Surrendering a Pet

All admissions, stray or surrender, need to be by appointment, to ensure we have the space and staff available for the intake. All animals must be secured upon arrival (leashed, crated, etc). This is for the safety of the animal.

Know your options

If you are considering relinquishing your companion, our Admissions team members are here to help you navigate that difficult decision. They can counsel you about the many programs and services we offer that can assist you in overcoming many of the challenges you may be facing with your pet. Our goal is to help you resolve the problems you are experiencing so that you can retain your pet.

Examples of programs the SPCA of Hancock County offers include a Pet Food Pantry, which can help supply pet food, litter, and basic supplies during times of need, Prevent a Litter Certificate and HelpFixME certificates, which reduce the cost of spaying or neutering your current pets, and the Mickey Duffy Emergency Veterinary Care Assistance fund, which offers small amounts of financial assistance to help individuals receiving state assistance cover unexpected emergency veterinary care expenses.

Behavioral Issues and Your Pet

If you are considering surrendering your companion animal as a result of relatively new behavioral issues, it may first be useful to visit your local veterinarian to ensure that there is no medical cause for these issues. Behavioral issues that can have medical causes include:

In Dogs:

  • New aggression when being touched, when encountering other animals and/ or when receiving attention from
    humans, including nipping and biting
  • Inappropriate elimination outside of normal marking places, including inside the house
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Excessive panting and/or pacing
  • Excessive self-bathing of a specific body part

In dogs, many of these behavioral issues can be caused by medical conditions including Lyme Disease, urinary tract infections, arthritis, dental issues, joint pain, general pain, infections, and/or cancer.

In Cats:

  • New aggression when being touched, when encountering other animals and/or when receiving attention from humans, including nipping and biting
  • Excessive clawing
  • Inappropriate elimination outside of the litter box
  • Excessive vocalization
  • Excessive panting and/or pacing
  • Excessive withdrawing/hiding (cats)
  • Excessive self-bathing

In cats, many of these behaviors can be caused by medical conditions including, recent declawing, urinary tract infections, arthritis, dental issues, joint pain, general pain, infections, and/or cancer.
If you observe these conditions in your companion animal, it is likely that a veterinary diagnosis and resulting treatment may resolve the issue.

When you've exhausted other options and need to surrender your pet

Please fill out the admission request form (see below) and make an appointment before a surrender. We prefer to schedule surrender appointments in the mornings so the animal can spend the afternoon getting to know staff and volunteers, and if needed, have medical attention sought. We do make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. To request an appointment, please call 207-667-8088 any day between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

The vast majority of the pets at our shelter are ones we have transferred into our care from animal control officers, and were in situations where the animals’ lives and/or housing were at risk. We urge you to consider every alternative to relinquishment and to fully utilize the resources we make available before surrendering your pet. If surrendering your pet is a difficult decision you must make, please know the SPCA of Hancock County is here for both you and your animal companion.

The admissions process is started by filling out a request form to have your pet admitted to the SPCA of Hancock County. This assessment can be completed online and there are two separate forms, one catered for dogs and one for cats. Please try to answer the questions as fully and completely as you can, as this will help our team assess the needs of the pet, the scope of the situation, and even detect whether there might be alternatives to surrendering your pet.

Please note, the SPCA cannot assist with any animals besides dogs or cats. If you need to surrender another pet, please look for a species-appropriate no-kill rescue or sanctuary.

Once you have made your admission appointment, please be prepared to spend 15 minutes with our animal care staff at your appointment and to bring the following items and information with you, to help us place your companion animal in the next best home possible. Records may also be emailed to ahead of time.

  • Any current or past veterinary records for your pet
  • A copy of your pet’s current rabies certificate
  • Any special food or medication your pet is currently taking
  • A few toys and/or some bedding your pet is familiar with, to help its transition into the shelter
  • A few quick notes on activities, toys, and/or food your pet enjoys, and things you think your pet would enjoy having in his or her future home.


If possible, within your circumstances, a small donation toward the care of the animal is recommended at the time of surrender. This could be a monetary donation or supplies, as expressed above.

Staying in touch with their second chance

When your pet is admitted to the SPCA, you have the choice to be notified when the animal is adopted. While our staff will never disclose the name or any personal information about an adopter without their express permission (yes, some do insist that we connect them to the previous owners!), we are more than happy to put your mind at ease and let you know when they’ve gone off to a loving home.