Lost and Found Pets

Have You Lost or Found a Pet?

Despite our best efforts to make things safe for our pets, sometimes accidents happen. Here is some helpful information if you have lost or found a pet and steps you can take to protect your pet from becoming lost in the future.

What To Do If Your Pet Is Missing

  1. Immediately contact your local animal control agency to report your missing dog or cat. All found stray animals go to the shelter that your city or town is contracted with for animal services to allow owners to find and reclaim. If you live near a border between cities, it is important that you report your lost pet to both cities’ animal control agencies. Click here to view public and private shelters and rescue groups in the Bay Area. Provide as much detail as you can when describing your missing dog or cat, including age, sex, color, whether it’s spayed or neutered, where your pet was last seen, whether your pet was wearing a collar and/or ID, photos, and any other identifying characteristics.Beginning February 3, 2021, the City of San Leandro will shift its animal shelter services from Fremont to the East Bay SPCA to better serve San Leandro residents. The East Bay SPCA will provide shelter services for strays or lost animals found in San Leandro without appropriate identification at the Oakland Shelter located at 8323 Baldwin Street in Oakland. Click here to view the lost and found animals held at the East Bay SPCA and how to redeem.
  2. If your pet is microchipped, contact your microchip company to inform them your pet is lost. Make sure your information is up to date with your pet’s microchip company. Current address and phone numbers allow a shelter or veterinarian to reach you in case your pet is found.
  3. Check with your local veterinary clinics in case injured pets may have been taken to a vet by a concerned resident.
  4. Place flyers around the area your pet was lost describing your missing pet with photos and leave a contact number in case your pet is found. Include your pet’s color, size, age, sex, and any special markings, as well as the date when your pet was lost. Notify your neighbors and search the area thoroughly especially in the evenings, since pets may hide during the day. Be sure to remove the posters once you have found your pet.
  5. Post online. If your neighborhood has message or bulletin boards or if you have a NextDoor account, post the photo and animal description for your neighbors to view. You can also spread the word on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, and to sites like Pet Harbor, Finding Rover, PawBoost, Lostmydoggie, Lostmykitty, and Craigslist.

What To Do If You Find A Pet

Should you find a stray or lost pet, immediately contact your local Animal Control agency in order to give the pet the best chance of being reunited with its owner. If you have any concerns about abuse or neglect based on the pet’s condition when you found them, please discuss these concerns with your local Animal Control. If the pet is in questionable condition and is claimed by an owner, Animal Control is the appropriate party to discuss any concerns regarding the pet’s welfare.

What You Can Do to Help

  1. You may be asked by your local Animal Control agency to temporarily keep the pet in your home if you are able to care for them while they try to find the pet’s owner. They will handle the return of the pet to the owner and will contact you if they have made an owner match. Please note that before you can consider keeping the animal permanently, by law you must actively try to find the owner of a found pet for at least 30 days, including filing a found animal report and having the pet scanned for a microchip, before you can consider keeping them as your own.
  2. Place flyers around the area the pet was found describing the missing pet with photos and include a contact number. Include the pet’s color, size, age, sex, and any special markings, as well as the date when the pet was found.
  3. Post online. If your neighborhood has message or bulletin boards or if you have a NextDoor account, post the photo and animal description for your neighbors to view. You can also spread the word on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, and to sites like Pet Harbor, Finding Rover, PawBoost, Lostmydoggie, Lostmykitty, and Craigslist.

Steps to Protect Your Pet From Becoming Lost

Here are some measures pet owners can take to minimize the risk of losing a pet.

  1. Microchip your dog or cat. This device emits a signal, which when scanned, retrieves a registration number unique to a pet and its home, with contact information for the person who registered the animal. Make sure your information is up to date with your pet’s microchip company. Current address and phone numbers allow a shelter or veterinarian to reach you in case your pet is found.

    Facts About Microchips

      • A microchip is a device, no bigger than a grain of rice, inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades of dogs and cats and does not hurt them.
      • It does not store photos or connect to mobile apps
      • It does not emit audible sound waves, set off metal detectors, or pick up satellite TV.
      • It does not track the GPS location of your pet.
  2. Have a collar with a legible ID tag on your pet at all times with your current phone number on it.
  3. Have a rabies vaccination tags on your dog and a current license. The tag is proof of rabies vaccination for adult dogs and often has the name of the vet clinic that performed the shot, the clinic’s phone number and an ID number for the dog. The dog license can be traced back to you if someone found your dog and contacted your city shelter and/or police department. Click here for more information about dog licensing.
  4. Keep cats indoors only. If kept indoors, they can’t fight with other cats, be exposed to illness from other cats, be harmed by wildlife, hit by cars or be stolen. They’ll love the indoors if you give them lots of play time, a nice scratching post, a fun window perch and interactive toys. Read more about enrichment tips for cats here.

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