Lost & Found Pets

Our Lost & Found Services

Stray dogs that are brought to The Anti-Cruelty Society are transported to an authorized holding facility (Chicago Animal Care and Control: 312-747-1406 or Animal Welfare League: 773-667-0088) for the legally mandated three day stray hold period. These animals may be transferred back at the completion of the stray hold.

There is no stray hold period for cats that are brought to shelters without identification or a microchip.

Important Note:

If you have LOST a dog, please check with the City of Chicago’s Animal Care and Control facility, 2741 S. Western, Chicago, IL, 312-747-1406 or Animal Welfare League, 6224 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL, 773-667-0088.

Visit Every Shelter Often

It’s important that you visit every animal shelter in the area to look for your pet. It is necessary that you look for your pet in every shelter that holds strays because the description you give may not be the description another person would provide for that animal. For example, one person may describe the animal as being gray with white stripes and the next person may describe the animal as being black with cream stripes.

Chicago Animal Care and Control

Paws Chicago

Animal Welfare League

Harmony House for Cats

Tree House Humane Society

Pet Harbor

Lost Dogs Illinois

Lost Cats Illinois

Lost Dogs of America

Act Fast

  • Please check the shelters daily until your pet is found. Don’t assume that a shelter will house your animal any longer than a few days.
  • Contact the local veterinary practices in your area. They may have a “Lost & Found” bulletin board in their office.
  • Notify people who are familiar with your pet to let them know it is lost
  • Read the “found” ads and take out a “lost” ad in the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, or your local paper.
  • Consider the old fashion pet finding techniques like posting fliers where you live (if your neighborhood permits it) and make sure you look for fliers that may be describing your pet found.
  • Reach out to  Lost Dogs Illinois on Facebook to create a free flyer, receive free tips and resources and post on social media. 

Don’t Give Up

The first few days your pet is lost are most important. However, sometimes pets are found even after months of searching!

One of the most common reasons a pet will stray from home is because it is not spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering your pet will eliminate your pet’s reproductive instincts and, therefore, decrease the chances of it straying from home to search for a mate.


If you see an unaccompanied, free-roaming pet without an I.D. tag outside, follow these steps to help him find his family. 

  • If the animal is not in imminent danger, leave him. Most lost pets are less than a mile from home and the vast majority either return home on their own or are recovered by their owners searching for them in the neighborhood. Comparatively, it is estimated that less than five percent of cats and about one quarter of dogs taken to shelters as strays are reunited with their families. If this idea doesn’t sit well with you, spend the time you would have used catching and transporting the pet to a shelter observing him to be sure he is safe. Frightened animals could become endangered if followed too closely and startled so maintain distance.  
  • Search for lost pet posts on web sites such as Lost Dogs Illinois, Lost Cats Illinois, Craigslist, NextDoor, and neighborhood group pages on Facebook.  
  • Post your own found pet notification on those sites. 
  • Ask anyone you see in the neighborhood if they recognize the pet and know where he lives. 
  • Take the pet to the nearest veterinary hospital or police department to be scanned for a microchip. 
  • Surrendering to a shelter should be the last resort. Statistically, lost pets have a much better chance of getting home if they are not taken from their neighborhoods.  

Man and a woman with a found dog