Pets Community Orgs

Humane Association Sees Rise in Animal Surrenders, Encourages Alternatives

what to know, and what to do, before surrendering your animal

Kelly Carlson |

DON'T PANIC. Here are some options instead of surrendering your pet, and some resources if that's your only option. (Photo via Unsplash)
DON'T PANIC. Here are some options instead of surrendering your pet, and some resources if that's your only option. (Photo via Unsplash)

Owning an animal is not always easy. While a cute, exciting, and lively addition to the family, deep love is nurtured through proper care — something becoming increasingly expensive. After a boom in adoptees during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Eau Claire County Humane Association now faces a wave of people looking to re-home their pets. 

“Imagine how much it takes to care for your pet: walks, food, maybe medications, vet visits, cleaning, potty training,” said Addie Erdmann, marketing and development director for ECCHA. As foster care volunteers and staff members currently care for over 150 animals with already stressed resources, surrender appointments continue to be booked out for months at the local shelter. 

“Some of the most common (reasons for surrendering) we see are ‘moving’ and ‘can’t take them with,’ landlord issues, or major life changes such as divorce, a new job … (or) behavioral or medical issues as well,” Erdmann said. 

As the world moves back to normal routines and the cost of living continue to rise, fitting an animal into the mix can get tricky. The public should know that ECCHA won’t have room for a surrendered pet without an appointment. If you’re feeling lost, check out these alternative resources for rehoming: 

  1. Reach out to family or friends to see if anyone is looking for a new furry friend. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.
  2. Don’t leave out the details! Let folks know what your pet does and doesn’t like and save them more pain in the home transition.
  3. Check out Adopt a Pet or other online resources.
  4. If worried about behavioral or medical issues, talk to your vet to see if any medications could help.
  5. Visit for more resources and advice from the local shelter.

"Perhaps the most important thing is remembering that you are not a bad parent for having to come to this tough decision,” Erdmann said. “We understand that life circumstances happen.” Here is some advice from ECCHA in case surrendering is your last option: 

  1. “Plan ahead of time even if it may not come to having to surrender.” 
  2. “Fill our surrender paperwork as thoroughly and as detailed as possible. This will help us know what type of home would be best.” 
  3. “While you wait for your appointment, try rehoming your pet with friends or family. Our biggest goal is to try and prevent an animal from coming into the stressful environment of the shelter.” 
  4. “On your appointment day, please bring vet records, surrender paperwork, microchip ID (if they have one), and anything else you think would make them more comfortable at the shelter. It could be a blanket, a favorite toy, special food, or their favorite treats.” 

Rest assured, “(ECCHA is) going to give the best care possible to your furry friend and (will) make sure they go to a home you would be proud of.” 

Visit for more information and resources.