Found a Friendly Animal?


Think lost first.  Washoe County, NV animal control returns 65% of all animals to their owners.  This means that a huge number of "stray" animals are actually lost with owners that want them back. 


First, have the animal scanned for a microchip.  Most vet clinics and shelters will scan for free. 


If there no microchip, put up "Found" signs all over the neighborhood where you found the animal.  Post a picture on the flyer, if possible as you may post a different breed than the owner believes his/her pet to be.  For instance, if you post "Found German Shepherd" and the dog is actually a Husky, the pet's owner may not think to contact you. 


Talk to neighbors to see if anyone recognizes the animal.


Take the animal to all of vets in the area to see if any of the vets' staff recognize him/her as a patient.  Also, sometimes the vets can search their patient database for particular breeds.  Also, leave a copy of your Found flyer with the vet in case the owner calls there while searching for their pet.


Contact the five kill shelters in the Houston area (link above) to see if anyone has reported a lost pet that matches your found pet's description.


If you cannot take the pet to your home while you are searching for the pet's owner, many vets will also allow you to board the animal at their offices.  Most pet owners would be more than glad to reimburse you for boarding fees in order to get their beloved pet back home.


Post Found ads in local newspapers and Craigslist.  Also search the Lost Pets ads.


A note regarding "Pit Bulls".   Even if you believe that you have found a Pit Bull, please do not call the dog a Pit Bull unless you have a DNA test to prove it.   A HUGE number of dog breeds are consistently mistaken for Pit Bulls (Click here to see a list of breeds commonly mistaken for Pit Bulls).  In fact, studies have shown that shelters workers mis-identify dog breeds  87% of the time.   If they are making mislabeling dogs, the rest of us are too. 


Labeling a dog a Pit Bull attaches an unfair stigma to that dog that makes it harder to rehome him/her.   Three of the five kill shelters i.e the Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society and Harris County animal control (HCPHES) refuse to adopt out Pit Bulls or Pit mixes and just kill them.   So labeling a found dog a Pit Bull could give him/her a death sentence and the label may not even be true.


See more Lost and Found Resources here.


What to do if you find kittens - Austin Pets Alive

If the above fails and you cannot keep the pet, see "Rehoming your pet" below.
Have you Lost a Pet?

If your pet was lost in Houston city limits and someone called animal control to pick him/her up, they will most likely be taken to BARC i.e. Houston's pound. 


If your pet was lost outside of Houston city limits, then Harris County animal control may have picked him/her up. 


In either case, animal control is required to keep your pet only 3 days before they can adopt him/her out, release to a rescue group or kill him/her.  So, time is of the essense in your search.


Hopefully, your pet has a microchip and if someone finds him/her, they can take your pet to a vet's office or shelter to get him/her scanned.   However, some people do not know about microchips, so may not think to have him/her scanned.   They may keep your pet thinking they will try find your pet's owner.    

Post "Lost" signs all over the neighborhood where you lost your pet and even outside of that area.   Your pet may have been chased by another animal, took off running to escape, then could not find his/her way home.   Post a good, big  color picture on the flyer as people may mistake the breed of your pet for another and not pay attention to the flyer if the breed differs from what they think your pet is.   Make sure ALL of your contact information is listed on the Lost flyer.


Talk to neighbors to see if anyone has seen your pet, and give them a Lost flyer.


Take a flyer to all of vet clinics in the area to see if anyone has brought your pet in looking for the owner.  Leave a copy of your flyer with the vet in case some calls or brings your pet there.


Contact the five kill shelters in the Houston area (link above) to see if anyone has turned in a lost pet that matches your pet's description.  Don't just rely on a phone call though.  They get in a lot of animals each day, and probably won't remember your pet.  


Search for your pet.  Do not enter a breed because studies have shown that shelter mis-identify dog breeds up to 87% of the time.   


Search PetHarbor at least once every day.  (We recommend searching multiple times per day).


Visit each pound & shelter as often as you can to look for your pet in person.  Again, time is of the essense if your pet ends up at one of these facilities.  After 3 days, your pet could be gone and you would never know he/she had been there.      

Post Lost ads in local newspapers and Craigslist. 


Also search the Found Pets ads.

Feral Cats
Feral cats are unsocialized cats.  They may live near humans in order to have access to food, but they do not want to interact with humans like socialized cats.   These cats cannot be re-homed or adopted out because they will generally never want to live with humans.   Most of the time, they are better off left where they are.
Many communities have learned that a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program is the best way to control the population of feral cats.  TNR means that the cats are trapped with humane traps, sterlized, given rabies shots, ear tipped, then released back to their environment.  
See the Alley Cat Allies website for more information on TNR.
The kittens of feral cats can be socialized if they are caught early enough. 
There are several groups in the Houston area that deal with feral cats;  Kitty City Feral Sanctuary and Clipped Ear Sanctuary are two of them.   


Rehoming Your Pet
Talk to friends, family and co-working about taking your pet. You never know who may be interested in a new pet.
There is a list of local No Kill rescues on our website under Resources. 
You can also search to find rescues in your area. 
Most rescue groups utilize foster homes, so you may want to offer to foster the animal while the rescue group looks for a new forever home.


You can run an ad to re-home the animal yourself.  Be sure to post good pictures and write a good description of your pet's personality.  There is good information on page 7 here regarding how to "market" your pet to get more responses.
Please spay or neuter your pet before rehoming. (A list of low cost spay/neuter clinics are posted on this website under Resources).  This will ensure that your pet does not produce more litters. 
You may want to consider charging a small rehoming fee.  This should deter bunchers who obtain animals from "free to good home" ads to sell to research labs.
See more information here:  How to Find Homes for Homeless Animals