Lost a Pet?
If your companion animal is lost, act quickly
- Start looking! Don't assume your missing companion will be back in a day or two, has been stolen, or has "gone off to die." Begin your search as soon as you realize your pet is missing, and visit the Missing Pet Partnership for specific strategies on how to find lost cats and lost dogs.
- Visit PAWS or the local animal shelter that services your area. Here's a list of other animal shelters and agencies in Western Washington.
- Contact your local animal control to see if they have found your pet. Some communities provide a "free ride home” for dogs and cats who are wearing a current city license, and if you can provide officers with your current contact information.
- If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip company to make sure your pet’s registration is up-to-date with current phone numbers and contact information. Some microchip companies take lost reports over the phone. If you are not sure of the microchip brand, contact the veterinary clinic or shelter where your pet was microchipped, or visit petmicrochip.org.
- Check out the following pet list to see if your lost pet has already arrived at PAWS. If they are at the shelter, be prepared for the reclaiming process when you arrive at the shelter.
- After you've initiated your local search, call animal control and other shelters in the surrounding area where the animal was lost and ask to file a lost report.
- Visit PAWS and area shelters and do it often. Looking in person is the best way to ensure that you and your pet are reunited.
- For lost cats, consider renting a humane trap as many displaced cats have not gone far from their homes. Fewer than 7% of cats who come into the shelter are reunited with their families, but more than 50% of lost cats are found by their own families when they use humane traps and other methods described on the Missing Pet Partnership website.
- Submit a “lost report” on animal related or social websites like Craig’s List.
When you visit PAWS:
- PAWS takes in strays from Bothell, Brier, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Shoreline and Woodinville in Washington State. If you lost your pet outside of the Greater Seattle Area in Washington State search Petfinder.com for shelters near you.
- If you think your pet may be at PAWS, submit a lost animal report and visit during our open hours. (Please note that PAWS makes all lost animal reports available for public viewing. PAWS is not liable for information in the reports.)
When you arrive:
- PAWS staff will instruct you how to look for your cat or dog in the shelter.
- If you haven’t already, you will need to complete a lost animal report. Remember to bring a recent picture of your cat or dog to attach to the report.
- Staff will also direct you to our lost and found station to look through the found animal reports. These are completed by citizens who are holding onto stray animals in the hopes of reuniting them with their guardians without leaving them at the shelter.
- As difficult as it may be, ask about records of animals who were found injured or dead.
- Lost and found reports are kept on file for approximately four weeks and are not returned to the reporter. PAWS is not responsible for returning photographs or other items attached to the report.
If your lost cat or dog is at PAWS:
- Good news that your pet has been found!
- Before your pet can be released, you must prove ownership and pay any related fines.
- Proof of ownership is established with pictures, veterinary records, pet tags, licenses or a microchip registered in your name.
- Fines are determined by the city or county where your pet was found. PAWS staff will tell you the amount and where to pay them.
- Depending on where your pet was found, fines are payable either to PAWS by cash or credit card or at the community police station.
- Once you’re reunited, learn how to prevent your pet from getting lost again.
If your pet is not at PAWS:
- If your pet is not at PAWS, please keep coming back. Your pet may arrive the next day or the next week, and since many animals look alike we cannot guarantee we will be able to match a completed lost report with your pet. Your chances of finding your pet increase if you return to the shelter on a regular basis.
- Don’t forget to visit other shelters in the area—you never know how far your pet may have wandered. Here is a list of other animal shelters and agencies in Western Washington.
- Be sure to check out these other resources for finding your lost friend.