Surrendering an Animal

First, you should know that we may have resources available for you so you do not have to give up your pet! Please call us at 410.836.1090 x105 and speak to an adoption counselor who can discuss these options with you. We have a pet food bank, free behavior resources, low cost veterinary or spay/neuter referrals, list of pet-friendly rentals, and we can even loan or give you training aids, crates, or other items that will help keep your pet in your loving home, plus many more options!

However, if you have exhausted all options and need to surrender your pet to HSHC, you must:

  • Be a current resident of Harford County. We are not able to accept surrendered animals from residents of other counties.
  • Be able to provide proof that you are the owner of the pet. We cannot legally accept a pet from anyone other than the owner. Proof of ownership could be vet records, bill of sale, or adoption records in your name. You will be required to sign a legally binding contract stating that you are the owner. If you cannot provide proof of ownership we will not accept the pet.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Have a valid state-issued photo ID card and allow us to make a photocopy.
  • Call 410-836-1090 x105 to make an appointment. When we know when to expect you, we can dedicate our time to helping you and your pet, making the whole process as smooth as possible for all of us. Appointments are scheduled Monday through Friday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Provide as much information as possible about the animal, including veterinary records. All information will help us to evaluate and care for your pet. You will be asked to complete a multi-page personality profile.
  • Allow at least 30-45 minutes for the surrender process.

By surrendering your animal, you forfeit all rights, title and interest in the animal to The Humane Society of Harford County, and the animal becomes our property. At the time of surrender, you will be required to sign a transfer of ownership document that is legally binding. We cannot guarantee a home for every animal nor can we guarantee to keep any animal at the shelter for any specific period of time. If the animal is deemed to be adoptable we will do everything we can to find a loving new home for him/her, however, euthanasia may be the final outcome for the animal if deemed appropriate or if space is not available. We tell you this not to upset you, but to be completely transparent and honest with you out of respect for you and your pet.

Surrender fees

We request the following intake fees when surrendering one or more animals. These fees help offset the initial cost of any needed vaccinations, vet exam, food, and care. Actual expenses to place a pet into a new home can add up to hundreds of dollars. We are not a government agency, we are a private nonprofit organization, so any additional donations are appreciated.

  • Dog or cat up-to-date on shots and sterilized: $45
  • Dog or cat NOT up-to-date on shots or NOT sterilized: $75
  • Dog/cat litters (mom plus up to three kittens/puppies) $75
  • Each additional kitten/puppy $5
  • Small animals (birds, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, etc.) $25
    We ask that all small animals be surrendered with cage, food, bedding, toys, etc.
  • Small barnyard animals (chickens, geese, ducks, roosters, etc.) $10
  • Medium barnyard animals (goats, sheep, pigs, etc.) $50
  • Large barnyard animals (cows, llamas, horses, goats, etc.) TBD

Please call 410.836.1090 x105 to discuss specifics.

We are unable to release information regarding the final disposition of an animal.

HUMANE Euthanasia

The Humane Society of Harford County provides humane euthanasia services for animals owned by residents of Harford County, who cannot afford this service at a veterinary clinic. Humane euthanasia is carried out by staff members that have been certified in “Euthanasia By Injection.”

We wish our pets could stay with us throughout our lives. How wonderful it would be to grow old with the dogs and cats from our childhood years! Nevertheless, the time comes when we must say goodbye to the pets we hold so dear. Euthanasia often plays a part in that farewell, because compassionate pet owners would never want their furry best friend to suffer. When a pet is critically ill or injured, or their quality of life is greatly diminished by old age, euthanasia is the ultimate act of selfless love.

The decision to euthanize or not is an extremely tough call, and one that unfortunately no one else can make for you. You should talk it over with family members or friends. You can also sit in a quiet place alone with your pet, look into their eyes and ask them what they want you to do. No, you won’t hear them speak out loud, but if you have shared a close bond with your pet, you may “hear” them on another level. Ultimately, it comes down to becoming still and listening to what your heart is telling you. If you do that, you will know that whatever decision you make will be the right one, at the right time.

Appointments for humane euthanasia services are required. Please call 410.836.1090 x105 to make an appointment. Appointments are scheduled between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you must euthanize your injured, ill or aged pet immediately, please contact an emergency animal clinic.

We will require that you provide us with proof of ownership (vet records with your name as owner, purchase receipt, adoption receipt, etc.) for your pet, as we will not euthanize any pet that is not legally yours. The fee for this service is dependent on the animal’s weight as follows:

Leave Deceased Pet at Humane Society
Take Deceased Pet Home
Animals under 25 pounds $ 35 $15
Animals 26-50 pounds $ 70 $30
Animals 51-100 pounds $105 $45
Animals 101 pounds and over $140 $60

General aftercare is by mass cremation through a private contract. We are not able to return the ashes to you. You have the option of taking your beloved pet with you after the euthanasia procedure if you so choose.

We cannot provide owner-attended services. If you wish to remain with your pet at the time of euthanasia, please contact a full-service veterinary clinic.


“Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge…”

The loss of a beloved pet is never easy. It is truly like losing a child, and the pain is very real. You may feel like some do not understand your pain, and some people (even family and friends) may tell you to “get over it.” You might feel guilt, remorse, depression, and other strong and painful emotions. But you are not alone. All of us at HSHC have lost at least one pet in our lives, and we understand the devastation this can bring. Thankfully, there are many resources available for coping with pet loss, including Pet Bereavement Counseling, books, and even wonderful websites like this one.

Explaining all of this to a child can be even harder, but here is an excellent article to help your child(ren) cope with this loss.

They may have left your life, but they will never leave your heart.