Did you know that most shelters have no required holding period for a dog/cat that is surrendered by the owner? The 'holding period' we all think of is based on holding lost property (a stray pet) for the owner to potentially come in and claim it. Most shelters have a 3-5 day stray holding period awaiting the owner to potentially claim their pet. After the stray holding period, the pet becomes the property of the shelter and they determine its "adoptability." If adoptable, the pet is typically spayed/neutered, vaccinated, perhaps micro-chipped and put up for adoption.
Be informed, though, that if the pet is deemed unadoptable for any reason, it can be euthanized - even at a no-kill shelter - without notice to the prior owner, possible rescue groups or potential adopters. Conversely, if an owner surrenders a pet, it has been relinquished by the owner and immediately becomes the property of the shelter. There is no holding period. Therefore, if the pet is deemed unadoptable based its behavior or health at intake, shelter capacity, local breed-specific laws, free-roaming cat policies, shelter funding and many other factors, it can be immediately euthanized at the shelter’s discretion, since the pet is the shelter’s “property.” In either case, the animal’s fate is based solely on the shelter’s discretion.
True story this week in Central Florida
Due to family issues, a young father took Jackson, his sweet, young, yellow lab to a shelter on Sunday afternoon, thinking it was a no-kill shelter and that his sweet young boy would surely be adopted. This particular dog was very much a homebody, and typically wouldn't even eat if boarded while his mom and dad were out of town. Unfortunately, this sweet boy was so scared and misunderstood, the shelter planned on putting him down first thing on Monday morning, since they didn't consider his fearful and resistant behavior to be categorically adoptable.
Luckily, this “owner surrender's” extended family (Jackson's grandma) got on the phone, and her other daughter got in the car. They were able to get to the shelter shortly after it opened its doors the following morning. Being dumped at a shelter may well be the most devastating experience of Jackson's life, and could have been the very last experience of his life. Grandma found that it took over an hour just to find out where he was at the shelter, since he was not processed as lost, or as adoptable. His fear and panic could have cost him his life, but not this time. Luckily, misunderstood Jackson was rescued by his extended family, which had the information on the shelter process just in time!