Found A Lost Dog?

Founds A Stray Dog? Here Are Your Options

Many people contact our rescue organization to ask us to take in a stray dog they have found, hoping to eliminate a trip to the animal shelter where the person finding the dog believes the dog will be put to sleep (euthanised), if not reclaimed by the Owner.

The first place a person thinks of, and goes to, when they lose their dog is to the local shelters to look for them.

Each day you keep the dog you have found the chances of reuniting the dog and his or her Owner is greatly diminished, especially if you remove the dog from the area where you found them.

Legitimate rescue organizations are unable to accept strays, as a good-faith effort to locate the Owner must be made for a minimum of 30 days before a dog can be adopted, when not processed through Animal Control.

Here are some important steps for those who have found a stray:

1. Post flyers throughout the area, up to a mile, where the dog was found;

2. Talk to neighbors to see if anyone knows the dog, and where the dog lives;

3. Take the dog to a veterinarian or animal shelter and ask to have him/her scanned for a microchip. The microchip will provide the name and phone number of the Owner, if it was registered with the microchip company;

4. Place “Found” adverts in your local print newspapers (OC Register) and on-line at Craigslist, Kijji, PennySaver, FidoFinder.com and K-9 Alert.com. These must run for 30 consecutive days;

5. File a “Found Dog” report with all the local animal shelters in the area.

If the Finder of the stray dog has made a good faith effort to locate the Owner by following the steps above and the Owner does not reclaim the dog, most counties will consider the dog to be the property of the Finder. Please Note: Most Companion Animal Lawyers will advise you to process the dog through Animal Control. Orange County has an ordinance that states a found dog must be turned in to the Animal Care & Control within 24 hours of being found.

If you select to avoid Animal Control and after you have followed all the steps outlines, with written proof that these steps have been executed then at that time you can select to place the found dog with a rescue organization so that a new, adoptive home may be found.

Provide copies of your newspaper adverts, flyers, weekly contact with the various shelters in the area and other details to prove your effort to locate the dog’s Owner was made as a Good Faith Effort.