Pet Help

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.

Alternatives to Surrendering Your Pet

The ARL offers multiple resources to help keep pets in their homes with their families. Please consider the following alternatives to surrendering your pet.

My cat has behavior issues.
My dog has behavior issues.
My dog needs more training.
I don't know how to properly care for my pet.
I am unable to find housing that allows pets.
I can't afford pet care anymore.
I would be willing to keep my pet in my home until an adopter can be found.

After exploring all available options, you may decide that surrendering your pet is the best or only remaining option. If so, please follow the steps below.

Appointment Process for Pet Surrender

  1. Complete the intake forms online. Are you surrendering a dog or a cat? Please fill out these forms prior to your appointment. This information allows us to have as much information about your pet as possible.
    Cat Surrender Form  Dog Surrender form
  2. If you are surrendering an equine, please refer to the Second Chance Ranch page for more information.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 labeled Pet Help Center on the north side of the building. 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.
  5. 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. 

During your surrender appointment, we will evaluate your pet's medical and behavioral needs in order to determine what it will cost to get your pet ready for adoption.  At that time you will have the opportunity to pay what you can to help provide the necessary resources to keep your pet safe and healthy until it is united with a new family.

Found a Stray?

Visit our Lost and Found Pet page.