Giving up a pet is a tough decision.

Working with animal shelters should be viewed as a last resort for you and your pet. Not only are Chicagoland area shelters overflowing with hundreds of incoming animals every day, but they can also be a very stressful environment for pets accustomed to living in a permanent home.  If you want to ensure that your pet does not become one of the thousands of dogs and cats that will be killed this year, do your homework before surrendering your pet to a shelter.

Here are a few tips on how to determine if a shelter is committed to the life of each pet admitted:

  • Does the shelter call itself No Kill? If so, your pet will most likely be adopted into a new home. If not, this is a strong indicator that the shelter utilizes killing as a space management tool.  What is the shelter’s definition of “adoptable” and “unadoptable”?

  • Before placing an animal on the adoption floor, some shelters may categorize whether an animal is “adoptable” or “unadoptable.” These categorizations are defined differently within each institution. And while your pet may appear perfectly adoptable to you, sometimes age (too young or too old), dental issues, shyness, or coming down with a common cold will fall outside a shelter’s “adoptable” guidelines and may lead to your pet’s death. Clarifying how a shelter defines these terms will give you better insight as to whether your pet will be adopted into a new home or killed.

  • Do you have to make an appointment to surrender your pet? It is a good indication that shelters are committed to the life of every animal when they only admit by appointment. Shelters that accept “walk-ins” are most likely killing to make space for the unmanaged flow of animals into their facility.

  • Read the fine print! In surrender/relinquishment contracts, it is important to read all fine print before you sign over ownership of your pet. Often, critical information about euthanasia/killing policies can be found here.

  • If a situation arises, will the shelter call you before they kill your pet? When a shelter reserves euthanasia only for pets that are irremediably suffering or for incidences of aggression, euthanasia is a rare occurrence that is taken very seriously. As a result, these No Kill shelters will often be willing to contact you if such a situation arises. If a shelter is unwilling to inform you of potential euthanasia, it may be an indication that the shelter commonly utilizes killing.

  • If the shelter refers to itself as Low Kill it simply means that they do all they can to place every “adoptable” animal that comes into the shelter, however, most Low Kill shelters have to take all animals and cannot choose. Low Kill shelters do not have a time limit on an animal’s stay, and an adoptable animal will not be euthanized to make room for another. The instances where they may have to euthanize are: the animal is too sick or injured (beyond medical treatment), medical treatment cost outweighs the likelihood of adoption, unadoptable due to aggression or failed temperament, unadoptable or suffering due to severe kennel stress

Finding A Local Shelter – If your only choice is giving up your pet to a shelter, here are some local resources that may be able to offer assistance.

  • No Kill Networks – Consult, or CARE for a list of no-kill shelters in your area.

  • Adopt-a-Pet Self Rehome Option & Resources — Rehoming your pet should be easy and stress-free both for you and your pet. Experts at have created a simple, reliable, free program to help you place your pet from your loving home directly to another. Visit

  • Other Resources, including other Local Shelters — You can find other local rescues, along with animal control facilities and some breed/species specific rescues on our WCHS Contact Resources document.

Surrendering Your Pet to Will County Humane Society

Founded with the No Kill mission at heart, we are committed to each and every pet in our care.  And we are committed to our pets for their entire lives.  If anything should happen where their adopters can no longer care for them, we ask that they are returned to us.

PLEASE NOTE: Owner surrenders are considered on a case-by-case basis. Intake availability varies based on space, vaccination/testing status and those currently waiting.


Surrender Fee

We ask that families giving up their pets provide a Surrender Fee to help cover the cost of caring for, treating and finding a quality home for your pet.  Surrender Fees are:

– $100 per dog

-$50 per cat

Each pet we save costs an average of $500 over our adoption fee per year in vet costs, food, and shelter. Surrender Fees only cover a small part of the cost of taking in your pet.

Surrender Form

Please submit this application along with your pets medical records.

Once your application is submitted, management will contact you once intake space becomes available.

You will be required to schedule a meeting with management to review your pet's medical history and evaluate their behavior. If approved, a surrender fee will be taken upon intake.

Owners Personal Information

Pet Information

Friend, Shelter, Pet Store, etc.

Vet Information

REMINDER: A complete set of vet records is required to be submitted with this form.
Click or drag files to this area to upload. You can upload up to 20 files.