Surrenders

The Vanderburgh Humane Society is an open-admission shelter, which means we don’t ever turn away owner-surrendered animals who need a place to go. If you’re unable to keep your animal, no matter what county you live in, the VHS is here for you with open-minded Intake Counselors and a compassionate animal care team.

  • Are You Sure?

    Please consider your decision carefully. Shelters can be stressful places for some animals. More often than not, no matter what the situation, your pet would rather be with you than anywhere else. Even if you may feel like you’re an inadequate home or don’t have much time, there are almost always adjustments that can be made to benefit everyone.

    Check out our Behavior Tips page for help with common pet-related issues before you decide to surrender!

  • The Process

    Intakes are scheduled by appointment. This helps us ensure that we have ample time to complete exams, vaccinations, and paperwork for each incoming animal and so that we can have clean, open cages ready for their arrival. You can request an appointment by calling (812) 426-2563 and dialing the option for the Intake Department.

    Intake Hours

    Tuesday – Saturday (excluding major holidays)
    9:00 am – 3:00 pm by appointment

    Rear lobby

    Be sure to bring a valid photo ID. When you arrive with your pet, you will be asked to fill out a personality profile. You can download these in advance below and bring them with you.

    Our Intake Counselors will go over these profiles with you to make sure we have the best possible understanding about why you are surrendering your pet.

    Please bring any vaccination or vet records you have for your pet, any previous microchip registrations, and any favorite toys, blankets, or treats you wish them to have during their stay.

    When you surrender your animal, you sign a legal binding contract transferring ownership of the animal to us. We do not release any information about the animal to previous owners once this contract has been signed unless owners participate in the Peace of Mind or POM Program (see below.)

  • Euthanasia Policy

    The Vanderburgh Humane Society does occasionally have to euthanize shelter animals with significant health or behavioral issues. We do not have a time limit, and our goal is to avoid euthanizing healthy, adoptable animals for lack of space. While our live release rate has been in above 85% for several years, we are not a “no-kill” shelter. Those usually don’t really exist. 

    The current policy we follow is:

    • We provide euthanasia for shelter animals if they come into our shelter seriously ill or injured or become seriously ill or injured during their stay. The VHS provides medical treatment (treatment for heartworms, upper respiratory, mange, abscesses, and other conditions or injuries) to hundreds of animals every year. Unfortunately, due to space/resource limitations, not every unhealthy animal can be treated.
    • We are not able to place animals that are human-aggressive.
    • Aggression toward other animals is considered, on an individual basis, as a factor in deciding whether an animal is adoptable. If deemed dangerous to other animals, these animals may be euthanized to protect other pets.
    • There are also times when more animals come in than we can humanely house, due to both space limitations and expense.


    Euthanasia is always performed via humane IV (intravenous) or IP (intraperitoneal) injection with at least two staff members present.

    Euthanasia Policy

    Click here to download our full euthanasia policy.

     Download PDF
  • The Fees

    Each animal we take in costs around $200 just in basic care. In most cases, the expenses are much higher than that. Adoption fees only cover a small portion of these costs, so we must charge a surrender fee to help offset the expense of caring for your pet.

    Fees for Individual Animals from Vanderburgh County:
    • $15 per dog, cat, rabbit, or ferret
    • $5 per guinea pig, gerbil, hamster, or mouse
    • Fees vary for birds, pigs, & reptiles
    Fee for Litters from Vanderburgh County:
    • $25 per litter of puppies*, kittens, or rabbits (includes mother)


    All fees are doubled for outside Vanderburgh County! 

    Fees can be paid using cash, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. No personal checks or American Express.

    *Did your pet accidentally have puppies or kittens? Find out how to get the surrender fee waived and free spay surgery through our Yo Mama Program

  • Peace of Mind Option

    Our Intake Department offers an alternative surrender option called “Peace of Mind” or POM. The fee for this program is $75 per animal. Under the POM program:

    • You may call and check on your former pet’s well-being at any time during business hours.
    • Our Adoption Counselors will call you within 24 hours when your former pet is adopted or sent to rescue.
    • If for any reason your former pet is at risk of euthanasia, we will contact you and you may reclaim them within 24 hours.