If You’ve Found a Pet

Please read our stray intake process during COVID-19 here.

You can help a stray pet's chances of getting back home by keeping him in the community and looking for the owner. Did you know that a majority of pets reclaimed from Austin Animal Center were found within 1,000 feet of their home? Plus, you help us save space for sick and injured pets who really need our help. We've seen that pets win when neighbors help neighbors. View our data study here.

Follow these steps to help find the owner and keep the pet out of the shelter:

  1. Take the found pet to a veterinarian, emergency animal hospital or the shelter to have the pet scanned for a microchip.
  2. Submit a Found Animal Report by calling 311 or use the Austin 311 app.
  3. The pet will then be listed in our online database for two weeks.
  4. Visit the Pet Resource Center for supplies like food, a crate, collar and leash while you hold onto the pet.
  5. Post the pet as found on sites like Nextdoor, Craigslist and Austin Lost and Found Pets. 
  6. Hang Flyers where the pet was found. 

If you cannot keep the pet in your home or the animal is injured, you can bring it to the Austin Animal Center's Pet Resource Center by making an appointment here. If you are unable to wait for an appointment, please call 311 and ask to speak with an Animal Protection Officer.


Healthy Found Cats

COVID-19 Update: Due to resource limitations and for the safety of on the ground volunteers and staff, Trap Neuter Return (TNR) through Community Cats is currently suspended. 
Please visit our Community Cats page for more information about what to do with a found cat or kitten.

The Austin Animal Center does not accept healthy found cats into our adoption program, regardless of friendliness. Our Shelter-Neuter-Return program in partnership with Austin Humane Society ensures that healthy found cats are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, ear tipped and then returned to the exact location they were found. This increases the likelihood of the cat going back home and saves space in the shelter for owner surrendered, sick and injured cats. 

Unique or Exotic Pets and Wildlife

Austin Animal Center takes in all types of unique pets, not just dogs and cats. Found, unique pets, exotics, farm animals and injured wildlife are brought to the shelter as well. Wildlife is sometimes transferred to Austin Wildlife Rescue. Please check our online database and select ‘Other’ to search for animals other than dogs and cats.

If You've Lost Your Pet

Visit Austin Animal Center to look for your lost pet as soon as possible. All types of domestic and unique pets, exotic animals, farm animals and wildlife may be brought to the Center. Due to the large number of animals, some may be held for only three days or less after intake. Please visit the shelter ever day and search our database to check for your lost pet.

Search for Your Lost Pet

  1. Search for your lost pet in our online database. Organize by 'Days In Shelter' by clicking that category heading.
  2. View the Found Pet Map, which updates hourly.
  3. Visit and join the Austin Lost and Found Pets Facebook page to post photos and information about your pet.
  4. Post and search for your lost pet on Nextdoor.com and Craigslist in the Community section under Lost & Found and Pets.
  5. Check surrounding animal shelters where your pet may have been taken. Some well-meaning people may pick up your dog or cat and take it to the closest shelter, which may not be Austin Animal Center!

To Reclaim Your Pet from Austin Animal Center

  • If you have found your pet in our shelter, please call our Reclaim Hotline at 512-978-0556 or email animal.reclaim@austintexas.gov (hotline is answered daily between 11am-7pm).
  • Bring proof of ownership like vet records or a photo ID of your pet to reclaim.
  • Bring your photo ID-- we accept Driver's License, US or International passport, government or other official photo identification and Mexican Consulate cards.

Tips for finding your lost pet:

  • Start searching immediately.
  • Create and distribute flyers and post signs in high traffic areas. Please ensure that your flyers and signs do not violate City of Austin sign regulations. For display and design tips, click here.
  • Distribute flyers in vet clinics, pet stores, groomers, pet boarding facilities and other local businesses. 
  • Make sure your pet's microchip is up to date.
  • Don’t give up too quickly. Some lost pets are found within hours or days and others are found months or even years after disappearing. Don’t give up hope!