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(Photo by Rosanna Piazza)

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Giving Up a Pet

Sometimes pet owners need some extra help to overcome challenges that threaten their ability to keep their pets in their homes. In New York City, there are organizations that can help you explore potential solutions before you permanently surrender your pet, or take him/her into their care should surrender be the best option.

Pet Retention Programs

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC)

If you think you need to surrender your pet, contact the Owner Surrender Service at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC). While ACC never turns away a pet in need, they first try to work with pet owners to find solutions to help them keep their pets in their homes.

Healthy Pets Project of NYC

Healthy Pets Project of NYC offers free spay/neuter services, pet food, and supplies for low-income pet owners, and assistance to those facing financial hardship due to a veterinary emergency, with the goal of keeping pets in their homes. Applicants are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and must meet certain criteria.


PAWS NY services are designed to help clients overcome the physical and financial limitations they face caring for their animal companions.  If you are a senior or someone with an illness or disability, and you are struggling with the day-to-day care of your pet, PAWS NY might be able to assist.  PAWS NY's focus is on physical assistance; they are unable to provide financial assistance. They evaluate each client on a case-by-case basis and offer services accordingly.

If You Must Give Up Your Pet…

If your circumstances are such that you absolutely cannot keep your pet or find him/her a new home, ACC will accept the pet. ACC charges a relinquishment fee of $10 per animal with an appointment, or $35 without an appointment. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, be sure to tell the ACC representative up front.

If you do not need to relinquish your pet immediately, reach out to other local animal shelters or rescue groups. Rememeber that many organizations have waiting lists to accept new animals into their adoption programs.

To request an appointment with a shelter or rescue group for an assessment of your pet, send a concise email with a good photo of your pet, and a video, if available, which shows your pet. Provide a brief description of your pet that includes his/her name, age, weight, and whether your pet has been spayed or neutered and is up to date on vaccinations. Be sure to include your email address and phone number. Do not go into a long explanation of why you need to relinquish your pet.

Suggested organizations you might try first:

Dogs & Cats

Animal Haven

Phone: (212) 274-8511


Phone: (212) 876-7700, x5



Phone: 1-866-262-8133

The Humane Society of New York

Phone: (212) 752-4842

Posh Pets Rescue




City Critters, Inc.



Rabbit Rescue & Rehab/NYC Metro Rabbit

Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC)

Bunnies and Beyond

All About Rabbits

Long Island Rabbit Rescue

House Rabbit Society


Long Island Parrot Society

Northeast Avian Rescue

Exotics & "Pocket Pets"

Sean Casey Animal Rescue