Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.

What Happens To Surrendered Dogs In A Typical Pound In America?

Rachel Poli Author
May 9 ·
surrendered dogs

We talk a lot about adopting dogs from rescues or shelters, but what happens to them when they get sent to a shelter or the pound?

Believe it or not, it’s best to surrender your dog if you can no longer care for it because then it’ll have the best chance at survival in the shelter. 

What Does It Mean To Surrender A Dog?

When an owner surrenders their dogs to an animal shelter, it means they relinquish all rights to own the dog. Since they no longer own the dog, the shelter legally owns the pup.

The shelter will ensure the dogs get what they need: food, shelter, health, and more. In addition, the animal shelter will treat the dog as their own with respect, kindness, and love. They’ll raise the dog well and prepare them for a new, loving home.

Reasons Dogs Get Surrendered

Before we go any further, let’s discuss why dogs get surrendered. It’s sad, and some people surrender their dogs without a valid reason.

For example, some breeders will surrender their dogs once they can no longer breed. Alternatively, some people surrender their dogs when they get to a certain age because they want a puppy instead. Other times, dogs will get surrendered because the dog bit one of the kids or isn’t the right fit for that particular family.

However, not all reasons are bad. For example, there are plenty of valid examples as to why an owner might give up their dog, such as:

  • The owner can no longer afford to care for the dog (for instance, the dog gets an expensive medical condition such as diabetes)
  • Someone in the family has developed severe allergies
  • The owner is older and has a hard time caring for themselves, let alone caring for a dog

No matter the reason as to why you need to surrender your dog to a shelter, you can be rest assured that they’ll be well cared for by the shelter staff.

So, what exactly happens to dogs when they get surrendered?

Surrendering A Dog To A No-Kill Shelter

When bringing your dogs to a no-kill shelter, you can be sure that they’ll be safe and well-loved. The shelter staff will treat the dog as their own.

They’ll get regular visits from the vet, plenty of treats, food, a warm bed, training classes (if needed), and had the opportunity to socialize and play with the other dogs in the shelter.

Overall, as much as the shelter staff will love your dog, they’ll prepare the dog for adoption as best they can so your pup can have a new, loving home.

Holding Periods For Surrendered Dogs

Unfortunately, shelters only have so much space. So if they have an abundance of dogs or they end up getting puppies in from a hoarding or puppy mill situation, then it’ll be quick for them to run out of room.

When this happens, unfortunately, some of the dogs are euthanized. Now, some shelters are “no-kill,” which means the dogs are safe at the shelter no matter what.

However, some shelters will euthanize the dogs if they’ve been at the shelter for too long or are too sick or old to be adopted.

There are holding period laws for each state in the United States for animal shelters.

Some examples of the holding period are shown below:

  • Alabama – 7 days
  • California – 6 business days
  • Hawaii – 48 hours
  • Kansas – 3 business days
  • North Carolina – 72 hours

As you can see, the holding periods can vary greatly from as long as a week to as little as two days.

When the holding period is over, several things could happen.

For instance, the dog may be euthanized, or this is when they would officially be added to the adoption roster.

In most cases, when a stray comes in, if they’re microchipped, then they’ll attempt to find the owner. If the dog has no microchip and the holding period is over, then the dog may be put up for adoption. However, if they’re not in good health, they may be euthanized.

So, when a dog is surrendered, they have the best chance of survival because the shelter now owns the dog. 

How Surrendering Your Dog May Affect Their Personality

Surrendering your dog isn’t easy, but sometimes it is in their best interest. For example, if you can’t afford their medical bills, someone else who can afford them may adopt them.

Yet, surrendering your dog can negatively affect their personality. This is because they don’t understand why you have given them up, even if it is in their best interest.

For example, the dog may develop separation anxiety. This means that they may think their owners aren’t coming back when they have been left home alone for too long. As a result, they may howl or be destructive about the house.

Luckily, proper training can help nip separation anxiety in the bud. There are also plenty of calming techniques you can use.

In addition, they might get abandonment issues. This is similar to separation anxiety. So, the dog might be clingy to you or a specific person in your family.

Your Dog Will Be Well-Loved At The Shelter

Overall, a surrendered dog will be well-loved by the shelter staff. As long as they go to a no-kill shelter, they’ll be okay and find a new forever home. 

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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