napa humane

What To Do If You Have Found A Pet

If you've found a stray animal, chances are someone's beloved pet has gone missing. Assuming you've already ruled out identification tags or a collar with the owner's contact information there are a number of other steps you can take to locate the owner. Take action quickly because there's a very good chance that the pet owner is frantically searching for his or her lost pet. The following suggestions highlight many important ways to help a lost pet find his way back home.

If you find a pet who appears to be in bad shape, don't assume that the pet has been mistreated.  There can be a number of unfortunate events that can leave the impression that a pet has been mistreated or abused.  For example, a long haired animal can become matted, dirty, and full of stickers within days of becoming lost.  Or, a cat can find himself locked in someone's garage for a week, causing him to become thin and dehydrated.  It is possible that a pet might have been hit by a car, and though not badly injured, looks to be abused.  Some pets have terminal illnesses or are simply elderly causing them to look frail.  All of these pets likely have an owner that is heartsick about their pet being missing.  Please make every effort to locate the owner of a found pet.

But by all means, if you feel you have knowledge that a pet you have found is in danger, contact Napa County Animals Services at 707.253.4517 to make a report and relinquish the pet to the Napa County Animal Shelter.

If you are able to keep the pet while searching for the owner:

Contact the Napa County Animal Shelter at 707.253.4382 to see if a missing pet report has been made.  If no report has been made file one promptly. 

If the pet was found in or near the Town of Yountville, City of St. Helena, or City of Calistoga you will also want to contact:

  • In the Town of Yountville, call the Napa County Sheriff's Department Yountville substation at 707.944.9228
  • In the City of St. Helena, call the St. Helena Police Department at 707.967.2850
  • In the City of Calistoga, call the Calistoga Police Department at 707.942.2810

Take the stray to the Napa Humane Spay/Neuter Clinic, any veterinary clinic or to the Napa County Animal Shelter to have the pet scanned to determine if the animal has a microchip that will help locate its owner.

If after doing the above you have not obtained owner information:

  • Create colorful "Found Pet" flyers that will stand out or you can utilize a downloadable "Found Pet" flyer with fillable fields. Some helpful tips for creating your flyer:
  • Include a picture of the stray, the animal's general description, and your telephone number.   Make sure the text is large enough so that the flyer can be read at a  distance.. 
  • DO NOT include your address or your full name, in order to avoid becoming an unwitting victim of fraudulent activity. 
  • It's also important to WITHHOLD some of the animal's specific identifying characteristics.  This will help you determine if a caller is the actual owner. Some unscrupulous personalities may pose as a stray's owner especially if it is a purebred pet.

Post the flyers in your neighborhood on telephone poles and other street structures, at stores (grocery stores, drug stores, video stores, gas stations, and the like),veterinary clinics, groomers, local parks, etc.

When posting flyers at veterinary clinics and groomers' establishments, take a moment to tell the staff about the stray you found. It's possible that the animal's owner has visited or will visit the same establishments to ask about their lost pet.

Check craigslist to see if anyone has posted that they are missing a pet and post a found pet report on craigslist being careful to follow the guidelines provided to make your flyer.

Place an ad in your local newspaper(s).

If a caller claims to be the stray's owner, be cautious.  Try to meet them with the animal in a public place, such as a store parking lot during daylight hours.  Try to avoid giving callers your home address. If you must invite callers to your home, make sure another adult can be there with you. 

If you have found a stray pet but cannot keep him/her for any period of time:

For stray dogs:

If you are in the City of American Canyon, the City of Napa, or the unincorporated areas of Napa County call Napa County Animal Services at 707.253.4517 for them to come pick up the dog.  Please note that there may be a delay of up to several hours from the time you place the call to the time that Animal Services is able to respond. You also have the option of transporting the dog to the Napa County Animal Shelter.  Of course, this is only an option if the dog is friendly and you feel that transporting the dog is safe for you to do.

The Town of Yountville, City of St. Helena and the City of Calistoga do not contract with Napa County Animal Services which means that they are unable to pick up stray animals in these areas.

  • In the Town of Yountville, call the Napa County Sheriff's Department Yountville substation at 707.944.9228.
  • In the City of St. Helena call the St. Helena Police Department at 707.967.2850.
  • In the City of Calistoga call the Calistoga Police Department at 707.942.2810.

In those areas, you still have the option of transporting the dog to the Napa County Animal Shelter or follow the instructions provided by the law enforcement agencies representing the jurisdiction.

For stray cats:

There is no agency or organization in Napa County who is charged with the responsibility of picking up stray cats.  You have the option of transporting the stray cat to the Napa County Animal Shelter (if you can safely handle and transport the cat), or call Napa Humane to discuss alternatives.