Lost and Found

Reporting a Found Animal

If you find a pet and are keeping it at your home while you try to find its owner, California law requires you to notify the local animal shelter for your area. Write out a complete description of the found animal before you contact the shelters; this helps ensure you won't forget any important details while filing your report. We can often reunite lost pets with their owners by matching a Lost Report with a Found Report. Please also have the animal scanned for a microchip at the animal shelter or a veterinarian's office.

If you found an animal in the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills, please complete a found animal profile online or call (650) 496-5971.

Additionally, you may bring the animal to the Animal Shelter at 3281 East Bayshore Rd. Palo Alto, or call Palo Alto Police dispatch at (650) 329-2413 to have the animal picked up by an Animal Control Officer during (regular duty hours.)

If you found a sick or injured animal, (wild or domestic) or animal currently in distress, please call our 24-hour dispatch at (650) 329-2413 and an Animal Control Officer will respond.

Recovering a Lost Animal

If you've lost a pet, it's best to act quickly! We recommend you try one of the following:

  • Check all local shelters frequently and in person.
  • Fill out a lost-animal profile online.
  • Advertise in the "Lost" column of the classifieds (online or newspaper) and check the "Found" classifieds daily. Also post on neighborhood group sites like Nextdoor.
  • Distribute lost-pet fliers within at least a ten-block radius of your home, and distribute them to people within a three-block radius.
  • View a list of found animals currently at our shelter. 

The City of Palo Alto (via Pets In Need) holds all stray animals for a minimum for 7 days to let their owners find them. Other shelters may not hold stray pets as long, and we encourage you to check local shelters daily. If a pet is wearing an ID or has a microchip, we will attempt to contact the owner. If an Animal Control Officer picks up a lost pet with some sort of identification, they will attempt to return the pet to its owner, so it's important that you keep this information up to date! A rabies tag is not a reliable way to track a pet's owner, so please don't rely on it.

Pet Pass Away?

We are very sorry for your loss, and understand the passing of a loved pet is hard. We offer several types of disposal services including cremation regardless of residency. If you have a dog licensed with us, please notify our office as soon as possible so we can amend our records. We will be sending you renewal notices, and failure update us in a timely manner may result in a citation. Call us at 650-496-5971 for assistance.