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You Found a Dog - Now What?


You don’t know this animal. It may be ill, not current on vaccinations, and/or not good with children or other animals. Therefore, be careful when handling the animal. If the animal is friendly, try to secure it at your home to keep it safe while you take the following actions.


  • If the pet has a collar, check for identification tags or a license. Call the number on the tag. If there are no tags, also check the outside and inside of the collar for identification.

  • If the pet does not have a collar, you can take it to any local veterinarian to have it scanned for the presence of a microchip identification. Veterinarians will do this scan for free. While at the vet office, ask the vet to identify the main breed of the pet and its approximate age. This will help you describe the pet as you try to find its family.


  • Call the animal shelters that are nearby to report the stray pet. You may ask that they come to pick it up or you can bring it to the shelter.

  • If you are willing/able to keep the pet for a few days, immediately call or go to the shelters and complete a FOUND ANIMAL REPORT. Print out our Found Pets Form here.


  • Place a FOUND PET ad in one or more local newspapers. Include the pet’s breed, approximate age, date and place found.

  • Post “Found Pet” flyers in the neighborhood

  • Notify local veterinarians.

Talk with your neighbors, and drive around the neighborhood-look for LOST PET signs. If the pet is friendly, you can drive around with the pet in the car and ask neighbors if they recognize the pet. This can often lead to you finding its family right away. —

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