Lost and Found Pets
Whether it is your own pet who is missing or you have found a stray dog or cat, taking these steps can help reunite pets and owners as quickly as possible.
I’ve lost my pet
- Report your lost pet to your local animal control office. Municipal animal control offices are usually the first place someone who has found a stray pet will go. Visit the shelter in person and provide a photograph of your pet.
- If your pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company to report that your pet is lost and verify that your contact information is current. Pets adopted from the Richmond SPCA are microchipped and registered with 24PetWatch.
- Create a flyer to circulate in the area where your pet was last seen. This template will help you quickly make a poster to print and share online.
- Post to your neighborhood’s website and social media.
- Contact private animal welfare agencies. Most private shelters and rescues, including the Richmond SPCA, do not house strays. However, we do keep a record of lost and found reports. Contact us at 804-521-1300 or email us.
- Check with local veterinary clinics and emergency hospitals in case your pet has been injured and taken there.
I’ve found a pet
- If the pet is wearing identification, please reach out to the owner using the contact information on the tag.
- Call your local animal control office to report that you have found an animal. Give a detailed description and submit a photo if possible. Municipal animal control offices are usually the first place an owner will look when his or her pet is missing.
- Virginia requires a statutory holding period for stray animals to give owners the opportunity to reclaim their pets. Should you prefer to observe this stray period, which varies by locality, in your home rather than at the shelter, first notify the municipal animal control for the locality where the animal was found and follow the agency’s instructions.
- Report the pet you’ve found to private animal welfare agencies. Most private shelters, including the Richmond SPCA, do not house strays but do keep records of lost and found reports. Contact us at 804-521-1300 or email us.
- Check your neighborhood’s website and social media for lost pet reports and post your own found report. Withholding an identifying characteristic from the description can help you verify that the person claiming the pet is the rightful owner.
- Make flyers to post in the area where the pet was found. Check with neighbors to see if they recognize the pet. This template will help you quickly make a poster to print and share online.
- Take the pet to a veterinarian or animal control office to be scanned for a microchip. If the pet appears to be injured and needs emergency veterinary attention, take him or her to Virginia Veterinary Centers or another emergency hospital. Identify the pet as a stray and notify VVC of where you found the pet (city or county).
Keep your pet safe
We recommend all pet owners take the following precautions so that in the event your pet goes missing, your reunion can be as swift as possible!
- Identify your pets with engraved tags on their collars, even if they never go outdoors. ID tags and engraving services are available in our Lora Robins Gift Shop, within our Robins-Starr Humane Center.
- Microchip your pet. Any changes to your contact information must be provided to the microchip company in order for a microchip to be effective. Pets adopted from the Richmond SPCA are microchipped and registered with 24PetWatch.