Pet Helpline

The ARL is dedicated to keeping pets out of shelters and rescues and, rather, helping them remain in homes with people who love them. This is why we have a Pet Helpline to assist pet owners who are struggling to resolve issues that would result in them leaving their pet at the shelter.

Visit the links below for some of the resources we offer or call (515) 262-9503 to speak with a Pet Helpline expert about how we can help you and your pet.

  • Pet care information on all types of pets.
  • Behavior tips on subjects ranging from litterbox issues to chewing to biting.  
  • A list of pet-friendly housing in the area that you can consult if you are moving.

After exploring all available options, you may decide that surrendering your pet is the best or only remaining option. At that point, we ask that you schedule an appointment to bring your pet to us so that together we can discuss and determine next steps.

Appointment Process

  1. Call (515) 262-9503 to schedule an appointment to surrender your pet to the ARL. Appointments are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Once your appointment is scheduled, we will email you a Pet Profile that you can print out and complete prior to your appointment. This will help us guide you toward your options at the appointment.
  2. At the day and time of your appointment, bring your cat or dog to ARL Main at 5452 N.E. 22nd St. in Des Moines and go to the green entrance on the north side of the building. If you are bringing a small animal (rabbit, guinea pig, bird, etc.), take them to ARL South (inside Southridge Mall) at 1111 E. Army Post Road in Des Moines. The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes for cats or small animals and 45 minutes for dogs. It will include a pet health exam and behavior evaluation.
  3. After all information about your pet has been gathered and the animal evaluation completed, we will discuss with you your pet’s next steps.

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa will never turn away an animal in need. If you have an immediate need and cannot keep your animal until an appointment can be set up, bring your pet to ARL Main at 5452 N.E. 22nd St. in Des Moines and go to the green entrance on the north side of the building.


While the needs of each animal differ, it costs an average of $15 per day to care for one animal from the time of surrender to adoption. Our fees only cover a small portion of the full cost of care for your pet, but help toward providing the necessary resources to keep your pet safe and healthy until it is united with a new family.

Base fees to surrender a pet are as follows. Additional donations to help provide the full care of the pet are encouraged. Fees are as follows:
Dogs: $30
Cats: $15
Puppies/kittens: $30 per litter or free if the ARL can also spay the mother at no cost to the owner.
Small Animals: $15


Found a Stray or Wild Animal?

Visit our stray animal resource page.