What to Do If You Find a Stray Pet

If you have found a pet you need to act fast. People who have lost pets start their search immediately and then tend to scale down the search if there have been no results within about 2 weeks. If you have not taken the following steps in the first few days of your sheltering of the lost pet, you may have missed the “window” of opportunity that exists during the first two weeks when the owner is looking the hardest.

Check for Identification

Rabies and/or license tags will have a tag number and the information of who issued the tag.  Contact the veterinarian or agency with the tag number, they should be able to then provide you with the owners information.  If there is just a collar be sure to check it on both sides for writing, many owners will write their phone numbers directly on the collar. If the animal has no identification be sure to contact your local animal shelter or animal control office as well as our shelter.  This will give you an opportunity to let the appropriate agency know that you have the animal and to provide a description to them, in case the owner contacts them. Also, have the animal scanned for a microchip at your local veterinarian or our shelter; this quick ID check could help you find the owner right away.

Spread the Word

Contact your local animal animal control agency or animal control office to check  lost reports and file a found report. Contact our shelter and notify us of the animal’s description so that we can check it against our records of animals being reported lost. You can usually place a free “found” ad in your local newspaper. Take pictures and create a “found pet” flyer to post around the area in which the animal was found. You can also post notices at veterinary hospitals and feed stores. Check Craigslist for lost pets and post the found pet information as well as on social media pages. Spread the word to the children in the neighborhood. They have a communication network that reaches far beyond the neighborhood and it might bring quick results. Hopefully, within a short period of time, you will hear from the owner and you will enjoy the extreme pleasure of seeing a pet and its owner reunited, thanks to your kindness and caring. It is one of life’s greatest thrills to participate in a reunion of this type.  

About Shelters and Animal Agencies 

Understand the limitations of shelters and animal care and control agencies. Once you have taken the initiative, time and trouble to rescue a dog or cat along the highway, you might be surprised to find that the rest of the pet care community might not necessarily rush forward to do what you see as its part. Siskiyou Humane Society is a private nonprofit no kill Adoption Center not an Animal Control Facility.   We are contracted with the City of Mt Shasta to hold stray animals picked up or seized by MSPD within the city limits. If you have found a stray within the Mt Shasta city limits you should contact MSPD to report the animal and request the animal be picked up if it is in danger or causing a nuisance.  If you find an animal outside of city limits you should contact Siskiyou County Animal Control.

Siskiyou County Animal Control
Animal Shelter
525 Foothill Drive • Yreka, CA 96097
Phone: 530-841-4028

Dunsmuir Animal Control
City Hall
Phone: 530-235-4822 Ext.102

Mount Shasta Animal Control
Mount Shasta Police Department
Phone: 530-926-7540

Lake Shastina Community Services
Phone: 530-938-4113

Weed Animal Control
Weed Police Department
Phone: 530-938-5000

City Of Yreka Animal Control
Phone: 530-841-2300

Shasta County Animal Control
Phone: 530-245-6065

Check The Laws 

To check on any relevant laws in your state, county, or town and contact your local animal control agency.  Many times the animal you find along the highway will turn out to be un-owned, unwanted, and unclaimed. Even so, the person finding the stray dog or cat does not automatically become the owner or keeper until he has satisfied certain state and/or local requirements. See the FOOD AND AGRICULTURE CODE 31107  for California’s holding period.  In almost every state, the animal is not “owned” by the finder until the holding period for strays (as specified by state or local laws) has expired and the finder has made an attempt to reunite the animal with his original owner and/or has taken steps—obtaining vaccinations, license, collar and identification tag—to prove he is now the owner.

 Taking an Injured Animal to a Veterinarian 

Before you take an injured animal to a private veterinary hospital for treatment, be willing to assume financial responsibility for the animal before treatment begins. Good care is not cheap, and many veterinarians have many Samaritans in their waiting rooms every year. Anyone who is committed to trying to save injured stray animals should discuss these issues in advance with the veterinarian.

 Things To Consider

 If you’re uncertain about whether or not to help or keep an animal you see alongside the road, here’s a final word of advice: First, think of what you would want the finder of your animal to do if he happened to find him injured without his collar. You’d want him to take your pet to a veterinarian, and you’d want him to try to find you. At the same time, be reasonable about how much you can afford to do for that animal if no owner shows up. Good Samaritans who have never lost a cherished companion animal may conclude that the owner of the found dog or cat callously abandoned him or, at the very least, neglected to keep him safely confined at home. But accidents can happen to anyone. The frantic owner could be looking everywhere for their beloved pet. Finally, be honest with yourself in answering these questions: Are you willing to add him to your household? And will you be willing to return him to his original home if the owner turns up after you’ve started to form an attachment? If you answer “no” to these questions, your best option may be to contact animal control for assistance or take the animal directly to an animal control facility.