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. Finders do have the option to adopt if not claimed with an approved application.
What Happens After The Pet Is Taken To LCDAS?
Dogs with without identification will be held for three (3) days, dogs with identification will be held for five (5) days for their owner to claim. Cats without identification will have NO HOLD PERIOD. Cats with identification have a five (5) day hold period.
Once the pet has been unclaimed by the owner after the expiration of the hold period, the pet will be placed for adoption or transferred to another agency. Exceptions- 1.) If the animal is unadoptable due to health 2.) If the animal is unadoptable due to behavior issues not treatable or correctable and they may pose a risk.
Lee County Domestic Animal Services strives to make every effort to find adoption or placement options for the animals in their care. Team members utilize discretion to make the best decisions for those animals and the communities in which they live, particularly in cases involving behavior or medical issues for which public safety is deemed at risk or in which an individual animal is deemed to have an irremediable quality of life.
Lee County Domestic Animal Services team members work to ensure the animals' physical and psychological health, incorporate welfare innovations, and provide humane care throughout their stay.
Individual animals are evaluated to ensure that welfare is optimized to the best of Animal Services' ability, such as
- minimizing and alleviating animal suffering, including euthanasia
- maximizing each animal's physical and psychological well-being
- improving animals' ability to cope with the challenges of a shelter environment
- recognizing animals' ability to express normal species-typical behaviors
- sustaining animals' ability to maintain some measure of control over their environment
Lee County Domestic Animal Services recognizes that animal sheltering is an inherently stressful environment for team members and does not support the use of language by citizens or entities inferring that the principles of care, ideals of animal welfare or role in public health are substandard or disregarded.
What If I Want to Adopt the Found Pet?
If you find a pet and wish to adopt 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 and it has been evaluated by staff.
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 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.