What Should I Do?
If you have found a lost pet, please notify the shelter by phone at 239-533-7387 (LEE-PETS). Lee County Ordinance requires finders of all pets to surrender them to Lee County Domestic Animal Services within 24 hours. This allows the owner of the animal the ability to claim their pet at one location within the county.
What Shouldn't I Do?
Do not keep found pets, look for the owner yourself or try to find the pet a new home. The owner may be frantically searching for their pet but will not be able to find them if individuals choose to keep found pets and look for the owner themselves. Often finders will take it upon themselves to find the pet a new home when the actual owner is looking for their pet at the shelter. Be advised that finders of pets do not have the legal right to rehome the animal, as they are not the legal owner.
When finding newborn kittens it is important to leave them for their mother to take care of them.
What If I Want to Adopt the Found Pet?
If you find a pet and wish to adopt it or assist in rehoming it if it is not claimed, you may place an adoption application on the pet. You will be notified if the pet is not claimed by its legal owner.
How Does Animal Services Reunite Found Pets With Owners?
Animal Services will scan all found pets for a microchip ID and attempt through all means possible to locate the owner. Found dogs are held for a three-day stray holding period (without identification) and a five-day stray holding period (with identification), including closed days and holidays, to be claimed by their owner. Cats (with identification) are held five days, including closed days and holidays. After the holding period, they become property of Animal Services and may be adopted, transferred to another agency or humanely euthanized if the pet is deemed unadoptable.
There is no holding period for cats without identification. They immediately become property of Animal Services and may be adopted, transferred to another agency or humanely euthanized if deemed unadoptable.
Therefore, it is imperative that pet owners keep records updated as we will try to locate them at the last address we have on file.
What Happens to Unclaimed Pets?
Once the dog (with or without identification) or the cat (with identification) has been unclaimed by the owner after the expiration of the stray holding period, the pet will be placed for adoption or transferred to another agency. Exceptions: 1) The animal is deemed unadoptable due to health and behavior issues not treatable or correctable; and 2) The shelter is at capacity.
Cats without identification have no holding period and immediately become the property of Animal Services. They may be placed for adoption or transferred to another agency. Exceptions: 1) The animal is deemed unadoptable due to health and behavior issues not treatable or correctable; and 2) The shelter is at capacity.