Pet Helpline

The ARL is dedicated to keeping pets out of shelters and rescues and 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 could 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 for Pet Surrender (required)

  1. Schedule appointment. Call (515) 262-9503 to schedule an appointment to surrender your pet to the ARL. Appointments can be made from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.
  2. Arrive for appointment. At your scheduled time, bring your cat or dog to ARL Main (5452 N.E. 22nd St., Des Moines) and enter the green entrance on the north side of the building. If you are bringing a small pet (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. Next steps. Once we have gathered information about your pet and the animal evaluation has been completed, we will discuss the next steps.


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 they do help provide 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 pets: $15

Found a Stray?

Visit our Lost and Found Pet page.