Animal Surrender

Surrendering A Pet

PAWS accepts animal intakes by appointment only by calling the PAWS Resource Desk Line at 615-907-DOGS (3647). You may also contact the shelter's main line at 615-898-7740 (option 5) to receive additional guidance regarding strays or other pet intake services.

Active February 1, 2018, PAWS accepts animal intakes by appointment only. Stray animals that are sick, injured, or have bitten will be accepted ASAP, without an appointment. Note this area is closed on Sundays and holidays. [Learn more.]
This transition is in an effort to better serve the citizens and animals of Rutherford County, by providing a better customer service experience by reducing wait times for those bringing in stray animals and provide owners that are surrendering their pet with pertinent information and resources, so that they can make the most informed decision. This will not change the what animals we take, simply how we take them.

Is there Any Way to Keep Him or Her?

Below are many of the reasons that people choose to give up their pet.  Many of these do have solutions and we encourage you to do everything possible to accommodate your pet or the stray into your household.   If you need advice from us, please call us before you are to the point of total frustration.

Rental problems
Find a situation that allows pets. There are plenty of landlords who do allow pets. Take the time to find them - below are very helpful tools to find a place that will accept your animal, as well as other ways to keep your pet in your home. And if you're worried about a pet deposit, just think of this: what's worth more to you, a few fast-food meals or the life of a loyal friend?  

                               The Ultimate Guide to Apartment Living With a Pet                                  

Pet Friendly Apartments in Nashville

Pet Friendly Apartments in Rutherford County 

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Visit your doctor to find out if your allergies can be controlled through medication and/or diet. If medications do not help you entirely, then try these solutions: Allerpet/D, available in many pet stores and by mail order. Apply to pet's fur using washcloth once a week. It neutralizes the dander. Nature's Miracle works in a similar manner. Cats can be bathed in distilled water to remove their allergens. Talk with your veterinarian about these and other solutions to the allergy problem.  

Unruly behavior
In most cases, the problems are quite solvable if you make a little effort. An animal is like a child. Set no boundaries, ignore him, give her nothing to do, teach him nothing...the child will not be well-adjusted and will not learn to behave. It is up to you to teach your animal kindly and consistently what is expected of him or her. Take obedience classes (contact local adult education centers and recreation centers, ask neighbors). Read a book. Practice frequently, with kindness and consistency. Most animals know how to act, we humans need to be trained in how to interact with our animals. Do not leave your items where your animal can eat them - it isn't the cat's/dog's fault if he/she can't distinguish between the blanket you have let him chew on in his crate and your favorite clothing. Consistency is the key. Positive reinforcement works faster than negative reinforcement.  

Destructive behavior/house soiling/barking
Does your dog destroy things when you leave? Does your dog pee/poop in the house? Use a crate when you leave the dog alone. Crates have been proven over and over to be effective. A crate is worth every penny.  Some people believe them to be cruel, but it is a naturally tendency for your dog to have a small sleeping area, a den.  It is kinder than sending your dog away. If your dog is barking excessively, you need obedience instruction.  Consider a trip to the vet.  A medical problem can result in sudden behavior changes.  

Shows Aggression
You need obedience training and assistance. Remember: cats and dogs, like children, learn what they are taught. What caused the behavior?  Does someone in your home rough-house with the animal? Play tug-of-war? Yell at the animal? Yell at other people or act violent? Does a child poke, tease or torment the animal? Or do you basically ignore the animal unless you're scolding or punishing him? Try to think about how your animal learned aggressive behavior, and find out proper techniques for eradicating it. If your pet is playing rough, you must stop the play and walk away. Spend quality time playing with the pet with appropriate toys. Consider a trip to the vet.  But remember, this aggression did not appear overnight, so the solution will not fix the problem immediately.  You must give your friend time to relearn appropriate behavior. A medical problem can result in sudden behavior changes.   

Litter Box accidents  
How often do you clean out the box? Is the box in a high traffic area? Have you added additional cats without adding additional boxes? Have you changed brands of litter? All of these might cause litterbox accidents. If there have been no household changes to trigger this behavior, a trip to the vet is in order. Your cat may have feline lower urinary tract disease (cystitis) and needs treatment immediately - do not delay - your cat could die if he or she has this disease and is not treated.

Claws Furniture
Have you provided your cat with appropriate surfaces (cardboard, sisal or carpeted cat scratching boards, trees)? Do you trim your cat's claws on a regular basis? The key is to make the scratching post more interesting than furniture - invest in good quality posts and treat the post with catnip. Cover furniture with throws to protect them during the training period. Use double-faced tape on edges of things kitty climbs on or scratches. Use furniture corner covers which can be bought at pet stores. Is your furniture really worth more than the life of a living, breathing being?  
Your Decision
Before you make your decision--and it is your decision; your animal has no say--think one last time what you can do to maintain your friend, companion animal in your home.

Still thinking of giving up your pet?
If you believe you must find a new home for your companion animal or the stray you found, then you must be prepared to spend time and effort to do right by your friend. You once made a commitment to care for this living, breathing, feeling animal. It is worth every hour you spend to find him or her a decent home. Do not offer "free" pets; charge a small adoption to ensure they go to a good home. You will sleep better at night.