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What to Do if You Find a Dog
If you find a dog it is important that you actively try to locate its owner. It is illegal to keep or give away a found dog before actively attempting to locate the owner for 30 days (this may vary based on your local laws). The first place an owner will look for their lost dog is at the local county Animal Services. The county’s legal requirements to hold a stray dog at the shelter before adopting it out is a much shorter time-frame than if a citizen decides to keep the dog with them while actively searching for their owner.
METTA Rescue Family is not able to take in a found dog while searching for its owners, unless we have a foster home available who is in a position to help. Our foster homes are usually full with dogs under the care of the rescue, so taking in a found or stray dog is extremely rare.
Taking a found dog to your local county Animal Services isn’t necessarily and automatic death sentence for the dog. The dog will be sheltered while receiving the proper nutrition and basic medical care. While at the shelter the dog will also receive behavioral and medical assessments which will give potential adopters and rescues some extremely helpful information about the dog. If you do take a found dog to your local county Animal Services be sure to get their Animal ID # so you can track the dog on their website or call for updates.
YOU FOUND A DOG, WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
• Take the dog to the nearest veterinarian, shelter, or pet supply store where they can be scanned by a universal microchip scanner. If a chip is found, you can enter the chip number in this website to lookup registration information linked to the microchip: petmicrochiplookup.org
• Search for and post the dog to various social media platforms. Remember, an animal could travel far or may have been driven from their neighborhood to another part of town before escaping. Be sure to post the city and cross street they were found. Include if they have been scanned for a microchip and if they have one. A photo is always helpful. Asking for proof of ownership will help make sure the animal goes back to the rightful owner. Some of the places to search for and post the found dog include:
o Local Lost/Found Pet facebook.com groups
o Nextdoor.com if found near your neighborhood or surrounding area
o PawBoost.com which you can also use to create flyers to post near where you found the dog
• Post flyers around the area and at business (with permission) where the dog was found. Be sure to include a photo of the animal. This is an important step as not everyone is on social media.
• If you will be keeping the dog in your care or with a trusted person while actively searching for the owner, please report the dog found with local county Animal Services. Below is a list of counties local to METTA Rescue Family:
o Orange County, FL – Call 311 or use the Orange County 311 App to make a found report. That way if the owner goes to the shelter to look for their dog, the county will have the found report on file. Orange county also has a Lost/Found Pet Forum on their website:
o Seminole County, FL – Call Seminole County Animal Services to report the dog found at 407-665-5201 and search petharbor.com for pets reported lost in that county. Please visit their website for additional information: http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/county-managers-office/animal-services/lost-pets.stml
o Osceola County, FL – Complete the Found Animal report on their website: https://www.osceolacountypets.com/lost-and-found-pets/i-found-a-stray-pet/
o Lake County, FL – Please call the shelter to report a found animal at (352) 343-9688. Additional information can be found on their website: https://lakecountyfl.gov/offices/animal_services/
o Volusia County, FL – https://www.volusia.org/services/public-protection/animal-control/lost-found.stml Be sure to also contact Halifax Humane Society who also lists contact information for your local city animal control departments: https://www.halifaxhumanesociety.org/stray-lost-animals/index