What to Do If You Find a Stray Pet

  • If the pet has a collar with ID tags, attempt to contact the owner. If you are unable to make contact or the information is out of date, follow the steps below.

  • Take the pet to your local animal shelter. If someone is missing their pet, the shelter is one of the first places they will look. Shelter staff will be able to scan for a microchip and check lost pet listings, which are other resources to locate and contact the owner.

  • If the shelter is closed or you receive our voicemail message, please call 319-356-6800 for Johnson County Dispatch. They will send an officer to assist you.

  • You may leave the animal at the shelter or take it home with you.

    • If you leave the animal at the shelter: There is no fee to surrender found animals at the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center and staff will make every effort to reunite the pet with its family. They will also be able to care for any immediate medical issues the animal may have.

    • If you choose to take the animal home: File a “Found Pet” report with a description of the pet and your contact information at the shelter before leaving. Take steps to protect other pets and humans at your house against sickness, fleas, or possible aggressive behavior by having a separate area to keep the found animal. Use caution when feeding and interacting with the animal. Take a photo and make “Found Pet” flyers to hang in the area where you picked it up.

Thank you for helping local pets!