What do I do if I found a pet?
It is important to remember that in the state of Georgia, pets are considered property. It is illegal to keep or rehome a pet unless you have followed the steps below.
- Check the pet for a collar with ID tags. If they have a rabies or vet tag, contact the office that provided the tag to see if they know who owns the pet
- Get the pet scanned for a microchip. This can be done for free at any vet’s office, The HSVLC (by appointment), or at the Lowndes County Animal Shelter.
- Notify the Lowndes County Animal Shelter of the found pet. The shelter (not the HSVLC) is the only place that can take in strays.
- Strays must be held in the shelter for 3 business days, or in a foster home for 30 days before they can legally be rehomed. Please consider fostering if you are able! By looking for pet owners yourself, you are keeping a kennel open for another dog or cat in need, and saving lives!
Tips for finding the owner
After you have followed the steps above, it’s time to work to find the owner! Even if you take the pet to the shelter for a stray hold, you can continue to attempt to locate the owners.
- Walk through the neighborhood. Ask neighbors if they recognize the pet.
- Use social media. Post to your personal pages as well as in Facebook Lost and Found groups. Be specific and include area and time frame found.
- Put up signs and notify local vets and groomers. They may recognize the pet!
- Post to NextDoor.com
- Use networking websites such as Finding Rover, Lost Cats Georgia, and Paw Boost
- Try using a paper collar for cats (see instructions below)
- Be sure to ALWAYS ask for proof of ownership. (pictures and vet records)
Valdosta has a large population of community cats. If you find one outside, it’s a good idea to have them scanned for a microchip and attempt to find the owner in case they are an owned pet. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they may not have an owner. Cats learn to be sweet in order to get food. They may not act “feral” but they may still be an outside cat.
If a cat has an ear tip, it means they are part of a feral colony that has gone through our TNR clinic. They are spayed/neutered and can live long, healthy lives outside!