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Lost or Found a Pet?


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Lost and stray pets are reunited with their guardians through our lost and found services every day. If your pet is lost, please contact us immediately so we can file a lost report. Be prepared to provide our staff with a detailed description of your pet, including where your pet was last seen, color of collar and type of tags.

At DC Animal Care and Control, we safeguard the health and well-being of all animals in our care. Each year, we handle nearly 4,000 stray pets who come through our doors. Because we have no way of ensuring the vaccination history of these pets, we vaccinate dogs for DHPP and Bordetella and cats for FVRCP when they arrive. Vaccines help to protect these pets while they wait to be reunited with their guardians and prevent the spread of communicable diseases throughout our community.

We encourage guardians of lost pets to visit the DC Animal Care and Control facility on New York Avenue to positively identify your pet, as information via phone may not be sufficiant. Bringing a current photo will help with identification. Your visit could help expedite a reunion with your pet, as animals may lose their collars and tags.

If your pet is at the Humane Rescue Alliance/DC Animal Care and Control, he or she will be held for five days. After five days, the animal becomes the property of the Humane Rescue Alliance.

The following are stray animals who have arrived at the Humane Rescue Alliance/DC Animal Care and Control on New York Avenue within the last five days. If you recognize your pet, please note the identification number and immediately contact us at 202-576-6664. 

How to Find a Lost Pet

If you have lost your pet or if you believe your lost pet is at our adoption center, please call 202-576-6664 (press 2 at the prompt) or visit the New York Avenue Adoption Center at 1201 New York Avenue, NE.

1. File a lost report:

File a lost report with your local shelter and with shelters in the surrounding areas.

To file a lost report in the District:

• Call 202-576-6664 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Send a photo and description to Please include the pet's name, size/weight, breed, color, special markings, date lost and your name and contact information.

• File a lost report online with this form. Upon submitting, call 202-576-6664 to confirm receipt, then send a photo of the pet to

MetroPets - listing of local shelters and rescue groups

2. Visit the adoption center in person
You are more able to recognize your pet than someone working from a description. Personally check each adoption center daily until your pet is found. The adoption center is required to hold stray animals for only 5 days, so please check back frequently.

3. Act fast
Search your neighborhood thoroughly. Pets often become scared and simply find a hiding spot and stay put. Use a flashlight to look under every deck, shed, porch or any other place your pet may hide. Also, be sure to get your neighbor’s permission before searching their yard.

4. Place flyers in the area the dog or cat was lost
Include a photo of the animal and post daytime and evening phone numbers. Place your flyer on a large brightly colored piece of construction paper. Ask your neighbors to help look for the missing animal.

5. Check for and place ads online
Check the pet section of Craigslist every day. DC Animal Care & Control places ads listing stray animals who have entered the adoption center every day. You can also place an ad of your own looking for your missing pet.

6. Microchips
If your animal is microchipped, contact your microchip company to report your animal missing and update your contact information.

For additional ideas on how to find your missing pet, please visit:

If You Found an Animal

If you have found a lost or abandoned animal, please contact us as we may be able to provide guardian information if the guardian has filed a Lost Report with us.

If you are able to safely house the animal while you wait for a guardian to come forward:

  1. Call 202-576-6664 (option 2) and file a Found Report so that we can connect a guardian with you when they call. If you choose this option, we encourage you to bring the animal to the adoption center to be scanned for a microchip and to be photographed for the website.

  2. File a lost report online with this form. Upon submitting, call 202-576-6664 to confirm receipt, then send a photo of the pet to

  3. Many forms of ID tags are traceable so please alert a representative to any ID, vaccination or microchip tag you see. If we are able to identify the animal remotely by researching an ID tag, and you elect to retain the animal while we locate the guardian, a photograph of the pet can be submitted to in a jpeg format.

  4. Flyers placed in your neighborhood can aid in reuniting a pet with his/her guardian as well as posting on Craigslist under the lost/found community page.

If you need the animal to be housed at the shelter:

  1. Drive the animal to the New York Avenue Adoption Center located at 1201 New York Avenue, NE. Be prepared to report landmarks or crossroads where the animal was found.

  2. If you cannot transport the animal, contact DC Animal Care & Control dispatch line at 202-576-6664 (option 1).

Animals are held for a period of five days before they become the property of the Humane Rescue Alliance.

Help Your Pet Get Home

Always keep a current identification tag on your pet. If your dog or cat wears a tag that has his or her name, your name, full address, and phone number, your lost pet will stand a better chance of getting home. Your pet's I.D. tag is the best ticket home!

Remember to update your pet's tag when you move. And be sure to keep a current photo of your pet in case he or she ever becomes lost. We also offer microchipping services.

It is important to always keep a current rabies and license tag on your pet, in accordance with local laws. DC requires that all dogs are annually licensed and that they are vaccinated for rabies and DHPP.

Prevent Your Pet from Straying

Dogs and cats who are spayed or neutered roam less. Learn more about spay/neuter services offered by the Humane Rescue Alliance.