Help Keeping Your Pet

Mar 16, 2021 | Pet Ownership

Winnebago County Animal Services understands that there are a number of reasons people surrender a pet such as moving, allergies, behavior issues, major life event, and it is a difficult decision to give up a pet.

We want to help you keep your pet, so please read the Pet Retention Resources below before making the decision to release your pet to Winnebago County Animal Services.

If your pet is having house soiling issues or a change in behavior, please have your pet examined by a veterinarian to rule out any health related issues.

Before releasing your pet, consider finding your pet a home with a family member, friend, neighbor, or another shelter. However, be sure your pet is going into safe environment where it will get consistent vet care, nutritional food, fresh water daily, plenty of exercise and training, and appropriate housing (preferably as an indoor pet).

If you adopted the cat or dog from another shelter, please contact that shelter first and return the pet to them.

If you adopted the cat or dog from Winnebago County Animal Services, you can always return the pet if the adoption doesn’t work out for your family. Be sure to give the animal plenty of time to adjust to your home and family. Adoption fees are not refundable.

We are currently using a managed intake model of animal sheltering, so you must make an appointment to owner surrender your pet to Winnebago County Animal Services. Please call 815-319-4100 and press 1 for a customer service representative during the hours of 8:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday. The customer services representative will discuss your particular situation and may offer alternatives to releasing your pet before scheduling an appointment.

When surrendering a pet to Winnebago County Animal Services:

  • The person surrendering the pet must be the registered or microchipped owner
  • Bring a State-issued photo ID
  • The owner will be required to pay an owner surrender fee to WCAS (checks not accepted)
  • The owner must read and sign the WCAS owner surrender form
  • The owner will be asked to complete a personality profile to assist WCAS staff in evaluating the pet’s behavior for adoption consideration
  • Understand that Winnebago County Animal Services does not guarantee adoption

Pet Resources

Need to re-home your ferret, rabbit, or guinea pig?

Please contact one of the resources below:

Pet Retention Assistance


Pet Resale Shop – 3702 North Main Street, Rockford, IL

Housing Resources

Dog Training Resources

  • Forest City Training
  • B & B Canine & Company,
  • Canine to 5,
  • Miss Cristy’s Canine Academy

Animal Services does not necessarily endorse or recommend any training facility or another, but encourages pet owners to use positive reinforcement and force free training).

Spay Neuter Resources

Animal Services offers spay neuter vouchers for low-income residents of Winnebago County…learn more about our Spay/Neuter Assistance Program

Other Spay Neuter Programs

Home Safety Guides

New Baby

Be sure to consider your pet when bringing home a new baby. Check out these resources:

Costs of Owning a Pet 

Remember to consider the costs that come when you bring a new pet into the household.

Emergency Pet Foster Home of Military Personnel & Hospital Patients

PACT began in 2011 and is the only 501(c)(3) that provides life-saving, emergency foster care for the companion animals of military personnel and hospital patients.  All of PACT’s services are free of charge.  PACT relies solely on donation’s and volunteers to care for companion anmals until they can be reunited with their owners. |  | 610-581-4141 

Northern Illinois Hospice Pet Peace of Mind Program 

The Northern Illinois Hospice Pet Peace of Mind program offers services necessary to keep patients and their pets together throughout the end of life journey. 

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