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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. The pet's owner might be searching for it there. 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 Palo Alto, Los Altos, or Los Altos Hills and you can not keep the animal: you may bring the animal to the shelter at 3281 East Bayshore Rd, or call 650-329-2413 to have an Animal Control Officer pick up the animal from you (during normal duty hours only.)

If you found an sick, injured, wild or domestic animal, or animal in distress within Palo Alto, Los Altos, or Los Altos Hills: please call 650-329-2413 24-hours a day to have an Animal Control Officer respond.


Recovering a Lost Animal

Act quickly if your pet is lost! Try 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. 

Palo Alto Animal Services holds 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 ID or have a microchip, we will attempt to contact the owner. In fact, if the Animal Control officers pick up a lost pet with some sort of identification, they will attempt to return the pet to its owner, if their owner is home. Remember, that if you don't keep your address and phone number current on the ID tag, license registration, or microchip company, we might not be able to reach 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. See Licensing and identification

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. Also, if you have a pet 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.