You've Found a Stray Pet - Now What?


Be Careful!

You don't know this animal. It may be ill, not current on vaccinations, and/or not good with children or other animals.  Be careful when handling the animal.

Check for Identification

  • Check the pet collar for an ID tag or a license. Call the number on the tag. If there is no tag, 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 usually do this scan for free. While at the vet office, ask the vet to identify the breed of the pet and its general age. This will help you describe the pet as you try to find its family.

Notify Local Animal Shelters

  • Call animal shelters nearby to report the stray pet. They may come to pick it up or you can bring it to the shelter.
  • If you can keep the pet for a few days, call or go to the shelters and complete a FOUND ANIMAL REPORT(PDF, 79KB).  Once you complete the form, you may email it to, send it via FAX, or bring it to the shelter. On the west slope of the County the FAX number is (530) 622-6851.  In South Lake Tahoe the FAX number is (530) 577-5318.


  • Place a FOUND PET ad in newspapers. Include the pet's breed, approximate age, date and place found.
  • Post "Found Pet" flyers in the neighborhood.
  • Notify local veterinarians.
  • Talk with neighbors, and drive around the neighborhood to 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.