At The End Of The Rope: Where To Surrender An Aggressive Dog

One of the hardest things to manage as a pet owner is adverse behaviors in our pups. If you have a dog that is aggressive, this can be difficult to manage, especially if you have children or something about your environment is triggering for your pet.

Surrendering your pet to be rehomed is never an ideal situation and is always a last resort for a loving pet owner who has tried everything else first. Shelters are often very stressful places for animals that only know the safety and predictability of your home, and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

If you find yourself in this situation, however, it will be important to find a shelter or rescue that will take your pet in spite of their aggressive behaviors.

Additionally, you will want to look for those that offer in-home fostering as an alternative to the shelter, as this will be less stressful and triggering for your pet. To help you find the best organization to support you and your pet, we have compiled this list of the best places to surrender an aggressive pet according to your nearest location. 

Atlanta, GA

Paws Atlanta

PAWS Atlanta is a safe place for you to surrender your pup. While they are willing to take animals that show aggression, their ability to take in your dog is dependent on how their demeanor, health, and the likelihood of being adopted. Additionally, if the shelter is full, they may not be able to accept your pet. PAWS Atlanta will charge a nominal fee for surrendering your animal in order to cover some of the costs of housing and adopting out your pet. 

Austin, TX

Austin Pets Alive!

Touted as one of the safest places for homeless pets in the country, this no-kill shelter offers plenty of resources and support for rehoming your pet. Prior to surrender, Austin Pets Alive!, or APA will attempt to help you address the underlying issues that are causing you to struggle with maintaining your pet. If these are unsuccessful, the organization will ensure that your pet is successfully rehomed and will not be euthanized. APA vows to support any animal, even those not adopted from their shelter.

Boston, MA

Animal Rescue League of Boston

In addition to offering pre-surrender resources to help you with a difficult pet or situation, the Animal Rescue League also has veterinary services next door if you are dealing with significant health concerns in your dog. If you ultimately determine that rehoming is the best solution for you and your pup, be sure to make an appointment and fill out the intake paperwork. The organization will also require a surrender fee and medical records to help successfully place your pet in a new home.

Charlotte, NC

North Meck Animal Rescue

In addition to serving as a rescue for animals from kill shelters in the area, this organization will allow you to surrender an aggressive dog that you are no longer able to care for. While they encourage you to consider seeking resources in order to address the underlying issues in order to keep spaces open in the shelter for dogs in need, you can submit an application if you are in need. The North Meck Animal Rescue requires many documents in order to process the application, so be sure to read through the website carefully and to be thorough. 

Highland Canine

This very unique organization actually seeks out aggressive dogs from shelters and rescues in order to rehabilitate and rehome them. While they typically seek out pets only from shelters in order to prevent euthanization of the least adoptable animals, they do share stories of taking in pets that required rehoming. Consider reaching out if you have a dog with excessive aggression to see if your pet is the right fit for their program.

Chicago, IL

The Anti-Cruelty Society

Unlike some of the other organizations on the list, the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago is open-admission and does not turn away any dogs in need of a new home. In addition to taking in all pets, the organization offers a free program to help you place an ad to adopt directly from your home to a new home and bypass the shelter altogether. While they do recommend trying everything else in order to avoid the stress of sending your pet to the shelter, they will accept your pet for a nominal fee and with the completion of all necessary paperwork. 

Columbus, OH

Paws and Prayers

Although the priority of Paws and Prayers is to take in animals in need from overfilled shelters, they do accept aggressive animals for rehoming when they have availability. Since this rescue is foster-based, surrendered pets do not live in a kennel, but rather with a foster family as they wait for their new forever home. While this is certainly better for a pet than the noisy shelter environment, it can be difficult to find open homes. In order to help, the rescue does require a moderate surrender fee and encourages a donation. 

Dallas, TX

Operation Kindness

At this no-kill shelter, animals can be surrendered for nearly any reason as long as the appropriate paperwork is submitted and they are a good fit. The comprehensive survey that must be completed prior to turning over your pet will allow the shelter to get your pup adopted out to the right home. Operation Kindness does offer to support you with the rehabilitation of aggression if you decide that this would help you to keep your pet. The fee for surrendering your pet is a minimal one, especially compared to others on this list and for the services offered to you.

Denver, CO 

Riverdale Animal Shelter

This shelter offers resources to support you with keeping your dog or helping you to surrender it. You are not able to drop in to this shelter to turn over your pet, but can call and make an appointment ahead of time. They will collect information from you in order to provide the appropriate support and direction needed in order to get your dog rehomed.

Hartford, CT

Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue 

The shelter at the Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue, or ROAR, is often full, though they do accept surrendered pets when they have space. If there is no room at the time that you email or mail your application, they will place you on a waiting list. You will need to provide proof of vaccinations with your application, and your pup will need to undergo a behavioral evaluation. Additionally, you will need to pay a surrender fee that is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum as compared to other shelters on this list.

Houston, TX

Citizens for Animal Protection

Citizens for Animal Protection offers two ways to surrender your pup. The first, more traditional way is to pursue surrender during intake hours. The shelter operates on a first-come, first-serve basis and is dependent on the availability of space within the kennel. You will be responsible for a surrender fee and providing background information on your dog. They also offer weekend sponsor programs in order to attempt to get your pet directly adopted. If your dog is selected to participate, you will drop them off for the weekend and agree to take them home on Sunday if your pup dos not end up getting rehomed.

Indianapolis, IN 

PAAWS No Kill Animal Shelter

While they primarily help to rehome pets adopted through their organization, the PAAWS animal rescue does take in owner surrendered dogs as well. Since they do not have a kennel facility, all animals will be placed with foster families while they wait to be adopted. Therefore, while this setup is more ideal for your pup than a stressful shelter environment, it can take longer for your pet to be placed with a new family. PAAWS does not collect a surrender fee, but does encourage donations in order to allow them to help care for your pet and to continue supporting other animals.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Humane Society

Since the Jacksonville Humane Society does not kill pets in order to make space for others, they are nearly always operating at maximum capacity. Therefore, they encourage you to consider pursuing rehabilitation or rehoming through your own network first. However, you can make an appointment to have your pup evaluated and to have the opportunity to rehome him. The shelter requires a nominal surrender fee if your pet is accepted and asks that you bring all of your pet’s medical records and medications with you to ensure the most successful transition.

Kansas City, MO

KC Pet Project

If you are searching for where to surrender an aggressive dog, this open admission shelter is one of your best options. They will not turn your pet away based on any characteristic or behavior, though these may make it harder for your dog to be successfully rehomed. They do recommend exhausting all other options first, as their facilities are often overwhelmed with pets that are homeless, sick, or injured. In order to complete a surrender, you must make an appointment and fill out a questionnaire about your pet. The shelter will also collect a small fee to cover costs for caring for your pet while awaiting adoption. 

Las Vegas, NV

Vegas Pet Rescue Project

This rescue takes in pets, including those with aggression issues, when it has space available. The Vegas Pet Rescue Project requests that you complete a comprehensive survey in order to learn more about your pet. They will use this information as well as their current availability to determine whether or not they can accept your pet. If they are unable to help you, they will direct you to other resources, including Rehome, to help you find a new loving family for your pup.

Los Angeles, CA

Dogs Without Borders

This is another organization on the list that places surrendered dogs with a foster family while awaiting adoption. While they will accept animals with mild aggression, they recommend working with a trainer to resolve the issues prior to giving up your pup. There is a survey on their website that you must complete and attach medical documentation and photos to if you decide to pursue surrender through their shelter. There is no set fee for surrender, but Dogs Without Borders does request a donation to help with the costs of caring for the animals. 

Minneapolis, MN 

Last Hope Inc.

Although this shelter does not have a facility for housing surrendered animals, they use a network of foster families to will take care of your pup until they are adopted. Though Last Hope will take animals with mild aggression issues, they do not accept pets with a bite history or who are deemed a safety issue, as these dogs are unlikely to be adopted and may endanger the homes of the foster families. If you choose to pursue surrender through this organization, you will need to complete the application on the website, submit your pup to a wellness exam, and pay a moderate fee. 

New York City, NY

Paws Crossed Animal Rescue

The Paws Crossed rescue offers an abundance of resources to support you with the issues that are leading you toward rehoming, including long-term care of a pet while you are away from home for military service or for a medical issue. If your needs still require surrender, they request that you complete the questionnaire on their website to learn more about your pet. If they are unable to accept your dog for surrender, they can point you toward other options to support you in getting your pup rehomed.

Omaha, NE

Muddy Paws Second Chance Dog Rescue

The desire and intent to give every dog another chance, regardless of breed or behavior, makes this rescue a top choice for where to surrender an aggressive dog. In addition to providing training and rehabilitation for the issues you are struggling with, they can offer a foster stay for your pup while they are waiting to be rehomed. If your pet is waiting to be placed or cannot be placed, Muddy Paws can help you advertise your pet for a direct adoption, or with other resources such as medical bills or food costs that may also be impacting your ability to care for your pet.

Philadelphia, PA

Morris Animal Refuge

This shelter works hard to help you rehome your pet directly with a new family by providing a variety of networking and advertising resources to you. Additionally, they offer supports for remediating behavioral issues in your pup, though they have open admission and will not turn an animal away unless the concerns impact adoptability. If you are still ready to pursue giving your animal over to their organization, Morris Animal Refuge requires that you complete the surrender form on their website. They will also collect a fee to cover costs, which is on the higher end of the spectrum for large breeds and moderate for small breeds.

Phoenix, AZ

Halo Animal Rescue

This organization will accept your surrendered pet with the completion of the set of questions on their website and a fee that is determined by the amount of care that your pet will require. While part of the survey pertains to aggression, this will not result in an immediate dismissal of your pup from consideration depending on the circumstances. If the rescue is unable to accept your pet due to space, or if you want to increase your chances of rehoming while awaiting a decision, you can use the resources on their website to support you in advertising you pet to prospective adoptive families.

Portland, OR

Animal Aid PDX

Like several other rescues on the list, Animal Aid places surrendered pups into foster homes instead of keeping them in a shelter. Therefore, they will not accept any dogs with a history of biting or exhibiting high levels of aggression toward people that they do not know. If your dog has more mild aggressive behaviors that will not endanger those caring for your pup while waiting for adoption, you can complete the application on their website and provide all medical information and several photos of your pup to Animal Aid.

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento SPCA

Using a managed admission approach, the SPCA in Sacramento requires an appointment in order to discuss your dog and to determine whether or not the shelter is able to accept them for rehoming. During your meeting, the organization will provide you with any pertinent resources to support you with rehabilitating your pet’s aggression in order to attempt to keep them in your home. If all of your options have been exhausted, they will proceed with making a decision regarding surrender of your dog.

San Antonio, TX

Animal Defense League of Texas

The Animal Defense League of Texas offers intake appointments for all breeds and ages, and attempts to take animals regardless of need as long as space allows. You can request an apppintment to surrender your dog by email. Be sure to include the items listed on their website that should be addressed in order to streamline the process of setting a meeting and rendering a decision regarding acceptance of your pet. A moderate, flat fee is charged for all appointments to cover the cost of care for the animals.

San Diego, CA 

Inland Valley Humane Society and & SPCA

This humane rescue in San Diego attempts to place surrendered pups directly with a new family through the Home to Home program. With an immediate rehoming, your dog can be spared the additional traumas related to the unpredictability of a shelter. However, if this method is not successful, the Inland Valley Humane society can put you in contact with other rescue groups to help find a new home for you pet. If your only option is surrender to the shelter, complete the form on the website to make an appointment.

San Jose, CA

Humane Society of Silicon Valley

Similar to some of the other shelters on the list, the Humane Society attempts to help you rehome your pet directly to a new family when possible. If you are unable to place your dog with a new family via this route, you can fill out the surrender application on the website. Be prepared to submit evidence that your pup is current on vaccines. The Humane Society will reach out to gather more information and set an appointment for an evaluation. If accepted, the shelter requests a surrender fee that is on the higher end of the spectrum, but likely in line with the cost of living in the area.

Savannah, GA 

Coastal Pet Rescue

The Coastal Pet Rescue has a form right on their website for you to fill out if you intend to surrender your pup. It is important to note that if your dog is a biter or severely aggressive, they will not be accepted. You should also check carefully to ensure that you are in a county that is associated with the shelter prior to applying to rehome your dog. 

Seattle, WA

Forgotten Dogs Rescue

Another shelter that provides foster-based surrender is the Forgotten Dogs Rescue. Specializing in pitbulls, who have a hard time getting adopted out and taken into other shelters, the organization works hard to find a new home for any animal that requires surrender for any reason. You can complete the form on their website, email, or send correspondence to initiate surrender of your pup.

Washington, D.C. 

Human Rescue Alliance

While they offer many resources to try to help you keep your pet, the Human Rescue Alliance will also take in surrended pets to attempt to rehome them. You can initiate the process by calling and setting up an appointment at which your pet will undergo a medical and behavioral evaluation. The final decision regarding surrender will depend on both available space and your pet’s needs.