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Lost Pets

Lost and found pets

Lost pets that are found by a Seattle Animal Control Officer within the Seattle city limits are brought to the Seattle Animal Shelter. If you live outside the city or near the city's borders, contact other shelters in your area. If you're not sure, check the address on King County Parcel Viewer; if the jurisdiction says "Seattle," it is within city limits.

My pet is at the Seattle Animal Shelter

If you believe your pet is at the shelter, please call us at (206) 386-7387 (PETS) to make an appointment. When you come to reclaim your pet, please bring a form of photo ID and proof of ownership, and be prepared to pay applicable redemption fees. While we love caring for the animals here, we would like this to be your pet's first and only visit to us! Review our Lost Pet Prevention tips to keep your pet safely at home.

If you lost a pet, use the methods below to aid in your search.

  • Check our website: View found pets at the shelter as well as animals available for adoption. If you do not have consistent internet access, you may listen to our Lost Pet Hotline by calling (206) 386-7387 and choosing the appropriate option. The lost pet hotline is recorded each evening and includes pets detained at the shelter in the last 48 hours.
  • Update microchip information: If your pet is microchipped, call the company and report your pet as lost, and make sure your contact information is updated and accurate.
  • Update license information: If your pet has a Seattle pet license call us at (206) 386-4262 between 1pm and 6pm and staff can help you make sure your contact information is correct. 
  • Visit the Mission Reunite website: This site provides specific, in-depth tips and techniques for creating a search plan based on your pet's personality and behavior, as well as excellent guidelines for producing effective lost posters and fliers.
  • Search and post online: Craigslist is the most commonly used website for posting lost and found pets, but we've found that neighborhood blogs and groups are also very helpful. Here are several that we know have been effective in returning lost pets to their homes:
  • Search and post in person:
    • Create an eye-catching flier with a good photograph of the animal and your contact information. (Visit the Mission Reunite for tips.)
    • Post fliers at local veterinarians' offices, stores that allow community posts and at the Seattle Animal Shelter.
    • Give fliers to mail carriers and delivery persons, and go door-to-door in the area where the pet was lost.
  • Contact other shelters: While animals found in Seattle should be brought to the Seattle Animal Shelter, it is possible your pet could have been taken to another local shelter. If your pet was lost anywhere near the border with Shoreline, Burien or King County, you should check with other shelters.

Unless the animal is sick or injured, we ask people to take a few actions first to reunite the lost pet with their family before calling us or bringing them to the shelter. These extra steps help a lost animal get back home faster and will prevent the finder from having to drive the pet to the shelter and out of their neighborhood.

Here's what to do if you find a friendly, healthy pet:

  • Snap photos of the pet and post to social media like lost and found pet groups on Facebook and Nextdoor.
  • Leash up a dog and walk them around the neighborhood. The owner could be out looking for them, or a neighbor who knows the dog may be able to identify them. 
  • Scan for a microchip at a vet's office or pet supply store.

The typical reclaim rate for lost pets is only 17% when a pet comes into the shelter. But when a pet is kept in a safe place in the neighborhood where they were found that rate jumps to 70%.

Most lost pets are found very close to home. They have a higher likelihood of being reunited with their family if they have a safe place to stay in the neighborhood where they were found for just a short period of time instead of being brought right to the shelter.

Every day lost pets are brought into our shelter, but their families do not know they’re here. People who have lost a pet assume they’re close by their home and most likely a neighbor will find and return them. They do not usually think to look for the pet at the shelter. This causes many animals to never get back to the people who love them.