Bandito’s story isn’t atypical unfortunately, but it’s an opportunity for us to share what to do if an animal shelter is full.

Bandito was abandoned outside of a Tampa area Veterinarian’s office in a large cardboard box with holes punched in it and wrapped in duct tape. Written in marker, the makeshift cat carrier said “cat inside, shelter full”.

When they looked in the box, Bandito was nowhere to be found.

Later that day, he approached the front door of the Veterinarian’s office and when they opened it, he walked right in like he owned the place. He was just waiting for his formal invitation.

One of the Veterinarians actually adopted Bandito and he has been her cat ever since. She had us over for an In-Home Pet Photo Shoot and that’s how we met.

How to Properly Surrender a Pet

Surrendering an animal is never easy, and it’s often perceived as embarrassing, which is why so many pets are abandoned. Abandoned animals can be attacked by feral/wild animals and may not know how to defend themselves, or worse, run over.

If you can no longer care for your pet, a shelter, rescue or re-homing is the way to go. This may not apply to all shelters, but most county shelters are open admission, which means they accept all animals. Please check with them first prior to surrendering.

You could also try a local Humane Society or ASPCA, which usually take in owner surrendered pets vs stray animals. If you find a stray and you have no other option, the county shelter may be your best option.

You can also try posting a photo on or find a lost and found pets Facebook group in your city. In Bandito’s scenario, he was obviously abanonded.

Please check with your local county and non-profit shelters to see what their policies are regarding surrendering a pet.