How Long Does an Owner Have to Claim a Lost Cat or Dog? [Explained]

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

How Long Does an Owner Have to Claim a Lost Dog?

Losing a pet can be a devastating experience. You and your family, no doubt, continue calling out for your dog or cat while combing the neighborhood to find him. You go to local shelters looking for him. But ?

Let's look. And along the way we will find out how the DoNotPay app can help you find your lost pet.

What to do if you lose your dog or cat

Visit all the local shelters looking for your lost dog. It’s also essential to report your missing pet.

Here are a few other steps to follow:

  • Post flyers around your neighborhood or the area your dog was lost
  • Talk with your neighbors
  • Tell your mail carrier, they travel your neighborhood daily
  • Contact local veterinary offices and groomers
  • Post your lost dog on social media, like your Facebook page, local rescue groups and neighborhood pages

How long do you have to claim your pet?

Each state has laws regarding animal holding periods. Typically, the timeframe is between three and 10 days.

Here are some examples:

CaliforniaIn California, animal shelters are obligated to retain a pet for six business days not including the impound day.

Animals are automatically scanned for microchips during intake.

But there are exceptions. Following the first three days your pet could also be placed on the shelter's adoption list.

If an animal is suffering from severe injuries, it could be euthanized.

GeorgiaGeorgia law states that a pet will be held for five business days upon notice to the pet's owner.

If the owner is unknown, the shelter may hold a dog for 30 days following publication of a notice.

Georgia shelters also automatically scan for microchips.

OhioOhio has a shorter time frame. For pets impounded in this state, the owner only has three days to redeem their pet.

However, if the owner is found and requests additional time, the pet must be held for at least another 48 hours.

Unclaimed pets in Ohio must be offered to nonprofit rescue agencies and held for an additional 24 hours before facing the possibility of euthanasia.

As you see, there is not very much time to claim your lost pet.

How to Report Your Lost Pet on Your Own

Each animal control agency or shelter has its own criteria for reporting your lost cat or dog. First you must find out who is responsible for strays in the area.

Have key information ready, like:

  1. A full description of your pet including size and weight, coloration, purebred or mix, hair length, unusual markings.
  2. If microchipped, the microchip number
  3. If licensed, your pet's license number. Note even an outdated license number may help.

You also may be asked to provide a photograph of your pet. The more information you can provide, the better the chance of finding your pet.

How to Report a Lost Pet with DoNotPay

DoNotPay can make reporting your lost dog quick and easy. You’ll have more precious time to continue your search.

Just follow these steps:

  1. Search "lost and found pets" on DoNotPay, and select whether you're reporting a lost pet or a pet you've found.

  2. Enter the date and location you lost or found the pet and tell us more about them, including the breed, gender, whether they are wearing a collar, approximate size, and more.

  3. Upload evidence a photo of the pet, so they can be identified, and enter your current contact information where you can be reached with updates.

DoNotPay will report your lost pet, and ensure they are recorded in the appropriate government directory. This way, local animal shelters can keep their eye out for your pet.

DoNotPay Offers More for Your Pets

DoNotPay goes well beyond helping you understand . You can use DoNotPay to help with other pet-related issues, while your furry friend is lying close to you and your computer. For example, the app can:

  • File for, or renew your pet's license
  • Write a pet custody agreement
  • Report animal abuse you have witnessed

And there’s more.

Other Everyday Problems DoNotPay Can Solve

There may be nothing more pressing than having your cat run away, but DoNotPay can make your life much easier.

For example, DoNotPay will:

Check out what it can do for you. Try it today, and look for even more ingenious ways DoNotPay will help you in the future.

Want your issue solved now?