Owner Surrender Information

For Otis Sake is a non-profit organization focused on saving dogs from over-crowded and under-funded rural shelters and animal control facilities.  We do not have a physical shelter but instead rely upon foster homes to keep and rehabilitate our rescue dogs until they can be adopted.  Our foster homes are reserved for our “death row” dogs.  On occasion, we are able to assist with dogs being surrendered by their owner.  The goal of our organization is to keep as many dogs as possible out of rescues and shelters and in their owner's homes.  


People who contact us often think that they are doing their dog a huge favor by finding him a home that “has more time” or a “home he deserves."  The fact of the matter is that most dogs are better off remaining in the home they already know and love.  


Take a moment to read the information below and explore the recommended options before completing the Owner Surrender form. 

Did you obtain your dog as a puppy from a breeder?

If so, please contact your breeder.  If you purchased from a reputable breeder, you would have signed a contract at the time of purchase.  This contract will stipulate that the dog should be returned to them directly if you decide to no longer keep him.  Please contact your breeder first! 

Did you acquire your dog from a rescue or shelter?

If yes, please contact the rescue or shelter.  A reputable organization would have had you sign a contract at the time you adopted our dog stating that the dog must be returned to them if you decide not to keep him. 

Has your dog been spayed or neutered?

 Spaying or neutering can have a dramatic impact on your dog’s behavior.  Please discuss with your veterinarian as this should be considered prior to deciding to surrender.   

Do you have a new baby in the family or one on the way?

Dogs are amazing family pets!  Contact a professional dog trainer - they are well equipped to handle the transition of a new baby to the family as well as able to provide solid advice and training to fit your situation.  If you are local to the Hagerstown, MD area we have several trainers we can refer you to.  Please fill out the form on our Contact Us tab and request a trainer recommendation.  

Think you do not have enough time for your dog? Think again.

There are many ways that you can squeeze in one on one time with your dog.  Play ball for 15 minutes while dinner is cooking, go for a walk or jog.  Practice basic manners training such as sit, lay down, paw, etc during TV commercials.  A happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog has spends at least 15 minutes of one on one time per day with their owner.  Add in some exercise for you and your pooch and you can reduce your own stress and add years to the life of you and your dogs! 

Are you moving?

 Moving is the number one reason people surrender their dogs to rescues and shelters.  Allow yourself enough time to research.  There are plenty of rentals available that are dog friendly.  The majority of the owner surrender inquiries we receive around moving are in relation to Bully breed dogs.  There are many resources available online to assist with finding a home with a Bully breed dog.  State Farm Insurance provides both homeowners and renters insurance to Bully breed pet owners. 

Are you experiencing behavioral issues?

There are many behavioral issues that can arise - from your dog not getting along with other dogs, other animals in the household or humans.  If so, please send us an email via our Contact Form.  We can most likely recommend a trainer in your area.  Please remember - it is never too late to socialize your dog and training is a great way to do so.  Not to mention it is bonding time with you and your dog.  

Are financial issues the cause for you wanting surrender your dog?

There are many groups that exist to help people who truly want to keep their pets, but are experiencing financial difficulties.  Check out the below links - they may be able to help.

  • Care Credit credit card company for pet-related health care
  • Humane Society recommended links
  • The Pet Fund can help owners that need urgent veterinary care, emergency vet visits or expensive surgery
  • Handicapped Pets provides assistance for caretakers of disabled pets

How long until you can take my dog?

If the Owner Surrender is approved and FOS agrees to take your dog, it will depend on the situation and needs of the dog and owner.  As mentioned in the Owner Surrender Policy, our first priority is the dogs we save from rural high kill facilities.  The ability and decision to take your dog is dependent on many factors including the situation, the timing and available fosters.  Fostering your own dog may also be an option as we help you search for a new home.  The Intake Coordinator will provide you with the necessary detail in their response. 

What if I change my mind after the dog is placed in a new home?

Once adopted, we will NOT get your dog back for you.  We will NOT provide the name or address of the foster home, if applicable and you will NOT be given the new owner’s contact information.  Once you have signed the dog over to FOS, you will need to follow the same process as other adopters and will be expected to pay the full adoption fee if approved to adopt.   

My dog has a bite history. Can you take it?

FOS cannot take in a dog with human bite history.  Dog bite history will be handled on a case by case basis.  If the Intake Coordinator determines that we can assist you in finding a new home for your dog, please be advised we will be fully transparent in the posting of your animal of the bite history.  You are advised to consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems causing the behavior change.  Just as important is contact with a professional behaviorist to try and work through the problem with your dog. 

Is there a fee to surrender my dog?

If FOS agrees to take your dog, there is an owner surrender fee of $75.00 to be paid at the time of surrender.  You will be required to sign an Owner Surrender from relinquishing your rights to the dog.  In addition, you will be required to provide all veterinarian records and history of your dog. 

If you have not found any solutions after researching and considering the information offered, please read the Surrender Process and fill out the Owner Surrender Form.  Please note, For Otis Sake is a 100% volunteer-based organization.  We review each and every Owner Surrender application and will respond via email.  It can take up to 5 days to hear from us.  

It is important to mention that we many not be able to take your dog.  If we are unable to take your dog, we will provide additional suggestions of assistance and an offer to post your dog as a courtesy on our Facebook page.  


Submission of the Owner Surrender Form does not in any way guarantee that FOS will take over ownership of your dog.


Surrender Process


  1. Review the Owner Surrender Policy in it’s entirety.  
  2. If you have not found any appropriate solutions after careful research and consideration of the suggestions provided, please complete the Owner Surrender form located below.  Again, we may not be able to take your dog.  We have a very large knowledge base and may be able to help you with your unique situation.  It is imperative that you be totally honest in completing the form - the more we know about you and your dog, the better we can help you.
  3. An Intake Coordinator will review your submission and make contact with you within 5 days of submission.  The more information you provide about your dog, the easier it will be to find a new home and / or a solution.  The Intake Coordinator will provide you with the final decision on our organization taking ownership of your dog or an alternative solution(s).

Click here to submit an Owner Surrender Form