What to Do if You Find a Lost Dog

What to Do if You Find a Lost Dog - Long Island Pet Pages What to Do if You Find a Lost Dog - Long Island Pet Pages

DID YOU KNOW… Many lost dogs never make it back to their owners because the folks who find them, decide to keep them. If your neighbors or friends have found a dog, ask them (nicely) if they’ve done all they can do to find the original owners. Remind them that somewhere a devastated family may be desperately searching for their beloved pet!

It happens more than you think. Someone finds a lost pet, and brings it home, most likely with the intention of finding its owners. Then, they decide that he or she is “adorable” or “great with my kids” or “their kids fell in love with him!” Some even rationalize that “if the owners really cared about him or her, he wouldn’t have gotten lost in the first place”. Unfortunately, none of these are valid reasons why you should keep someone else’s pet.

While it may be tempting to do so, the odds are that this pets owner is frantically searching for them. Someone’s heart somewhere may be broken. Even with the most responsible pet owner, an animal can sometimes get away. Not to mention it is against the law, as dogs and pets are considered “property” and if you keep someone else’s dog you are knowingly in possession of stolen property.

If you come across a pet that’s lost, bring it to a vet and have it scanned for a microchip. If the pet doesn’t have a chip, you can post signs and flyers around town (without a photo – proof of ownership is a must for found dogs!) Ask your neighbors if they know of anyone who’s lost a dog, and of course, contact your local shelter/animal hospital as the owners will most likely be checking there to find their pet!


  • LIMIT THE DETAILS… while we’d all like to believe that everyone is good and has the best intentions for lost animals, if you read the papers, you’ll see that many lost animals listed on craigs list and other places are being snatched and used as bait, abused and killed.
  • DO PROVIDE: Pet’s Gender and the location he/she was found (street, town, etc.).
  • IF YOU MUST POST A PHOTO, take off the collar and any unique clothing (i.e. sweaters/bandanas)
  • DO NOT SHARE a full body shot that may depict markings such as white-tipped paws, etc.
  • DO NOT relinquish an animal to ANYONE without proof of ownership such as vet papers/receipts/documents, photos of pet (preferably with owner in picture), AKC papers, etc!

Be sure to also check with local shelters in the area where the lost pet was found, as the owners will mostly likely check their to see if someone has turned in their pet. Be sure to also check local Pet Lost and Found Sites (such as Lost and Found Pets of Long Island).

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