Giving Up Your Own Pet

Douglas County Animal Control does not accept unwanted pets. It is recommended that if you’re planning to move to always inquire as to if the new landlord allows pets. If not and you plan to re-home the animal, owners are urged to advertise the animal themselves to ensure that their pet is going to a good home. Leaving the animal with a rescue or humane organization should be your very last resort if you have to give up a pet because of the volume of animals they receive. You may call the animal shelter for contact information for the various rescue and humane organizations. You can also Google “Atlanta Rescue Groups” for additional information. There is a local directory for metro Atlanta rescue groups at Owners can search either by dog or cat rescue, and can search for groups that rescue specific breeds as well.

Abandonment of an Animal

Penalty in the City of Douglasville will be a fine of up to $800 and up to 6 months in jail.  Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00), nor more than eight hundred dollars ($800.00), and public service work not to exceed one hundred (100) hours (work to be performed at the animal shelter). If such violation is continued, each day’s violation shall be a separate offense.

Finding a Responsible Home for Your Pet

You can make sure your pet will be cared for if you can’t keep her.  Do you feel you can no longer keep your pet and want to find a new home for him or her? Perhaps you are frustrated with a behavior problem. Or your child has pet allergies. Or you are having trouble finding rental housing that accepts your pet.

Step One: Step back and reevaluate the situation

Many pet-related problems can be frustrating, and you may feel that relinquishing your pet is the only solution. But before you take that drastic step, be aware of the wealth of resources available to help pet owners such as yourself deal with problems that can seem overwhelming.

Behavior problems

If you are dealing with a pet behavior problem, consider first consulting with your veterinarian. Many problems may be due to a treatable medical condition. For example, a housetrained pet may begin urinating in the house due to a urinary tract infection rather than a behavior problem. Your veterinarian will be able to rule out any physical cause of the problem and may also be able to refer you to an animal behaviorist or trainer in your community who has the experience and expertise to help address your pet’s behavior problem.

There are also many resources on our website that offer helpful tips on solving pet behavior problems. Read our cat and dog behavior tips.

Reach out to our friends at Clever Canidae for training tips at

Housing problems

In a recent study, “moving” and “landlord won’t allow” were among the top reasons for the relinquishment of pets to shelters. If you are moving and are having trouble finding animal-friendly housing, or are experiencing other pet-related housing difficulties, please see our resources »

Allergies or other health problems

Do you or a family member have a health problem (for example, an allergy or an infection that weakens the immune system) that makes it difficult to keep your pet? Has a physician actually recommended you give up your pet? Before taking such a drastic step, read our information on how you can help an allergic or immunocompromised person keep their pet without sacrificing their health or comfort.Step Two: Ensure your pet has a safe and caring new home

Getting help from shelters and rescue groups

If you ultimately decide that you cannot keep your pet, you have several options.

A great resource is your local animal shelter. Most shelters screen potential adopters to make sure that they will be able to provide a safe, responsible, and loving home for your pet.

The easiest place to start your search for your local animal shelter is online at Here you can enter your zip code and find a list of animal shelters, animal control agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community. You may also want to look in your phone book. Public animal care and control agencies are often listed under the city or county health department or police department. You can also call information at 411.

If you have a dog of a specific breed, there may be a breed rescue organization in your area that will accept him and work to find him a new home. Purebred rescue groups are usually run by people with in-depth knowledge of a specific breed. Rescue groups usually keep adoptable animals until they can be placed in loving, permanent homes. To locate a rescue group that specializes in your dog’s breed, contact your local animal shelter or go to
In some cases, breed rescues only work with animal shelters and may not accept pets directly from owners. Be sure to find out as much as you can about the rescue group, and always carefully screen a breed rescue organization before relinquishing your pet. You should make sure the current animal residents appear well cared for, that the group screens potential adopters, and that the group offers post-adoption support services. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
You can also contact rescue groups and request a courtesy post. Many times, this entails keeping the pet in your home while the rescue group advertises your pet on its website and The group may allow you to bring your pet to an adoption event. Some organizations will provide you with information about the adoption process and application, and even allow you to approve the potential adopter. Check with your local rescue group for their specific policies and procedures regarding courtesy posts.

Finding a responsible home on your own

If you decide to try to find a new home for your pet yourself, rather than relying upon a local animal shelter or rescue organization, be sure the animal’s best interests remain your top priority. Finding a new home for a pet can be difficult. A “good” home means a home where the animal will live for the rest of his or her life, where he or she will receive attention, veterinary care, and proper nutrition, and be treated as part of the family.

If you choose to find a home for your pet yourself, follow these guidelines:

  • Advertise through friends, neighbors, and local veterinarians first; then try the newspaper, if all else fails. Your chances of finding a good home are increased when you check references with someone you know. 

  • Adopt Me BandannaTake every opportunity to physically showcase dogshave them accompany you to pet stores, parks, community events, and other pet-friendly venues wearing an Adopt Me scarf (available for purchase locally at

  • Visit the prospective new home in order to get a feel for the environment in which your pet will be living. Explain that the pet is part of your family and that you want to make sure she will be cared for properly and that you want to see how the animal responds to the new home. Screen potential homes carefully. 
  • Don’t be fooled. If anyone refuses to allow you to visit their home, do not place your pet with them. Individuals known as “bunchers” routinely answer “free to good home” ads, posing as people who want family pets when, in actuality, they sell pets to animal dealers who in turn sell animals to institutions for invasive experiments. These people are “professionals” who may even bring children or their mothers with them when picking up pets. 
  • Always be mindful of your own safety when you go to interview potential adopters or if you allow a prospective adopter to enter your home. 
  • Carefully consider all the elements of the new home: Will your pet get along with small children? Is the family planning to keep the dog chained outside as a watch dog? Will the cat be kept only as a mouser? Does the family have a veterinary reference? Do not be shy about asking questions. Your pet’s life and happiness may depend on it. 
  • Ask for a valid form of identification (preferably a driver’s license). Record the number for your records and require the new owner to sign a contract stating the requirements of adoption upon which both parties agree. As part of the contract, require the new owner to contact you if he or she decides at some point that they must give up the pet. 
  • Have your pet neutered or spayed before he or she goes to the new home. This will make the animal more adoptable and help stop irresponsible breeding. 
  • If your pet is chronically ill or has behavior problems, it may be difficult to find him a suitable home. A new owner may not be willing or able to deal with these issues, and it may also be difficult for the pet to adjust to a new home. The decision to humanely euthanize such a pet should not be made without thoughtful input from a veterinarian, a behaviorist, and the family, based on how well they believe their companion would adapt to a new home.

Finding a quality home for your pet can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Remember: Your local animal shelter has a qualified staff trained to screen and counsel adopters. Relinquishing your pet to your local shelter may be the best option for you and your pet.

The Douglas County Humane Society does not have a shelter nor do we operate one.  Our mission is to find good homes for animals that are in need of a new home and to those in foster care.  If you own or have found a dog, cat or other animals that you would need to re-home and are able to provide a home to the animal in the interim then please POST a picture with as many details as possible (age, weight, health, vet info, temperament with kids/other aniamls, reason for rehoming) direct to our FACEBOOK page at