Animal Surrenders

Surrendering Animals:

If you can no longer keep your cat or dog and wish to surrender it to Great River Rescue, please call us and let us know. We will want to know why you need to surrender the pet, and get as much information about your pet as possible. We take animals by appointment only and will set up an intake appointment with you and your pet. At that time, we will have you fill out intake paperwork, and get your pet vaccinated. We require a $20 fee at the time the appointment is scheduled, and we ask for a $50 surrender donation overall. The $20 fee at the time of making the appointment is meant to help reduce the chances of no-shows. No-shows significantly affect our ability to manage the waiting list effectively and save companion animals. If you do not have $20 at the time we call you to schedule an appointment, we will keep you on the list until such time as you can pay the fee. Anyone who does not show up for their surrender appointment will not be able to reschedule their appointment for a minimum of 30 days. The $20 appointment fee is non-refundable.

We will accept animals depending on space and resource availability. You may also choose to bring items associated with your pet such as their pet bed, dishes, favorite toys, food etc.  We will call you once we get to your name on our waiting list.  We only go back as far as two months on the list.  If you have been waiting two months or longer and have not been called, please call us again to make sure you remain on the list.

We do not accept dogs that are overly aggressive, show signs of kennel rage or bite. We do not accept feral or semi-feral cats or kittens that cannot be safely handled.

Check out these alternatives to surrendering your pet from the Animal Humane Society in the Twin Cities | Click Here

 Our kennel coordinator will contact you with any questions, or to schedule an intake appointment when space permits. We try our best to be proactive with the waiting list and stay in touch with you regarding the animal(s) you would like to surrender.  Please know that due to limited time and resources along with the number of requests we receive, we may not be able to contact you regarding your request for surrender.  If you have not been called within two months, please call us back to check on your status on our list. Also, if we are not able to get in touch with you after a few attempts, we will remove you from our list. Please be sure to provide us with a good phone number and email you check regularly.


Great River Rescue hosts a Home To Home website. Home To Home allows pet owners to post their own pets for adoption and connect directly with potential adopters. Home To Home is a great option for pets that won’t do well in the shelter setting, or if we can’t take your pet in a timely fashion.

Learn more and post your animal for adoption using the following link | Click Here


Why the Waiting List????

We understand that it can be frustrating when trying to surrender an animal to give it a better life and we are not able to take it in right away.  We also understand that it may be confusing when we have so few adoptable pets at times.  At Great River Rescue, we practice something called “managed intake.”  This is a practice in which we take animals in by appointment only.  We do this to ensure we have the time, energy, and resources to properly care for every animal that comes to our shelter.  When we are able to effectively manage the intake of new animals we can help more of them in the long run.  We also want people to know that while our adoption floor may not always be full with animals, our quarantine and intake areas might be.  We have very limited space in our intake areas, and this sometimes prevent us from taking in a higher quantity of animals.

It is our goal to someday be able to take-in animals on the spot and provide for their needs no matter what the situation.  In order to that we need to continue to grow responsibly.  Thank you for being patient and understanding this policy.  Of course, we want to help you responsibly care for and/or re-home your pet.  Even if we can’t take in an animal immediately, we are here to support you.

You may provide us with your information and information about the pet you would like to surrender using the following link: Waiting List.


Stray Animals:

If you find a stray animal and live within the city of Bemidji, please contact the city at 218-333-9111.

If you find a stray animal and live in Bemidji, Northern, Frohn, Grant Valley, Ten Lakes, or Port Hope Townships, or the city of Tenstrike, please contact animal control at 218-760-6651.

If you live outside of the areas listed above, Great River Rescue may be able to take the animal for a fee of $25 depending upon space availability. If there is no space, you will be added to our waiting list.

Found a kitten or kittens outside and don’t know what to do. Check out this poster: Kittens Found Outdoors Poster






Great River Rescue