Found A Pet



  • SECURE THE PET. CRATE THE CAT OR DOG, OR SECURELY LEASH THE DOG. Provide water to the pet who may have been missing for hours. Walk around the neighborhood, knock on doors, asking neighbors if they know the pet’s owner. 
  • ASK EVERYONE YOU SEE IF THEY KNOW WHO OWNS THE FOUND PET: the postman, newspaper deliverer, meter reader, pool cleaners, gardeners, trash collectors, school crossing guards. 
  • TAKE THE PET TO A VETERINARY OFFICE AND ASK THEM TO CHECK FOR A MICROCHIP. They can assist you in calling the 24 hour hotline for the microchip company, which can provide the owner’s contact information. 
  • POST FLIERS WITH A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FOUND PET AND YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER. DO NOT INCLUDE SEX OF THE DOG OR OTHER DETAILS SO THE REAL OWNER CAN IDENTIFY THESE DETAILS TO YOU. Be sure to post flyers at all local intersections, businesses, veterinary offices and at each entrance and exit of all nearby neighborhoods at eye level. REPOST every few days as the flyers are regularly removed by city workers. 
  • RUN A FREE FOUND AD IN THE CLASSIFIEDS IN THE NEWSPAPER. Run the ad for 2 weeks to allow owners who might be away an opportunity to claim their pet. List only a brief description of the pet, and the city found in. Leave out certain identifying information about the pet, so the rightful owner can prove ownership. 
    •  The OC Register: 714-796-7000 
    •  The Daily Pilot: 714-966-4600 
    •  Craigslist: 
    •  Call your local Pennysaver 

 • MAKE THE CALLER IDENTIFY THE PET. Ask them to identify the pet accurately: if the pet had a collar, the color of the collar, if a male pet was neutered, colors, markings, unusual characteristics (missing eye, etc). Require that they give you their veterinarian’s phone number to call to verify that they own the found pet. Ask to meet them at their vet’s office. If they cannot describe the pet accurately, cannot provide a veterinary contact, and cannot provide photos of the pet as proof of ownership, they are most likely not the pet’s owner! 

  • BEWARE OF THOSE WHO POSE AS OWNERS TO OBTAIN FREE PETS FOR INHUMANE REASONS. There are people in Orange County who pretend to be the pet’s owner, but instead sell the pet to “bunchers” collecting animals for sale to research labs. Special purebreds are also at risk for con artists calling to get an expensive purebred as their own so they can use them for breeding. Others use free pets for bait in dog fights or sadistic rituals.
  • NEVER respond to a caller alone. Take someone with you and arrange to meet in a public place, not your home, preferably their vet’s office. 
  • TAKE THE PET TO THE SHELTER SERVING THE CITY THE PET WAS FOUND IN. THIS IS THE PET’S BEST CHANCE FOR BEING FOUND. SEE SHELTER LIST BELOW. If you turn a found pet into the shelter, you may ask for the impound number and to be listed as a “first hold” for the pet in case it is not claimed by the owner. This will allow you to adopt it or contact rescue organizations in the meantime, to facilitate the pet’s rescue. Be aware that 67% of dogs and 97% of cats are not reclaimed by owners in shelters. Due to lack of space and enormous numbers of animals, shelters are forced to euthanize a majority of these pets. Some shelters in California euthanize over 90% of all animals. If you hold onto a found pet while attempting to find the owner, AAL and other organizations may be able to assist with placement if the pet is not reunited with its owner after reasonable effort has been made. 

    •  - will fax “found” fliers to animal hospitals and shelters in your area
    •  - will fax “found” fliers to animal hospitals and shelters in your area

• CONTACT THE AAL HELPLINE: LEAVE THE PET’S DESCRIPTION, DATE FOUND, LOCATION WHERE THE PET WAS FOUND, AND TELEPHONE NUMBER: AAL will contact you if someone calls about a lost pet matching the found pet’s description. 


Orang County Animal Care Services in Orange: 714-935-6848 - Photos of incoming animals are uploaded every 30 minutes on their website 

Mission Viejo Animal Services Center: 949-470-3045 - Serves Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo - no website postings

San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter:  949-492-1617 - Serves San Clemente and Dana Point.  Lost and found pets are posted at: or

Irvine Animal Care Center:  949-724-7740 -  Serves Irvine -

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter:  949-497-3552 - Serves Laguna Woods & Laguna Beach

Newport Beach/Corona Del Mar Animal Control:  949-644-3717 

Orange County Humane Society:  714-536-8480 - Serves Newport Beach & Costa Mesa -

Costa Mesa City Animal Control:  714-754-5311

Westminster Animal Control:  714-548-3201 or 714-887-6156 (WAGS)

Santa Ana Animal Control:  714-245-8792

Seal Beach Animal Care Center:  562-430-4993 - Lost pets are taken to Long Beach Animal Care Services, 562-570-7387

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