Surrendering your pet

We know it's not an easy decision to surrender your pet. Life throws us curveballs, and there are many reasons you may no longer be able to care for your pet. We're here to help!

Surrender prevention options

Our Community Solutions program is here to increase access to pet services so that we can keep pets with those who love them. Before you begin the surrendering process, see how we can help.


We recommend first trying to find your pet a new home without bringing them to the shelter. Rehoming directly to a new family can be less stressful for you and your pet.

Surrender process

We understand that in some cases, surrendering your pet is the best option. We are here to assist you and give your pet the best care. There is never a time limit on how long we’ll care for an animal before they find a new loving home.

You will need an appointment to surrender your pet unless you adopted your pet from us in the last 30 days. To make an appointment, you can call us at 828-761-2001 ext 316, or schedule a time online to speak with our staff.


AHS is contracted by the County to care for the animals and provide services to the residents of Buncombe County. As a result, we are unable to take in animals from outside of our County.

There is a $25 relinquishment fee.

You can expect your appointment to last at least 30 minutes.

When an animal is surrendered to AHS, ownership as well as all legal rights to that animal are transferred to AHS. We will immediately begin to move your animal through our system to minimize their time in a shelter environment. Relinquishing a pet is an extremely difficult decision to make. We understand that sometimes circumstances may change and you may want to reclaim or adopt your pet. While we are unable to guarantee that you will be able to get your pet back or that your pet will still be in our custody, you are always welcome to call the Buncombe County Animal Shelter at (828) 250-6430 and speak with one of our staff members about this.

We are fortunate that we do not have to euthanize for space or time; however, we humanely euthanize medically or behaviorally compromised animals that we cannot treat or rehabilitate within our resources. We strive to ensure that every animal entrusted to us is given the quality of life they deserve – a life worth living.

You will need to bring vet records for your pet, a driver’s license, and proof of Buncombe County residency.

The health and wellbeing of every animal in our care is of the utmost importance to us. We strive to provide all of our animals with the absolute best care possible in a shelter setting. It is important to remember that due to the volume of animals that we receive, even the most well-run shelters can be stressful environments for animals. This is why we encourage you to use our rehoming services, reserving surrender to AHS as a last resort. While your pet is here, they will be evaluated medically and behaviorally to ensure that they are healthy and can safely be placed in the community. Animals are then made available for adoption or in some cases transported to one of our shelter partners for adoption.