If you find a dog or cat or if they find you, here are some hints to find his/her owner.  In almost every state, the animal is not "owned" by the finder until the holding period for strays has expired and the finder has made an attempt to reunite the animal with the original owner and/or has taken steps - obtaining vaccinations, license, collar and identification tag.   Attempt to find the owner. Think Lost Not Stray. 

Here is a list of things you can do to help the pet:

  • Check for identification on the pet's collar including tags or numbers written inside the collar. Rabies tags can be traced to the vet. 
  • Have the pet checked/scanned for a microchip or tattoo.  Your local vet, humane society, or animal shelter can do this at no charge.
  • Notify animal control/animal shelter in the area where animal is located.  Tell them that you have found a lost animal and provide contact information. This will be the first place the owners will look for their pet. 
  • If you can keep the animal for the required time period:
    • Place a found ad in the newspaper(s) in the area the pet was found in. Usually run free of charge!  
    • Wake County: For animals lost/found in Wake County, please go to www.wake.gov/pets for more information on where to post lost and found animals.
    • Johnston County: Post found pet on Johnston County Animal Services Lost and Found Pet Announcement ServicesYou can post descriptive information and view maps of where pets have been lost or found. This site also allows individuals to prepare a Pet Flier that can be posted in neighborhoods, vet offices, grocery stores, convenience stores.
    • Post found animal on Lost & Found pages on facebook.
    • Print and place fliers all over a large area surrounding the area the animal was found in. A pet can travel several miles in very little time.
    • Contact local vets, shelters, and rescue groups to see if anyone has reported the pet missing. Most vets, shelters, rescue groups, and humane societies will allow you to place found signs.   
If you cannot keep the dog while trying to locate its owner, you should turn the pet over to the animal shelter.  Allowing a dog to continue to be a stray is much worse and more dangerous than being in a shelter.