If You Find a Lost dog

You can play a pivotal role in reuniting a lost dog with their family by bringing the animal to one of our care centers (see locations) or keeping the animal in your care while we work together to try and locate an owner. 

Check for identification

If you find a dog that has a New York City dog license tag, use the NYC Dog eLocator to help reunite them with the owner. Enter the 7-digit number on the dog license tag, your name, email or telephone number. An email will be sent to the dog’s registered owner asking them to contact you. An email is also sent to the NYC Department of Health, which will try to contact the owner by telephone or mail.

If the animal has identification, you can also contact the owner directly. Identification comes in many forms, so please check the animal thoroughly for a tag or-tattoo. You can bring an animal to most veterinary hospitals to scan the animal for a microchip.

Keeping a found pet in your home

If you are unable to find any identification on the dog, you can either bring the dog to ACC or you may wish to keep the dog in your home. If you decide to keep the dog in your home, it is important to register them in our found pets database (see button below). This is a listing of all found animals in New York City, both in the shelter and in homes, and is one of the first places pet parents go to try and locate their lost animal.


Research shows that lost pets are often easier found the closer they are to home. We recommend creating flyers to post around the neighborhood and local police precincts. You can also check Lost & Found Facebook pages.

*If an animal is acting in a threatening or dangerous manner, protect yourself and call 911 immediately. Do not try to handle or physically restrain an aggressive or fearful animal. If an animal appears sick or injured, call 311. Do not try to make physical contact.