Surrendering your Pet

The Animal Control Department has recently had a number of domestic animals abandoned in town. We want to take a moment to ensure our residents are aware of what options are available to them if they find themselves in a situation where they can no longer keep their pet. Abandonment of a domestic animal is a criminal offense in New Jersey under the N.J.S.A Title 4 Chapter 22 Animal Cruelty Statues.   

Purchasing and adopting a pet is a serious commitment. As the owner, you are responsible to provide that animal with sustenance, water, shelter, proper daily care which includes cleaning and grooming, and veterinary care. While some pet owners may find themselves facing financial difficulties, displacement, or medical emergencies; that does not make it ok to leave an animal just anywhere. 

Abandoning your pet regardless of the reason is against the law!! 

If you find yourself in a position where you no longer can care for your pet or keep your pet; there are a number of options available to you.

small animal

For Domestic Cats and Dogs

1. The Southern Ocean County Animal Facility located here in Manahawkin will take any dog and cat surrenders. They are open 7 days a week from 1pm to 4pm.

2. Contacting a local rescue to assist you with foster and adoption if you are opposed to the idea of placing your dog or cat in a public shelter. Some local rescues to our area are Mama's Gona Rescue, Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Facility, and Shelter Saviors

3. If you are struggling to purchase supplies for your pet the Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Facility may be able to provide food, bedding, litter and other supplies short term. There is also a local pet food bank set up at the Ocean County Southern Service Center located at 179 S. Main St. in Manahawkin. A list of other resources that provide pet assistance can be found at NJ Department of Agriculture.

4. If your pet was adopted threw a rescue, read over your contract. Most animal rescue contracts include language that the animal must be returned to the rescue before surrendering or rehoming. 

5. If you purchased your pet threw a breeder you may be able to contact your breeder and they may take your dog/cat back if it was written into a contract as well. They may also be able to assist you with placement. 

6. Lastly- you can always post your dog/cat on pet adoption websites, or social media sites but we urge you to be very careful with who you rehome your pet with and make sure they are taking your pet for the right reasons. 

 For Small Domestic Animals and Exotic Animals 

  1. Surrender your pet to a specific species rescue… yes, they exist!!! Some may have waiting lists, so you may have to be patient. Some local rescues that intake exotics are Kritter Alley Rescue, Small and Furry Rescue, Tribbles Rabbit Rescue and Atlantic Critters Rescue. Rescues are inundated with small animal surrenders, but they may help post your pet in hopes of finding it a new family if they cannot immediately place your pet in a foster home. 
  2. Surrender your pet to an animal shelter that houses small animals, you may again have to wait a little while to surrender or possibly drive a little further. Some shelters that intake exotics and small animals are the Associated Humane Society- Popcorn Park, SPCA in Monmouth County, and Saint Hubert’s Animal Welfare. Make sure you contact them prior to driving to their facility. 
  3. If you are temporarily struggling to purchase supplies like food and bedding for your pet, or if your pet needs emergency veterinary care that you cannot afford the Friends of the Southern Ocean County Rescue may be able to provide you some monetary relief by offering supplies and assistance. 
  4. If your pet was adopted threw a registered animal rescue most rescue contracts include that the animals be returned to them, if there was not an adoption contract you can still contact that rescue and see if they can help. 
  5. If you purchased your pet from a pet store you can see if you are able to return your pet to the store- however most big chain pet stores do not accept returned animals 14 days after the initial purchase. 
  6. Lastly- you can post your pet up on sites like PETFINDER and RESCUEME to see if you can find them a new home. Just be careful who you communicate with. Make sure you are rehoming to a responsible person and do not give out any personal information or send money. 

What is not an option is abandoning your pet in a public place, park, parking lot, private property, or woods simply because you do not want to deal with the rehoming process. Every animal we find abandoned is investigated by the municipal HLEO. 

If you have any other questions regarding surrendering your pet the proper way, you can always contact our department and we will be glad to offer you advice and assistance if possible. We can be reached at (609) 597-1000 x. 8525