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Licenses and Permits
Lost and Found Pets


How can you make it easier to get your pet back if he or she is lost?

Make sure your pets have and wear, at all times, a valid license (dogs only), and identification, and/or a microchip.

All dogs in New York City must be licensed

If you Find a Lost Pet

Remember to protect yourself. If an animal is acting in a threatening or dangerous manner, please call 911 immediately. Do not try to handle or physically restrain an aggressive or fearful dog or cat. Do not try to make physical contact with any animal that appears to be sick or injured. Call 311 for Animal Care & Control (AC&C) assistance.

  • If you find a dog that has a New York City dog license tag, use the NYC Dog eLocator to help reunite him or her with the owner. Once there, simply enter the license number (a 7 digit number on the dog license tag), your name, email and/or telephone number.
  • An email will be sent to the dog’s registered owner asking them to contact you. An email is also sent to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which will try to contact the owner by telephone and/or mail in case the owner doesn’t have a valid email address on file.

In addition to the NYC Dog-E Locator there are other ways to help reunite a pet with the owner.

If the animal has identification, contact the owner. Identification comes in many forms, so please check the animal thoroughly for a tag or tattoo. You can bring an animal to most shelters and veterinary hospitals to scan the animal for a microchip.

If you found a pet (with or without identification), you also can file a report with AC&C online or bring the animal to an AC&C shelter. More information.

If You Lost Your Pet

File a lost pet report with Animal Care & Control to search the shelters for your pet. If you see an animal that fits the description of your lost pet, visit the identified shelter to reclaim your pet. Animal Care & Control accepts lost and stray pets every day of the week. Be sure check the website daily.

You may not recognize your pet from the pictures and descriptions posted online. Consider a trip to one or more shelters to see for yourself if your pet is there. See shelter hours and locations.

Other Tips to if You've Lost Your Pet
  • Right away: go look for your pet! Do not wait for your pet to return on his/her own. Check everywhere — especially places that your pet has been before (for example, parks and neighbors' yards/bushes). Search your neighborhood during the day AND at night.

  • Put signs around your neighborhood, in local stores (especially pet stores and grocery stores), and in veterinarians’ offices (where allowed) for a 3-mile radius. Your signs/posters should be large enough to be read from 10 feet away.

  • Tell your neighbors (including all neighborhood children) your postal carrierm and sanitation workers that your pet is missing.

  • provides you with listings of local shelters and rescue groups in your area and will post ads for your lost pet.

Make Sure:

♥  your dog has a current license tag attached to its collar or halter.

♥  your pet always wears their collar or halter and that identification tags are securely attached.

♥  that the identification tags have current information.

♥ If your pet has been micro-chipped, you keep your current information up to date with the company that services the microchip.

Don't give up! People sometimes find a pet and decide to keep it. A few weeks later, they may change their minds and take the pet to an animal shelter or abandon it on the street where they found it. Look hard for a few months before you stop searching for your pet.

Remember, if your pet wanders away and doesn't come back, it may be because he or she cannot find his or her way home. There have been stories in the news of lost pets reunited with their families after long periods of time—don’t give up.