URGENT: The city shelter is full, and we need your help to make more room for at-risk cats and dogs!

Found Pet Tips

Thank you for taking care of the lost pet you have found!

Due to overcrowding, bringing a pet to an animal shelter should be a last resort. By following the steps below, you can be a hero and reunite the lost pet you have found with its family!

Did you find a pet in rough shape? They may have injuries or look unkempt from their time on the street. Their condition doesn’t necessarily reflect the care they received from their family, so be careful not to jump to conclusions.

If the pet is wearing any ID, contact or find the owner

  • A Philadelphia Dog License can be traced by contacting ACCT Philly at 267-385-3833 or info@acctphilly.org.
  • A Rabies tag will have vet’s or shelter’s name on it. Contact them with the tag number so they can contact the owner.

No tags? Have the pet scanned for a microchip.

  • Bring the pet to any vet office or animal shelter, which can scan them for a chip. Then, search the number on www.petmicrochiplookup.org to get contact information for the company the chip is registered with. Contact the microchip company, and they will contact the owner on your behalf.

Hold onto the pet and immediately file a Petco Love Lost report.

  • Petco Love Lost uses advanced facial recognition technology to match photos of lost pets with those found by shelters or members of the community. Individuals who find pets can upload a photo, and folks who have lost their pet can also upload a photo of their missing dog or cat. Petco Love Lost quickly scans for matches at participating shelters, rescues, or with neighbors and good Samaritans.

Search Your Neighborhood for the Owner

  • Look around the neighborhood and ask people if they know anyone searching for a missing pet. The first place owners look for their pet is in their own community, so it’s important to spread the word right away, as someone may recognize the pet and be able to help you reunite them!
  • Post flyers with the pet’s photos, date found, and your contact information at businesses to catch your neighbors’ attention. Here is a free template you can use.
  • Please note: Cats who are missing the top part of an ear, known as an “ear tip,” are not lost. They are community cats who live outdoors, and have been spayed or neutered. If you see a cat whose ear is tipped, leave it where it is.

Post to Social Media and Similar Sites

The internet is an incredible resource for reuniting lost pets with their owners. Post photos, along with information on where the animal was found, what date, if they have any identifying markings, tags, collars, etc. Remember: Pets can travel a long distance in a short time. Don’t be skeptical if a person lost a pet far away from where they were found. Make sure to ask for proof of ownership (pictures or vet records).

Did you find a kitten or litter of kittens?

If the kittens are very little, their mom may be returning! Please leave them where they are and check back in a couple hours. If their mom has not returned, they’ll need to be fed and stimulated every couple of hours. If you’re unable to do that, you can bring them to ACCT Philly. If the kittens are older and friendly, they are candidates for adoption and you can contact local shelters or rescue groups, including us at catintake@phillypaws.org. If they are older but don’t seem social with humans, the best option is TNR (trap, neuter, return), which you can find resources on here. For more guidance on deciding how to proceed after finding kittens, read more here.

Bring the animal to ACCT Philly

This should be your last resort if you are unable to locate the owner yourself. The shelter is extremely full, and a pet has a better chance of being reunited with its owner (or finding a new home) in your care. (Seriously ill or injured animals can be brought to ACCT Philly if you cannot hold onto the animal or seek veterinary care.)

Did you find an owner?

Great work! Make sure to ask for proof of ownership (pictures or vet records) before handing over the pet.