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Surrender and Return Policies

Surrender Policy

Surrender is by appointment only and we cannot accept walk-in or day-of surrenders. Surrendering an animal should be a last resort for pet owners.

People wishing to surrender their dog or cat must wait until space is available, and you will be placed on a waitlist. Wait times may be longer than usual as we are currently operating at/over capacity. We are unable to accommodate emergency surrenders at this time. Behavioural assessment prior to intake of surrendered dogs will be required. As we are a limited admission Centre, we cannot take dangerous dogs.

For information on our waitlist timeline and to arrange an appointment, contact Daisy Hilchey - Adoption Centre Manager 403-609-2022 during our office hours, or by email at

It is the policy of the Bow Valley SPCA to care for orphaned cats and dogs in the Bow Valley until suitable permanent homes can be found. The Bow Valley SPCA believes that all life is valuable and that all animals are worthy of having their needs met. It is a privilege to own a pet and a lifelong responsibility. If a person can no longer properly honour their commitment to their pet and feels the need to surrender him/her to the Bow Valley SPCA it should be because all other options have been exhausted.

The staff of the Bow Valley SPCA will offer the public other options before the decision to surrender is final. These options include:

The Bow Valley SPCA will need time to make arrangements to accept the animal. Wait times may be longer than usual as we are currently operating at/over capacity. Please consider the options listed above during the interim wait period.

The animal’s veterinary records are required. The pet owner will be asked to bring the animal’s food, crate, collar, and any familiar toys or blankets that may help them feel more secure.

Ownership of the animal must be signed over to the Bow Valley SPCA. The Bow Valley SPCA will make every possible effort to find a suitable forever home for the animal. The Bow Valley SPCA will provide the animal with food, shelter, ongoing veterinary care (including spay/neuter surgery), vaccinations, regular exercise, obedience training, love and attention for the duration of their stay at the Carla Cumming Sojonky Adoption Centre.

Repeated and continual surrender of animals will not be tolerated or accepted by the Bow Valley SPCA. If it becomes a recurring event, the mother of the litters (weaned or unweaned) must be surrendered, along with the litter, to the Bow Valley SPCA, whereupon, she will be spayed at one of the veterinary clinics in Canmore. It is then only at the discretion of the Bow Valley SPCA staff whether or not she will be returned to the owner.


The Bow Valley SPCA asks that the former owner contribute to the ongoing care of the animal financially, by way of a one-time surrender fee as follows;

Return Policy

Dogs or cats adopted from us may be returned in most instances. We want to ensure that our animals find the best fit possible for their forever home.

To arrange an appointment to return your pet, contact Daisy Hilchey - Adoption Centre Manager 403-609-2022 during our office hours or by email at

Refundable adoption fee

We adopt all animals in good faith but we cannot guarantee the health, adult size, behaviour, temperament, or training ability of our animals because most of our animals come to us with limited background information.

We will automatically accept the return of animals and refund the adoption fee in two circumstances:

  1. Within 10 days of the date of adoption if the animal has a previously undiscovered medical problem. The adopter has 10 days from the date of possession to take the animal to a licensed veterinarian for a physical examination at the adopter’s expense, unless a free examination is arranged by the us, whereupon, if the veterinarian finds a medical problem with the animal, the adopter has the option to refuse medical treatment for the problem and surrender the animal to us in exchange for a refund of the adoption fee.
  2. Within 10 days of possession of the animal, should we be provided with satisfactory evidence of an allergic reaction to the animal on the part of the adopter, or any other permanent resident in the adopter’s home, we will accept the return of the animal and the adopter will receive a refund of the adoption fee.

Non-refundable adoption fee

Where an adopter wishes to return their pet after ten days of taking possession of their pet, we may accept the return of the pet in some circumstances. The Adoption Centre Manager will interview the adopter and decide whether we can accept the pet back. Adoption fees are non-refundable and a surrender fee will be charged if the animal is returned to us.

Adopters who have returned their pets to us may not be permitted to adopt another animal from us in the future, depending on the reason for surrender.