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Giving up my pet

We know there are times when circumstances change and people can no longer look after their pets. Taking action by contacting a rehoming charity like the NAWT is a responsible decision to make. We do have very long waiting lists at our centres so always call first to discuss your situation.

Here to help
If you've taken the responsible decision to contact us then we will be happy to talk through your circumstances in an impartial way. Please be free with your pet information. That way the better our chances of giving the animal a home most suited to his or her particular needs.

The process
You will be asked questions about your pet before hand over. Once in our care we will then start the process of finding a new home.

Contact us for advice
If you’d like to speak to someone about giving up your pet then contact your local centre.  You’ll find a full list here.


Giving up my pet FAQ's

Is there a fee to give up a pet to NAWT?

We understand that the decision to give up a beloved pet is an incredibly tough one, and there are varying circumstances that might lead to someone making this decision. Therefore, we don’t charge a set fee to anyone who needs us to offer their pet an opportunity to be rehomed. All we do ask is that you make a donation, if you are able to, which will go towards the animal’s future care costs during their time with us.

How do I start the process to give up my pet?

The first thing to do is to call your local centre. Our friendly team are impartial and will be happy to talk you through the process. They will need to ask you a selection of questions about your pet, in order to give them the best chance of finding a home that suits all of their needs. Our centres often have waiting lists so they might not be able to accept your pet immediately, but they will do their best to work with you to ensure a smooth process for both you and your pet. If you are relinquishing a dog then the team will need to run an assessment on the dog, which can take up to 20 minutes. The assessment will determine whether or not the dog can be safely looked after by our animal care team, and whether or not we feel they could cope in kennels. If the results of the assessment suggest that we are unable to offer the dog a space in one of our centres, then advice will be offered on other options.

What will happen when I arrive at the centre to handover my pet?

Once we have taken your pets details and have a space in the centre to offer them, someone will call you to arrange an appointment for you to come in and hand your pet over. Many people can find the visit to the centre a nerve-racking and upsetting experience, and we completely understand. This is why each of our centres strive to provide a safe environment, free from judgement, where an owner can say goodbye to their beloved pet in their own time. When you’re ready, there will be a small amount of paperwork to complete to pass over ownership of your pet to NAWT, and then someone from our animal care team will show them to their rehoming unit within the centre.

My pet has medical issues. Will you still take them?

We treat each animal as an individual case and always strive to do whatever is best for him or her. If your pet has a chance of living a happy life with the correct medical treatment, and if we’re able to provide that treatment, then we will still consider offering them a place in our care. It’s important that you give the centre team as much information on your pets medical history as possible, so that they are able to provide appropriate care.

Can I receive updates on how my pet is getting on after I hand them over?

Of course. Talk to the team at the centre about keeping you updated with your pet’s progress and they will be happy to send you updates on how they are settling into life at the centre, and a final update when they head off to a new home.

Can you offer me any support after I hand over my pet?

Yes. NAWT are the first animal rescue in the UK to have staff complete the ALLY® People and Pet loss accredited training course, and we are registered as ALLY® Supporters. Working together to form a network of support across all our centres, trained staff help owners prepare, manage and adjust to the loss of their animal.
If you would like access to our ALLY Support service, please email ALLY@nawt.org.uk or find out more about the service here.

What if I change my mind after I give up my pet?

Once you sign your pet over to us and complete the necessary paperwork, we take over legal ownership of the animal. If we then go on to rehome that animal to a new owner, they then become the legal owner of the animal. Once the animal has been rehomed to a new owner, we are unable to return them to you should you change your mind. If the animal is still in our care and a change in your circumstances means you would like your animal back then this is something you would need to discuss with the Centre Manager, so that they can consider the circumstances and the best interests of the animal. If we are able to return your animal, you may be asked to repay any veterinary costs the charity has incurred whilst the animal has been in our care.