Rehoming a Pet

When you can no longer keep your cat or dog

We know deciding that your cat or dog needs a new home is not an easy decision. BENCHS is here to support you and your pet. Finding a new home for your pet on your own and keeping them out of the shelter is beneficial to both your pet and others in need so we ask that make every attempt to rehome your pet before turning to BENCHS for assistance. See below for tips on rehoming your dog or cat.

If you have tried to rehome your cat or dog on your own with no success, then it is time to reach out to BENCHS about the possibility of surrendering your pet. Information about surrendering your animal to BENCHS is below.

  • Make certain your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations. Provide copies of the vet paperwork. A healthy pet is easier to re-home. If your pet is not spayed or neutered, we highly recommend getting this done. MNSNAP in Minneapolis offers low cost services.
  • Create flyers, post to social media, on church, work or veterinary/pet store, restaurant and coffee shop bulletin boards. Make colorful and creative flyers highlighting special information about your pet.
    • Be as descriptive as possible (name, weight, breed, gender, pet’s health, play habits, likes & dislikes). Be positive when you describe your pet.
    • Tell a story – many write the story from the animal’s perspective.
    • Include 4 recent, quality photos – in focus, colorful, and with no filter.
    • Include your name and contact information (phone number / email address).
    • Include the date you posted & date you need a home by
  • Keep an open mind about the variety of potential adopters. You may think your dog would do best in a house with a yard, but what if someone lives in a condo with a dog park? Or someone who runs every day? Your cat might prefer someone who works from home – but what about someone who works part-time, or a house with lots of family members with someone usually at home? You may feel that your dog does not do well with children – but remember the age of children matters just as much as their experience with dogs. Be open-minded and encourage potential families to contact you.
  • Always be honest, yet remain positive. What might be negative for you may not matter to others. For example, a dog who does not like cats might make a perfect pet for someone with a cat allergy!
  • Ask family, friends and co-workers if they know anyone who is looking for a new pet. It is better for your pet if you are able to re-home him or her yourself. The shelter can be a very stressful environment for any pet. Ask people in person, but also leave a flyer so they can contact you if they know of someone or decide to adopt your pet themselves.

If you have exhausted all your options to rehome and feel that you must surrender your pet, please follow the instructions below. Our team receives a high volumes of requests daily. We appreciate your patience. Applications for relinquishing your pet will be reviewed in the order they were received. Thank you!

If you can no longer care for your cat or dog, have attempted to rehome your pet on your own and would like to discuss the possibilities of surrendering it to the BENCHS for adoption, please follow the steps of our admissions process below. BENCHS does not euthanize animals to make room for others, our space is almost always at or above capacity. Therefore, we cannot accept walk-ins or drop-offs; pets are admitted by appointment only.

  1. Please complete the correct Owner Surrender Form:     Cat Surrender       Dog Surrender
  2. Once we have received your surrender form, we will contact you to discuss the situation. Please be patient, honest and provide accurate in-depth info. We understand the stress of needing to surrender a pet and will work with you the best that we can.  
  3. Appointments are made based on available space in the shelter for your pet. If we are full, you will be put on our Surrender Waiting List.
  4. Prepare for your appointment:
    1. Contact your vet to get a copy of your pet’s vet and medical history.
    2. Gather any medications your pet may be taking.
    3. Be prepared to pay a $50 admission fee for each animal you are surrendering. This fee covers the costs of intake to help us get the pet ready for adoption.
    4. Be sure to have your cat in a carrier and your dog on a leash.
  5. At the appointment
    1. Bring with you:
      1. Pet (cat in carrier and dog on leash)
      2. Vet records
      3. Medications the animal is taking
      4. Payment for the admission fee ($50/animal) We accept credit cards only.
    2. Note that an appointment does not guarantee that your pet will be accepted. After examining your pet, we will consider accepting it if we determine that is has a reasonable chance of being adopted. If we feel your pet is not an adoption candidate, you will be asked to take your pet back home.