It can be a very difficult decision to give up a pet, but we are here to support you. The process may take a little bit of time to ensure you find a loving home that is a good fit for your pet.

1. Prepare Your Pet for Adoption

When you give up a pet, make sure sure your pet is microchipped and spayed or neutered. This increases the chances of your pet finding a new home. Spaying/neutering your pet helps prevent unwanted behaviors, like humping or marking, in their new home. LifeLine offers low-cost spay and neuter services at two locations. Also, your pet can receive vaccinations, a nail trim, and a microchip during surgery. If your pet has long hair, consider getting your pet groomed and bathed to look their very best.

2. Take a Photo and Write a Bio

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the same holds true for pets. When marketing your pet, you’ll want to use a picture that will capture adopters’ attention.

  • Take a clear photo of your pet with good lighting and free from distractions in the background.
  • Capture their smile and personality. With cats, a simple photo of just their face will do.

Next, write a bio highlighting their best characteristics and personality.

  • Do they like treats or toys?
  • If you know how your pet interacts with other pets or children, include that information.
  • If your pet has concerning behavior or special medical needs, save that information for a conversation with adopters instead of including it directly in the bio.

3. Create an Online Profile

Create an online profile with It's easy to use and will get your pet's profile in front of thousands of potential adopters. Adopters who are searching for pets on will see your pet's profile in their search results.

Use the photo you took and bio you wrote in Step 2 on this profile. Rehome will ask you some additional questions about your pet for their profile.

4. Market Your Pet

With your photo, bio and Rehome link ready, share your pet with your friends, relatives and co-workers. Post your pet on NextDoor, your neighborhood social media group and your social media accounts. And ask your friends and followers to share with their friends and followers. Ask veterinarians if you can post a rehoming flyer in their clinic.

Spread the word, and don’t be shy! You never know who may be looking to adopt their new pet. You can even take your dog out on walks with an “Adopt Me” harness or bandana to attract potential adopters. Be patient and don’t lose hope. The right family is out there!

5. Ask a Rescue Group for Help

A rescue group may be willing to take in your pet. Many of these organizations are composed of volunteers with limited resources, so if possible, offer a donation to help cover food, shelter, and especially medical expenses. Please be patient when waiting for a return call as it may take a few days.

Resources for Pet Owners

The best thing for your pet is to remain with the family it loves. Let us help you make that happen!

Why are you considering surrendering your pet?

Can’t afford care
If you're unable to provide food for your pet, call us! (304) 342-1576.

The following local resources are low-cost options for veterinary care:

Fix Charleston: Lower part of the shelter building. 1246 Greenbrier Street, Charleston, WV 25311 | 304-342-5660

Help for Animals: 1 Humane Way | Barboursville, WV 25504 | (304) 736-8555

Lunchbox Foundation for Pets: (304) 286-5553 or (304) 767-8474 | [email protected]

The following national resources provide relief funding to pet owners in need :

  • Banfield Charitable Trust
  • RedRover Relief Grants

Behavior Issues

Food aggression? Destructive chewing? Trouble house breaking? Whatever the behavior is, we’re here to help you correct it (and hopefully keep your pet at home). Just give us a call! (304) 342-1576 ext. 130


If someone in your home has been diagnosed with allergies, consider if you can live with or manage symptoms. Children may outgrow pet allergies, while adults are often able to manage symptoms and keep their pet at home. Consider the following tips to manage pet allergies:

  • Minimize contact with the animal and create an area free of pets, such as the bedroom.
  • Vacuum and clean floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture on a weekly basis.
  • Place a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifier in the home, in addition to filters on vents.
  • Enlist the help of non-allergy-suffering family members to clean the litterbox and pick up after the pet.
  • Frequently wash clothing and bedding materials, including the pet’s bed.
  • Frequently bathe the family pet.
  • Consider removing dander-attracting materials such as upholstered furniture and draperies; replace carpeting with wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl flooring that won't harbor hair and allergen-causing molecules.
  • Consult with your physician to determine the best course of action for your family to live happily with your pet.

Moving/Don’t have adequate housing
See our section on pet-friendly housing under resources.


You don't have to give up your pet just because you're pregnant! In fact, research has proven babies who grow up with multiple animals have fewer allergies! Pets also help children learn, be more nurturing, and more! Learn the benefits of raising children with pets here.

Concerned about bringing home a new baby? With careful planning, you can transition a new baby into your home easily. There are resources and checklists available online!

If Toxoplasmosis is your concern, please see HSUS' article regarding Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy.

Unexpected litter

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem in Kanawha County. Each year, we receive thousands of unwanted puppies and kittens from accidental litters. While we understand these things happen and are willing to help, we need your cooperation. We will accept accidental litters from owners who agree to spay the litter's mother. We also require the litter to be at least eight weeks of age before intake. To surrender an unexpected litter, call (304) 342-1576 ext. 118

How to personally re-home your pet

  • Take high-quality, clear photos of your pet! Outdoor lighting is best, and a great photo will get the most attention by potential adopters.
  • Create your pet's profile by providing breed, sex, age, color, and weight information. You should also include any commands your pet knows and be sure to share any medical/behavior concerns with potential adopters to avoid future problems.
  • Choose a rehoming fee and stick to it! Waive the fee only for family or good friends.
  • Create a flyer with your pet's information. Distribute it at grocery stores and local high-traffic areas. Post it on Facebook, and email it to family, friends, and rescue groups
  • If your pet is purebred, contact breed-specific rescue groups. Breed-specific groups have a solid understanding of breed characteristics, and have the best chance of finding a suitable home. You can locate breed-specific groups on the Internet using search terms such as "German Shepherd Rescue" or "Pomeranian Rescue," for example.
  • If someone is interested, ask plenty of questions to decide if the person's lifestyle sounds like a match for your pet. Don't be afraid to say "no" to potential adopters if something doesn't "feel" right!
  • Once you've found the right match for your pet, follow up after 48 hours and again after 1 week to ensure a smooth transition.

If these alternatives don’t address your situation, please call (304) 342-1576 ext. 118 to begin the process of surrendering your pet to KCHA.