Lost & found pets

Losing your beloved pet is a stressful and scary situation. A determined owner and the right approach to searching are key to a happy reunion. Found a pet? We have tips for you, too!

  • Lost Pet: Step by Step

  • Found Pet: Step by Step

  • Local Shelter Contacts

Lost Pets

If your pet has gone missing, following all of the steps below will give you the best chance of finding him/her as quickly as possible.

  • Call and report your lost pet to nearby animal shelters that accept strays, veterinary hospitals, and your pet's microchip company. In Berkeley, Berkeley Animal Care Services takes all strays and files lost/found animal reports. 
  • Search absolutely everywhere around your home. Scared pets sometimes hide in strange places and may be too frightened to come out when called. 
  • Take a walk and/or drive through your neighborhood, calling your pet's name and jingling favorite toys. Some owners have better luck calling for pets at nighttime when it is quiet. 
  • Go door to door in your neighborhood to inform your neighbors about your missing pet. 
  • Visit your local animal shelter every day to look for your pet. Do this for several weeks or until you find your pet. 
  • Make flyers with at least one clear photo, a detailed description, time and location last seen, and your contact information. Post them within a 1-2 mile radius of where your pet was last seen, a 1 mile radius of your home, and deliver them to shelters and veterinary hospitals. 
  • Check found postings on Craigslist, Nextdoor, and other websites. 
  • Place a lost pet notice in local papers or on websites like Craigslist, Nextdoor, and Petharbor. 
  • Prevention tip: Even though your pet should always wear a collar and tags, these may come off. Make sure to microchip your pet and keep the information updated so that you can be contacted when your pet is found.

Found Pets

Many concerned citizens who find lost animals assume they have been abandoned by their owners, but the majority of found animals are family pets who have gotten lost. You can help reunite a lost pet with his/her owner by taking the following actions:

  • Visit or call your local animal shelter to make a report. You are required by law to do this, and your local animal shelter is one of the first places a lost pet's owner should look. In Berkeley, Berkeley Animal Care Services takes all strays and files lost/found animal reports. 
  • Many pets will not have collars with identification tags, but they may have a microchip. Most veterinary hospitals and shelters can scan the animal for a microchip. 
  • Post found ads on Craigslist. 
  • Make flyers with a description of the pet and your contact information and post them within a 1-2 mile radius of where you found the animal, and at animal shelters and veterinary hospitals. 
  • Go door to door and talk to your neighbors to see if anyone is familiar with the pet. 
  • IMPORTANT: If the animal you find is injured, please call your local animal control for help. An injured animal is more likely to bite or scratch. You should seek professional help and/or advice before handling an injured animal. 
  • While public animal shelters with animal control contracts will take in and house stray animals, many private shelters (like Berkeley Humane) are not able to house stray animals. 
  • At public animal shelters, there is a required holding period for stray animals to give them a chance to be found by their owners. During this holding period, the animal cannot be adopted, released to another shelter or rescue group, or euthanized. 

Local Shelters for Lost/Found Animals


Berkeley Animal Care Services
(510) 981-6600 


Oakland Animal Services
(510) 535-8300 


Contra Costa Animal Services
West: (510) 374-3966
Central/East: (925) 335-8300