Lost and Found Pets

How can you make it easier to find your lost pet?

Make sure your pets are wearing a valid license at all times (dogs only) and identification or a microchip.

All dogs in New York City must be licensed

If You Find a Lost Pet

If an animal is acting in a threatening or dangerous manner, protect yourself and call 911 immediately. Do not try to handle or physically restrain an aggressive or fearful dog or cat. If an animal appears sick or injured, call 311. Do not try to make physical contact.

If you find a dog that has a New York City dog license tag, use the NYC Dog eLocator to help reunite them with the owner. Enter the 7-digit number on the dog license tag, your name, email 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 NYC Department of Health, which will try to contact the owner by telephone or mail.

If the animal has identification, you can also contact the owner directly. 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 find a pet (with or without identification), you also can file a report online or bring the animal to a shelter.

If You Lost Your Pet

Your pet may have been brought to an Animal Care & Control (ACC) shelter. You can file a lost pet report, and you should check ACC's website daily for new lost and stray arrivals. If you see an animal that fits the description of your lost pet, you must visit the identified shelter to reclaim your pet.

You may not recognize your pet from the pictures and descriptions posted online. Consider visiting a few shelters to see for yourself if your pet is there. Find out shelter hours and locations.

  • Look for your pet right away. 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 should be large enough to be read from 10 feet away.
  • Tell your neighbors (including all neighborhood children), your postal carrier and sanitation workers that your pet is missing.
  • Visit Petfinder.com to check listings of local shelters and rescue groups in your area. The website will post ads for your lost pet.
  • Keep searching for at least a few months. People sometimes find a pet and keep it for a while before taking it to a shelter or abandoning it on the street where they found it. Lost pets have been reunited with their families after long periods of time – don't give up.

Other Tips

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.
  • Identification tags have current information. 
  • If your pet has a microchip, keep your personal information up to date with the company that services the microchip.