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, you must 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.

Found animals (from Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills) may be brought to the animal to the shelter at 3281 East Bayshore Rd. Additionally, you may call 650-329-2413 to have an animal picked up by an Animal Control Officer.

If you find a sick, injured, wild or domestic animal, or animal 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 area shelters frequently and in person
  • Fill out a lost-animal profile for the shelter (A good photo is a big help!)
  • Advertise in the "Lost" column of the classifieds (online or newspaper) and check the "Found" classifieds daily.
  • 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. For more information, please visit our Licensing and identification page.

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.

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