Before surrendering an animal to the Rhode Island SPCA, it is important that you call first to discuss the situation with a staff member. (401) 438-8150, x0.

All animals being surrendered for adoption must be in relatively good health and not have bitten a person or another animal within the last fourteen days. They should be free of major medical and behavioral problems. If your dog, for example, resource guards (snaps at people or animals if approached when eating, etc.), this may be something we can work on with our dog trainers, however, you must be forthcoming with such information.

We are not a city or state shelter that accepts strays. If we have cage space, we accept owned pets for which people can no longer care. Someone finding a stray animal should contact their local animal control, where an animal is more likely to be reunited with its owner.

Surrenders must be made by the owner of the pet, or that owner must have provided written permission for the pet to be surrendered to the RISPCA.

Every effort is made to find a good home for animals that are relinquished to us. Our volunteers, dog walkers, and staff interact daily with all of the animals to help them transition to our environment. We have no time limit on how long animals are held at the shelter. Some are here for months before finding new homes.

 Intake Fees

Cats: $35
Dogs: $40
Litters of 3 or more: $50
Pitbulls or Pitbull mixes:$150
Exotic and Small Animals: $15 w/cage (w/o cage varies)

* All payments must be made at the time of relinquishment.
** The RISPCA reserves the right to modify these donations at our discretion.

Our Intake Process

1. Call ahead to confirm that there is space available for your pet. We do not euthanize animals for space. Therefore our intake rate generally matches our adoption rate. You must have confirmation that we have an available space.

2. If there is space, plan to come in during surrender hours (10am -noon, and 1pm -4pm) that day. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee kennel space after the day of your call due to the volume of calls we receive.

3. Briefly, leave your pet outside (in your car or with a friend) and notify staff that you have arrived. Please do NOT leave an animal in a hot car. If you are relinquishing a dog, you will be directed to bring him to the kennel area by walking down to the end of the building and meeting a staff person at the “garage” door. Cats and small animals may come into the lobby area in a pet carrier.

4. You will be asked to fill out a profile card, describing the animal’s personality, health, and history to help us find the perfect new home. Please bring vaccination and medical history if possible.

5. Complete the relinquishment paperwork during business hours. This step generally takes about 30 minutes.

You will need:

  • A valid driver’s license or state ID.
  • Payment in cash or check made payable to RISPCA.
  • Any medical history, medications, and proof of vaccinations. If you would like to have your pet’s medical records sent to us, your vet can fax them to us at (401) 438-8154. Actual records are helpful to us in treating and adopting out your pet, whereas simple receipts showing what you paid do not give us the useful details.

When is Surrender Not The Best Option?

We know you want the best for your pet.  Your pet may have a medical or behavioral condition which the average owner can have medically managed, or address and deal with through their regular veterinarian. Sometimes there are resources available to help owners keep their pet.

Denial is a powerful emotion – but when one suspects or even knows a pet has a terminal illness,  or a condition  necessitating  frequent, expensive, diagnostic, medical or surgical treatments, and you realize adoption is  unlikely and/or  a large number of pet owners would be considering humane euthanasia, surrendering your  pet may not be the best idea.  Neither the RISPCA nor a  loving pet owner wants an animal to languish here, or be adopted, only to be returned again.

“Litter box lapses” are one of the most frequent reasons we see for surrendering a cat. (The cat urinates or defecates outside of the litter box).  While cats are here, they almost all use the box – they are confined to a small area, with the box.  This is a good short-term training strategy in the home as well. If we know the full medical and behavioral history, we can often differentiate cats who will do well in a new home, versus those who won’t.