Losing a pet can be distressing. But don’t lose heart. Stay calm and follow these steps to help you find your animal.
Visit the Shelter and File a Report
- Go to San Francisco Animal Care & Control (ACC) at 1200 15th and Harrison Streets. Only you can identify your pet so it’s best to go in person. Look through all of the cages, and ask to see any injured or sick animals. Be sure to go every day. The shelter holds stray animals for 5 days. After that, they may become available for adoption.
- File a Lost Pet Report (PDF – Get Viewer) at the shelter so you can look for your pet and check the found pet reports. You can also file the report by phone at (415) 554-6364 or email the report to ACC@sfgov.org.
- Search the Pet Harbor website to view current available animals at ACC and other shelters within a range of 200 miles.
- On days you cannot visit ACC, call our Lost Pet Hotline at (415) 567-8738 (LOST PET), for a recorded message and a partial listing of animals impounded.
Search Your Neighborhood and Online
- Talk to your neighbors and ask them to check garages and tool sheds. Talk to children who play in the neighborhood. Go door to door. Leave your name, address and telephone number plus a complete description of your animal.
- Search in the evenings when it’s quiet, and call or whistle. A pet that is injured or frightened may be hiding.
- Drive slowly around your neighborhood; sometimes a dog will recognize the sound of your car. Keep in mind that cats sometimes climb into cars, and are transported miles away before jumping out.
- Leave a personal item outside, such as a jacket or your pet’s bed, to help your pet find the scent home.
- Post fliers throughout your neighborhood—at local veterinary hospitals and community bulletin boards. Place signs within a 20-block radius of where your pet was lost. Think of a special question or physical characteristic that only someone with your pet will be able to answer. Never pay reward money in advance, and be sure to meet anyone in a public place. Note: Please observe all laws regarding the legal posting of flyers as per Public Works Code Sec.184.57, ARTICLE 5.6: Posting of Signs on City-Owned Public Property Prohibited.
- Post a lost pet ad with a photo on craigslist and Nextdoor; search the pet listings for found animals.
- If your pet is microchipped, alert the microchip company that your pet is missing and confirm that your contact information is up-to-date.
- If someone calls about your pet, try to get a positive ID of your animal from the caller. Have specific details in mind (a scar or peculiar feature) that will identify your animal. Think of a special question that only someone with your pet will be able to answer. If you offer a reward, make sure you have your animal back before you turn over the money.
Your pet may not be found for several weeks. Keep calling the ACC Lost Pet Hotline, and visiting ACC and other shelters in the Bay Area.
Redeem a Lost Pet
All stray animals are held at ACC for a minimum of 96 hours (4 days). There may be fees (and possibly fines) to redeem your animal from the shelter. See the Fee Schedule for more information.
In the event that it is determined that payment of fees by the owner/guardian would cause significant financial difficulty, the fees may be waived by the Director or designee, at their discretion.