If You Lost or Found a Pet


If you have lost your pet:

  1. Drive the neighborhood with a flashlight (after dark), your dog’s leash and a current photo, combing parks, schools and open areas. Bring a friend with you to field any phone calls on your cell phone.
  2. Call your local animal control office (see Animal Control in this section) for recent pick-ups and found pet reports.
  3. Search www.petharbor.com, a service of the Humane Society, for listings and pictures of animals brought into shelters, updated hourly. If you have not found your pet after searching, register your pet as lost to receive an email when matching animals are listed by a shelter or registered as found on the site.
  4. Blanket a five-mile radius with “Lost Dog” signs. Include a picture, breed, color and your phone number; listing a “reward” helps too. Leave flyers at houses on your street, shelters, pet-supply stores, vet offices, groomers, dog parks, supermarkets, the post office and coffee shops. Post “Lost Dog” ads on Craigslist, social media, and Nextdoor for at least two weeks.
  5. Personally visit all shelters in your area; neighboring cities often contract with different shelters. Visit as often as possible. If the shelter policy allows, leave your contact information with a recent photo of your pet; shelter staff cannot always provide notification, but most will provide as much assistance as possible. See Shelters for location information.
  6. Visit www.findtoto.comwww.fidofinder.comwww.pipmypet.comwww.thecenterforlostpets.com and www.whistle.com, “Amber Alerts” for lost or stolen pets; fees apply. Tip: Always have your dog wear license and ID tags, and invest in an ID microchip (keep your contact information current) for quick returns.


If you have found an animal:

  1. Check for ID tags, or drive him to your vet’s office to have him scanned for an ID microchip.
  2. You can also put him on a leash and tell him to “go home!” He might lead you straight to his door, or to neighbors who know him.
  3. By law you’re required to register him at the local animal shelter, because that’s likely the first place his owner will look. If you decide to search for the owner on your own, call and register the dog at local shelters and register the pet as found at www.petharbor.com; matching descriptions will be emailed to owners who have registered lost pets.
  4.  If you decide to take the animal to a shelter, see Shelters. At the shelter, the animal will be scanned for microchip ID and logged. Generally, stray animals are held for an owner-reclamation period prior to being available for adoption. If you are worried about the life of the animal, always ask the shelter about their policy before taking the animal in. Tip: Many rescue organizations offer advice and assistance, see Adoption and Rescue.
  5. If you cannot transport the animal to a shelter or find the owner on your own, call your local animal control office.