Select a language:

When a Lost Pet is Found

Thinking and Caring Action can Save the Life of a Stray Pet

  • What should I do about a stray, found or dead animal in my yard or on the road? Call OC Animal Care at 714-935-6848 for pick it up.
  • What about cats? OC Animal Care will pick up a cat that has strayed onto your property, if you have it confined and it is sick or injured. Please do not confine an animal for a long period of time without food or water. To confine the cat, you may use the following items: a pillowcase (short-term confinement only), a box (must be securely closed and have air holes), or "have a heart" trap. Once the cat is confined, please call 714-935-6848 to have the cat picked up.

What to do when you find a lost pet


If an animal is wandering the streets, take him into safety (without putting yourself in danger). It just takes a minute for a cat or dog to be run over by a car. Look for tags. If the animal has a tag with his owner's phone number, make the call for the happy reunion. A dog or cat with a license quickly can be traced by Animal Care Services. These lucky animals have a ticket home. Don't assume a stray dog or cat has been abandoned. There is a good chance that the scruffy, unkempt animal on your doorstep is lost and that a frantic family is desperately searching for him.

Notify the Authorities

Report the lost pet to OC Animal Care. If you take the animal to your county shelter (care center), his chances of finding his owner or a great new home are better than you might think. If you would like to keep the animal, ask to adopt him when you take him to the care center. If you qualify as an adoptive home, you will be first in line to have him as your permanent companion if the owner isn't located. Some centers allow you to be a back-up adopter, so you can save the animal if no one else adopts him.

  • Check if the pet is wearing a collar and has a tag or a license. Sometimes people will write phone numbers on the collar directly instead of attaching a tag.
  • Take the pet to a shelter (care center) or veterinarian to scan for microchip identification.
    • If the pet has a microchip, contact the chip manufacturer to get owner’s contact information.
    • If the chip is unregistered or the manufacturer is unable to give you information about owner, contact shelter who can help you research the microchip.
  • Put up posters with the animal's photo throughout the neighborhood, as well as at local grocery stores, pet stores and veterinary offices.
    • Keep the flyer simple and to the point.
      • List the major cross streets where the pet was found since people are more likely to know where those are. A description of the pet – Breed, color, size, and any unique characteristics, License number, microchip number, and a description of their collar (if applicable) and a clear picture of the pet.
    • Post the flyer, pictures of the pet, and the location you found it on Craigslist,, and social media sites like Facebook and Nextdoor.
    • On Facebook, post on your personal page as well as any local lost and found groups and any neighborhood groups you see.
  • Ask people in the neighborhood, including mail carriers, meter readers, trash collectors, and schoolchildren if they know who owns the animal.
  • If you are not able to house the pet safely you can bring it to the shelter during regular business hours. To make an appointment, call 714-935-6848. Our team may also have other options for the pet that don’t include coming to the shelter.
    • Note: We recommend that you do not leave the pet you found alone with your resident pets until you’ve observed their behavior for at least a few days.
    • Sick or injured animals: If you have found a sick or injured pet that needs immediate medical assistance please bring it to the shelter during our business hours and call our mainline at 714-935-6848.
  • Look for posters and fliers that may be describing your "found" pet.
The bottom line: A lost, frightened animal is depending on you. Do for this creature what you would want someone to do for your pet.