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Surrendering Your Pet

Surrendering your pet to a shelter should be a last resort, not a first option. 


Surrendering your pet can be a stressful and emotional time for your family. To improve services for citizens surrendering a pet while more effectively managing the admission of pets into Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement (GCACE), we require owners to schedule an appointment to surrender their pet.

ACE will providing resources to support and assist citizens who are faced with relinquishment of a pet. Scheduling the admission of the pet at the shelter will improve our level of service to citizens through a more streamlined and organized process while improving care and positive outcomes for pets.

GCACE will be able to more effectively prepare for the intake and care of these pets, and GCACE staff will be allowed a window in which to work with pet owners to solve their pet problems so that, if possible, owners and their pets may stay together.

Pet owners seeking low-cost, end-of-life humane euthanasia services for their pet shall not be subject to this policy. These pets shall be admitted without an appointment. 



What is appointment based intake?
Appointment Based intake is a form of managed intake to better serve the community and the animals in our care. With this type of intake process, the citizens that are faced with relinquishment of their pet will have a qualified shelter personnel assist with any pet related concerns and provide rehoming resources for those who do not want to surrender the pet to the shelter.  If surrendering is the only option, we will schedule an appointment for intake of the pet. The owners will be provided with the surrender forms prior to the appointment date for completion. This will decrease the wait time and inconvenience of the lengthy surrender process.    

Why is Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement changing the intake of surrendered pets?
Animal Care and Enforcement would like to provide better customer service to the citizens of the county and to ensure that we provide the best care for the animals at the shelter.  With appointment based intake, the shelter staff will be able to properly assist the citizens with the needed resources for rehoming the pets and assistance with any pet related concerns. Owners will be able to complete the required paperwork prior to the scheduled surrender time to minimize the time to surrender a pet.

With open surrender hours used previously, the staff do not have the time to properly assist citizens or their pets. The citizens experienced long wait times and the number of animals surrendered exceeded our ability to provide the required and necessary care of each animal in the shelter, and increased diseases in the shelter due to overcrowding. This results in unnecessary euthanasia of animals.

When are the scheduled times of owner surrender appointments?
Appointments for surrender will be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 pm to 3 pm.  The appointment should be approximately 5 minutes per animal. 

How do I schedule an appointment to surrender my pet?
To schedule an appointment, contact Animal Care and Enforcement at 704.922.8677 from 9 am-5 pm M-F to speak to a records specialist to begin the process.  The staff will ask important questions to determine the reason of relinquishment and your pet’s information. The staff will then provide you with resources on rehoming your pet, spay/neuter resources, and other pet related resources that may help prevent surrender of your pet to the shelter. The staff will then schedule an appointment for the shelter staff to follow up with the owner the following day to help manage the pet population in the shelter to increase the chances of a suitable outcome for the pet.

Is there any forms that need to be completed before I surrender my pet?
Yes. Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement has 2 forms that are required to surrender a pet to the shelter.

  • The Owner Surrender Form asks required information about you and the pet you are surrendering.  You will need to fully complete the form and bring it with you on the date of your appointment.
  • The Dog Questionnaire and Cat Questionnaire covers all of behavioral and health questions about your pet. This information allows the shelter to have vital information to be able to properly place your pet in a new home or rescue.

Is there anything else I must bring with me to the surrender appointment?
GCACE requires all citizens to show proof of residency in Gaston County along with you legal identification. Forms of legal identification that are accepted are a valid NC driver’s license with your Gaston county address, a valid passport with your Gaston county address, or military id with your Gaston county address.

Your pet’s veterinary records are also appreciated.  A complete medical history of your pet allows the shelter to properly place your pet in a new home or rescue.

How many animals are accepted per day?
The shelter will accept a total of 10 owner surrendered pets per day on Tuesday and Thursday.  This does not include the stray animals.

Why do I have to make an appointment to surrender my pet? Can’t I just drop my pet off any time?
To ensure the best care of the animals through proper management of the population in the shelter, scheduling an appointment is needed.  This will allow the shelter to increase the chances your pet will not be euthanized due to limited resources and to decrease euthanasia for space which is not an acceptable reason to euthanize an animal.

What if I find a stray animal?
If you have found a stray animal, you can bring them to the shelter anytime between 11 am and 4 pm M-F.  If you would like to schedule an appointment to prevent a prolonged wait time, you can by calling Animal Care and Enforcement at 704-922-8677.

What if I need to have my animal humanely euthanized?
Animal Care and Enforcement does provide free of charge, humane euthanasia for animals at the end of their life.  Though an appointment is not required, scheduling an appointment will decrease the incident of a long wait time during this difficult time. We offer humane euthanasia services M-F from 11 am until 4 pm.