Lanark Animal Welfare Society

Our mission is to promote the welfare of all animals, to provide shelter and care, and prevent cruelty and suffering for those animals in need.

FAQ: Adoption, Surrendering, and Other Questions



“What is a NO-KILL shelter?”

LAWS does not believe in euthanasia as a means of population control. If a LAWS cat or dog is in any way able to be rehabilitated, either physically or behaviourally, then LAWS makes every possible effort to do so. Euthanasia is used in the strictest sense of the meaning; when an animal is sick or injured to the point that prolonging its life would be considered inhumane, or in cases where the animal is a physical threat to humans with no possibility of behavioural modification or containment (ie. in the case of a truly aggressive animal that has previously bitten without provocation), then euthanasia is considered an option.

Please visit the following link courtesy of the No-Kill Advocacy Center for more detailed information:

Being a no-kill shelter also means assuming a responsibility to the community. Because we are against using euthanasia as a means of population control, LAWS chooses to be proactive and coordinate programs in the community that will decrease the overpopulation of animals over time through spaying/neutering, public education and awareness.
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“How can I BEST help my local no-kill shelter?”

The best way you can help LAWS rehabilitate and rehome the many hundreds of Lanark County’s lost, abused and abandoned animals coming into the shelter each year, is to donate. A monthly donation can automatically and securely be given through our page at

Knowing in advance when and how much revenue we are receiving will provide us with the ability to budget and the financial security to build and expand our planned programs. This will, in turn, benefit the community and help us decrease Lanark County’s substantial animal overpopulation problem over time.
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“Can I volunteer at LAWS?”

Absolutely! Pick up our volunteer questionnaire at our shelter or download it from our website at We always need volunteers to help clean cages, walk dogs, cuddle cats, help with fundraising events, and much more.

Please note, cat volunteers must be 16 years of age and dog volunteers must be 18 years of age.
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“Fundraising and Sponsorship”

If you are interested in planning an event to raise funds for LAWS please let us know so that we can promote it. Contact us at

If you are interested in a sponsorship and associating your business brand with one of our programs please contact us at
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“What kind of proactive community programs is LAWS supporting to help decrease the overpopulation of animals?”

Humane Education
LAWS’ Humane Education program reaches out to schools in the local communities and teaches the children about owner responsibilities, proper animal care, animal welfare and life skills. Encouraging these behaviours and increasing understanding of these topics at an early age will likely have a dramatic effect on many issues surrounding overpopulation and owner negligence

Trouble Fund
LAWS operates a Spay-Neuter-Assistance program now called the ‘Trouble Fund’ that helps give financial aid to the community for sterilizing cats and dogs. The availability of spay/neuter vouchers is dependent on donations to the program. Please contact for information.

If you are a veterinarian who would like to donate your skills for the betterment of our community, please contact or 613-283-9308.
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“Can you explain the difference between pound animals VS LAWS animals?”

LAWS is contracted with some municipalities in the area for pound services. A pound animal is not legally a LAWS animal and can legally never become a LAWS animal. Fees to release pound animals are completely within the jurisdiction of the municipalities and ALL monies received from pound fines (within the 7 day hold period) are directly paid to the municipality as they have already paid the usual shelter fees through their contract with LAWS.

If the 7 day holding period is up and the demand for pound spaces is higher than the amount of spaces contracted, it is up to the township to decide what happens with the animals. Euthanasia is not their only option, they may rent another kennel (providing LAWS has available space) on a per day basis. Fortunately, euthanasia is a rare occurrence as LAWS makes every effort to find a foster home or adoptive family for the pound animal before the need arises.

There is no physical separation between pound and shelter animals. The only separation between pound and LAWS animals is on paper only. The pound animals are cared for by LAWS with the same attention and love with which we would care for a LAWS resident cat or dog.

The following links specify the pound fees from some of the municipalities with pound contracts with LAWS:

Township of Montague: Animal Control By-Law
Town of Smiths Falls: Animal Control By-Law

If you have any questions regarding the workings of the pound contracts, please contact our feedback committee at or at 613-283-9308.
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“Giving up Ownership of your animal”

Before considering giving up ownership of your pet to someone else, ask yourself if there are other options.

  • Do you have allergies to animals? – Talk with your doctor about possible treatments.
  • Need help with your animal’s behaviour? LAWS can refer you to a specialist (a veterinarian, a trainer or a behaviouralist). Find out ways to improve the dog’s behaviour. With patience and consistency dogs tend to learn quickly.
  • Does your animal suffer from chronic health problem or more serious behavioural issues? This is a tough call but is it realistic to expect that another person will be more willing-or able-to deal with these? Ask your veterinarian for advice on options available to you. In this situation, the shelter is generally not a responsible option.

Making the decision to give up ownership of your animal is definitely a difficult decision that only you can make. At the Lanark Animal Welfare Society we do our best to find each animal a new home and are generally very successful, however, there are no guarantees. Before making the final decision of surrendering your pet to our shelter here are some other options you should explore.

  • Advertise your animal in local newspapers, veterinary clinics, pet food stores, friends, neighbours, etc. This way you can conduct personal interviews with the potential adopters to ensure the future care of your animal. Set a fee to adopt your animal. This will deter anyone who is not serious about the adoption.
  • There are internet forums that allows people to post ads of animals seeking new homes (some examples: and Please ensure that whatever site you’re using is reputable and consider getting references from any potential adopters.
  • Contact the Canadian Kennel Club to find out if there are any breed rescue groups in your area that may help you out.

If you are unsuccessful at finding a home on your own then and only then should you consider surrendering your animal to a shelter.

  • Please contact the shelter in advance to make arrangements to surrender your animal. If you show up without previous arrangements, it is possible that you will be turned away due to a lack of available space. We are a small shelter and we often have a waiting list of animals to be surrendered.
  • Please bring copies of all relevant medical history from your veterinary clinic and you will be asked to provide proof of current vaccinations. If unable to provide documentation, you will not be eligible for a reduced surrender fee.
  • You will be asked to fill out a basic history form about your animal. You are more than welcome to do your own write-up from home indicating the type of home that would best suit your animal. (Please include information on any previous interactions with children, and other animals.)
  • There is a mandatory surrender fee which is necessary to provide future care for your animal. You will be informed of this fee when you make arrangements to surrender.
  • All animals brought into the shelter must be under restraint (a leash, a cat carrier, etc.)

Once your animal has been surrendered to the shelter you may not, under any circumstances, reclaim your animal. It would not be responsible of us to return an animal to someone who has told us they are no longer willing or able to provide care for their animal. The decision to surrender is a permanent one.
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“What is a surrender fee and why am I being asked to pay it? How much is a surrender fee?”

Anyone who surrenders an animal is required to pay a fee. This fee varies on the status of the animal – neutered vs. intact, vaccinated or not, micro chipped or not. The fee is necessary in order for LAWS to recover some of the costs associated with vetting, neutering, vaccinations, de-worming treatment(s), flea treatment(s), microchipping, food/water, litter and shelter (overhead costs).

The following table illustrates the requested surrender fee associated with the status of an animal:

Dog Cat
Basic Surrender Fee (ie. Stray animals with no history of veterinary care) $80 $70
Neutered $45 $35
Intact but up to date on vaccines $75 $65
Intact but microchipped $75 $65
Neutered and up to date on vaccines $40 $30
Neutered, up to date on vaccines, and microchipped $35 $25
Litter up to 5 (including mother) $300 $200
Additional to the litter (per animal) $50 $50

When family pets are being surrendered by their owners, the owner will be asked to provide proof of sterilization/vaccination/microchip to be eligible for the reduced surrender fee listed above.

LAWS fully understands that surrender fees can be a big out of pocket expense and we appreciate any donation that will go towards the daily expenses of caring for the animals. LAWS is thankful for the continued support of the community.
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“How long is an animal awaiting adoption held at LAWS?”

Indefinitely. LAWS does not euthanize any animal simply because it has been in our shelter too long. The shelter animals stay in our shelter or at a foster home until a forever home is found.
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“Why does LAWS charge an adoption fee?”

Our adoption fees are among the lowest in North America. They help us to cover our costs of caring for the animals such as vaccinating, medicating, vet visits and spaying/neutering our animals.

LAWS is an independent shelter, obtains no government funding, and relies on adoption fees, surrender fees, municipal pound contracts, as well as fundraising and donations from the community. Without this income, LAWS would not exist as the shelter would not be financially sustainable.
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“What happens if the animal I adopted isn’t working out? What is LAWS return policy?”
We have a 45 DAY return policy. If the animal that you have chosen is not working out you may return it to the shelter within the first 45 days. If the animal was returned for medical or behavioural reasons, the shelter staff may offer you the opportunity to select another suitable pet in exchange. After 45 days, a fee for the surrender of your animal will apply.
Please note: LAWS does not refund adoption fees.
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“Are there any additional mandatory costs not covered by the adoption fee?”

YES! You are required to take your new animal to a vet within the first 30 days for a full health examination.

You are also responsible to get a booster and rabies vaccine for your new animal at your own cost.
This may be done at a veterinary clinic of your choice. In most cases the health examination, the booster shot and the rabies shot can all be done in one trip to the vet. It is much more cost-effective this way.

All vet clinics offer different services at different rates. Please call your vet in advance to find out details on their rates. Please remember: rabies vaccines are required by law.
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“Am I allowed to take home an animal on a trial basis to see if it works out?”

The “Paws to Consider” program allows families to bring an adult cat home for a 2 week trial period. At the time of pick up, the potential adopter leaves their credit card number (Visa only). At the end of the 2 weeks, we simply bill their credit card and process it as an adoption. At any time during the 2 weeks, the potential adopter can return the cat without any financial costs incurred by them. At this time, there is no such program for dogs or kittens.
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“How does the spay/neuter voucher work?”

LAWS no longer gives away spay and neuter vouchers. The feedback we were receiving was such that it became necessary revamp the program and we have! As of February 1st, 2014, all kittens and in the coming months, all puppies, will be spayed and neutered prior to leaving the shelter. It is now recognized that neutering a cat or dog at an earlier age decreases the length of the healing process and stress on the animal. As a bonus, the adopter no longer has to worry about vet trips, medication, possible side effects from the surgery, or any added costs!
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“Can I have an animal put ‘on hold’ until it is more convenient for me to pick it up?”

No. We are very firm on our “no holding” policy. In the past we have experienced major problems when animals were placed on hold and in the end it is the animal that suffers for it. Our animals are our main priority, and provided there is a good “fit” with the prospective family, are adopted on a first-come/first-served basis. We expect that when you come out to the shelter to see our animals that you are serious about your decision and are ready and prepared to take that animal home.
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“I have found a stray animal, what should I do?”

Links to the contact information for the animal control officer in your area, and more information on what to do if you find a lost animal can be found on the LAWS Lost & Found page on our website:
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Lanark Animal Welfare Society © 2018

Serving all of Lanark County, Ontario
Registered Charity #BN 11900 4893 RR0001
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