rehoming your pet this way allows them to stay at home in comfortable surroundings while you select the home that you think will be the best for them.

  • Give yourself time to re-home your pet. It can often take weeks to months to find the best home.
  • Increase your pet’s adoptability by having it spayed or neutered and groomed. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations.
  • Spread the word to increase your chances of finding the right home for your pet. Ask your friends, family and co-workers to help. Bulletin boards at the office or social media can be a great place to share this information to network with acquaintances. Ask local vets if you can hang flyers or if they may know a good match.
  • Rehoming to someone you know is best, but not always possible. Use caution when considering unknown individuals or families as your pet’s new owners. Hold the initial meeting in a public place and ask questions to screen potential adopters. (Are there other pets in the house? Have you established a relationship with a veterinarian? Do you have a fenced-in yard? How many hours a day will the animal be left alone? What will you do if you can no longer keep this pet?)
  • Share your expectations for your pet’s new home. If you wish to stay in touch with your pet’s new family, make that clear up front.
  • Contact breed-specific or foster-based rescue groups. Rescue groups that focus on caring for and helping families re-home a specific breed are available for almost any type of dog. Organized by people who have extensive knowledge of a specific breed, these groups provide a variety of opportunities for your pet, including the possibility of your pet staying in foster care until a new home is found.
  • Never abandon your animal. Stafford Animal Shelter is an open-door shelter and we will accept any animal for any reason.

Surrendering Process at Stafford Animal Shelter

If you have exhausted all your options and you choose to surrender,  we know what a difficult decision that is and we will be here to support you and your pet.  We have created a private “family room” where you can surrender your pet with privacy and dignity, free from judgment and the public eye.  In order to offer this, we require that you make an appointment to surrender your pet so we can better be prepared for their arrival.  We believe in a managed intake approach so we can avoid overcrowding and ensure we have the resources to meet the needs of all our animals.  We do not euthanize for time, space or overcrowding and we can continue to do so if we properly plan for the arrival of surrendered pets and transfers.   We understand that emergent situations may occur and we will never turn down an animal.

In order to surrender your pet,  please download a dog surrender profilecat surrender profile or zoo critter surrender profile and email it to  We will communicate with you to set up an appointment time that will work.  We accept scheduled surrender appointments Wednesday-Sunday 1:00 to 4:00 (no surrenders on Saturday).  Please call 406-222-2111 with any questions.

On the day you surrender,  please have a copy of your photo ID,  your animal’s current medical records and have your animal restrained in a carrier (no trapped animals accepted) or with a collar and leash.  We accept all animals in need so please inform us ahead of time if your animal has a bite history, aggression or an untreatable illness and we may make special accommodations for you.

Surrender Fee is $75 (will be reduced to $25 when you schedule your appointment). 

These fees go to offset the cost of care for your animal while we help them find a new home.  Animals at SAS on average cost $25 a day to care for so any donation above the surrender fee is greatly appreciated.

Leave a Reply