The Vanderburgh Humane Society is an open-admission shelter, which means we don’t turn away owner-surrendered domestic animals who need a place to go based on their circumstances, breed, age, health conditions, etc.

Here is what the pet surrender process looks like here, also known as intake or relinquishment.

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! We would love to talk with you about possible solutions before surrendering, if there are any. Check out our Behavior Tips page for help with common pet-related issues before requesting an appointment!

But if you’re ultimately still 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. 

The Process

Intakes are scheduled by appointment on Tuesdays-Saturdays only. 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 schedule an appointment by submitting an online request using the buttons below. Please note that you most likely will not get a same-day appointment. You must plan ahead if you need to surrender your pet, and contact us as soon as possible.

Request a Dog Surrender AppointmentRequest a Cat Surrender Appointment Request a Rabbit Surrender Appointment Request an Exotic Surrender Appointment Request a Bird Surrender Appointment

If you do not have computer/Internet access, you may call (812) 426-2563 and dial the option for the Intake Department.

Once your request form is submitted, we will contact you to schedule a surrender appointment. Our capacity is limited. Submitting this form or leaving a phone message does NOT guarantee that we can accept your surrender immediately. We will contact you at the phone number or email address you provide to make an appointment.

VHS Intake Department Hours:

Tuesday – Saturday (excluding major holidays)
10:00 am – 3:00 pm by APPOINTMENT ONLY
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.

Dog Personality Profile Cat Personality ProfileRabbit/Small Animal Personality Profile

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.)

What to do if you find an injured stray pet:

In case of emergency such as a life-threatening animal health crisis or orphaned nursing kitten or puppy (read info here before disturbing found kittens!), please call or walk in during Intake Department hours rather than submitting an online request. VHS cannot legally pick up animals from the field or investigate suspected cruelty or neglect.

If you are unable to transport an animal, or if an emergency occurs while our intakes department is closed, please contact Evansville Animal Care & Control.

Evansville Animal Care & Control Location & Hours: 
815 Uhlhorn St, Evansville, IN 47710
(812) 435-6015
Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed Sundays)

If you find a stray pet after business hours, call 911. An Animal Control Officer is available 24/7 and Central Dispatch can help you. 

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 above the national "no-kill" threshold (90% or higher) for several years, we do not refer to ourselves as 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

The Fees

Adoption fees only cover a small portion of the costs of caring for an animal. Each animal we take in costs the shelter around $250 just in basic care. In most cases, the expenses are much higher than that. Therefore we must charge a small surrender fee to help offset the expense of caring for your pet.

Surrender Fees:

  • Dogs and cats from Vanderburgh County: $30 each
  • *Litter of kittens or puppies (under 6 months) from Vanderburgh County: $50 for the whole litter (can include Mom)
  • Other species (rabbits, ferrets, rodents, birds, reptiles, etc.): Fees vary.

Fees can be paid using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or cash. No checks please.

*Did your pet accidentally have puppies or kittens? Find out how to get the surrender fee waived and free spay surgery... ask us about our Last Litter Program!

Peace of Mind Program

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.

Rehoming Options

If your pet is spayed or neutered, there is a resource available that may help you rehome them without having to surrender them to a shelter. Rehome by is a service that allows people to list their own pets for adoption alongside shelter pets. You can create a profile for them and add photos & videos, and thousands of potential adopters will see them in search results. Get more information on Rehome here!

*Please note that the Rehome service cannot be used for animals originally adopted from VHS. Per your adoption contract, they must be returned to our facility for rehoming.*