Report a Found Animal

Who can use this service?

Anyone who has found a dog, found a cat, or found any other type of pet or animal can report it to Animal Services and help reunite the animal with its family. 

Is there a charge for this service?

This service is provided free of charge.

What is the process?

Step 1: Check for ID

ID tags with current information are the quickest way of finding an animal's owner. However, animals may sometimes have other identification which is not so immediately obvious.

  • If the animal is wearing a collar, check both sides to see if a phone number or other contact information has been written there.
  • Look for tattoos. These are generally located on sparsely haired areas of the body such as the inside of the ear flaps or on the belly and thighs
  • Check for a microchip. You'll need help to do this as the chip is a small device implanted below the skin in the area of the shoulder blades. Since it can't be seen or felt, a scanner has to be used to detect it. Most vet hospitals and animal shelters will scan the animal for you at no charge.

Step 2: Check Around the Neighborhood

Often times, animals are found just a few streets or even a few doors away from home. Thus, it may be reasonable to hold on to the animal temporarily while you search for its owner. Make sure that the animal is safely and securely confined while you check with neighbors to find out if their pet is missing or if they might know where the animal lives. Talking with mail carriers, delivery personnel or other people working in the area can also be helpful in finding the animal's home. Keep an eye out for "lost pet" posters as you go through the neighborhood.

Step 3: File a Found Animal Report

Contact Animal Services to file a found animal report. To ensure that we get all the necessary information as quickly as possible, it is best to file this report over the phone at (805) 781-4400. If you bring a cell phone along, you can make the report as you are canvasing the neighborhood for the animal's owner.

If you are unable to file a phone report, you can download a Lost and Found Animal Report form, fill it out, and submit it to Animal Services by fax. Be sure we have all your contact information.

Step 4: Go Online

Post a notice with online community boards like Craiglist and Lost Pets of SLO County. Be sure to look at postings for "Lost Animals" too. Online services like the Center for Lost Pets and Fido Finder are also available to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

Step 5: Spread the Word

The more information you get out about a found animal, the better. Make up "lost pet" flyers. Include a clear, current photo of your animal; list the breed, sex, color, age, size or weight, and any distinguishing characteristics. Include your name and phone numbers. It's a good idea to include a phone number for a friend or family member in case you can't be reached. Good places to post your fliers include mailboxes, signposts, and trees around the area where your pet was lost; dog parks; vet clinics and pet stores; around schools; and high traffic commercial facilities like grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, and restaurants. It's always a good idea to keep a copy of the posters you make up along with a list of the places and dates you posted them.

Step 6: Call for a Pick Up

While an animal's owner can often be found with a little bit of effort, keeping a strange dog or cat at your home, even for a short time may not be a practical option. If this is the case, or if you are unable to locate the owner within 24 hours, contact us and let us know you've found a stray animal. We'll dispatch an officer to pick it up during normal business hours and do our best to reunite it with its owner.

When and where is this service offered?

Contact Animal Services to file a found animal report. To ensure that we get all the necessary information as quickly as possible, it is best to file this report over the phone at (805) 781-4400. If you bring a cell phone along, you can make the report as you are canvasing the neighborhood for the animal's owner.

If you are unable to file a phone report, you can download a Lost and Found Animal Report form, fill it out, and submit it to Animal Services by fax. Be sure we have all your contact information.

Location, directions and hours of operation

Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information

Animal Services Shelter

Monday - Friday 8-5

885 Oklahoma Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Tel: (805) 781-4400

Animal Licensing: (888) 738-3463

Shelter Update: (805) 781-4407