Surrendering an Animal

Surrendering your pet can be a very difficult decision to make. We would like you to know that we understand how hard it can be to relinquish a beloved pet and we appreciate your choice to surrender your animal responsibly so that he or she will be humanely cared for.

In order to surrender your animal to The Humane Society of Harford County, we ask for several things:

  • You MUST be a resident of Harford County. We are not able to accept surrendered animals from residents of other counties.
  • Please call 410-836-1090, x109 or 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.
  • Kindly provide as much information as possible about the animal including veterinary records. All information will help us to evaluate and care for your pet.
  • Please bring a photo ID (such as a driver’s license) with you.
  • You must be 18 years or older to surrender an animal and you must provide proof of ownership (veterinary records, etc.).

After your pet is surrendered, our qualified shelter technician staff will carefully evaluate your pet. The evaluation is based on a variety of factors, foremost of which are the animal’s health and temperament. Animals deemed adoptable will become available for adoption as soon as any needed vaccinations are given.

Your decision to give up a pet is final and irrevocable. By surrendering an animal, you forfeit all rights, title and interest in the animal to The Humane Society of Harford County. 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.

Surrender fee

We request the following intake fee when surrendering one or more animals. Actual expenses to place a pet into a new home can often add up to hundreds of dollars. Your additional donation is 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 3 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.
  • Barnyard animals (chickens, geese, ducks, roosters, etc.) $10
  • Barnyard animals (goats, sheep, pigs, etc.) $50
  • Large animals such as cows, llamas, horses, goats, etc. TBD

Please call 410.836.1090 x105 to discuss specifics.

Due to the high volume of calls we receive, we are unable to accept calls or release information regarding the final disposition of an animal.


Deciding when to let your pet go is a difficult decision. We certainly understand.

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 could well be 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, with your vet and with friends too if you so choose. 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.

The Humane Society of Harford County provides humane euthanasia services for animals owned by members of the community. Euthanasia is carried out by staff members that have been certified in “Euthanasia By Injection” under the provisions established by American Humane.

Please call 410.836.1090 x109 or x105 to make an euthanasia appointment for your pet. Normally, we can schedule an appointment between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We 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.

If you must euthanize your injured, ill or aged pet and we are closed, please contact your veterinarian or an emergency animal clinic.

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.

The Rainbow Bridge

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

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….”

-Author Unknown