Lost Pets

If you lose a pet in Montgomery County Maryland

Your first step should be filing a lost report with the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center shelter (located in Derwood) at (240) 773-5900. (Likewise, if you find a pet, you should notify the shelter right away so that the owners can know you have their pet when they call.) For information about the shelter, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/animalservices/asd/lostandfound.html and for more information about animal services, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/animalservices/about/contact.html. Strays from all over the county and beyond are taken to the shelter every day, by Animal Control as well as by members of the public. You should visit the shelter as soon as possible, but if you can’t go right away, call them and email infomcasac@montgomerycountymd.gov to register your lost report.

In order to limit person-to-person contact and reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center is open for adoptions by appointment only. Animal Field Services and Dispatch operations will continue as well as the daily care of the shelter animals. Owners with missing pets will still be able to reclaim their lost animals by calling (240) 773-5666 or emailing AdmissionsMCASAC@montgomerycountymd.gov.

If you are affected by COVID-19 and you need assistance with your animals, please contact (301) 279-8000. Animal Services recommends pet owners plan ahead with an emergency preparedness toolkit.

In an effort to reduce potential officer exposure to COVID-19, Animal Services Officers will only provide a “physical response” to priority calls. All other calls for service will receive a response by phone call or email known as a “resource response”.

If your lost pet has been taken to the shelter (MCASAC)

Be sure to ask what you will need to bring in order for them to release him to you: e.g., they will probably require proof that he has a current rabies shot, proof that he is your pet, a certain amount of money (check and credit card are okay, ask about yours) to pay for his impoundment, board, medical procedures, and fines, and you want to ask what hours you can come – you might need to have an officer present if an officer picked him up.

When they process your lost report

They will search the found reports already on file (and the animals at the shelter), and contact you if they have a match. Shelter staff will match your lost report with a found report (or a pet at the shelter) if they can, but you, the owner of the pet, will always be better able to recognize your own pet, so try to visit the shelter as often as you can during the business hours listed on their website. The shelter is located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Road, Derwood, 20855. You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcasac.

MCASAC holds stray animals for roughly 5 business days and then they are put up for adoption.

In the event that your lost pet has not been taken to — or reported to — the shelter

Speed is of the essence as you initiate your search. Here is a list of actions you should take, and some helpful websites you will want to consult:

* If your pet has a microchip, make an immediate call to the host company. They will notify your vet, local clinics and shelters, and local pet rescuers. This takes time, though, so don’t delay in following these procedures.

* If you lose a pet, you can also file a report and follow what’s at the shelter on a daily basis by going to: http://www.petharbor.com/

Type in your zip code, click FIND SHELTERS (or hit ENTER or RETURN on your keyboard), check “Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center: Derwood, MD” (and Prince Georges County if your pet could have ended up there) and click USE THIS SHELTER LIST. Then click I LOST MY PET and the species (dog, cat, other – don’t click any other choices or you may miss your pet) and then click SEARCH and you will see a display of information for all the cats/dogs/others currently at the shelter. **NOTE: Please visit the shelter as soon as possible to look at the animals. There is often a delay in posting photographs of animals at the shelter.**

This is a great way to keep track of what’s been taken in, but please be sure to check in person! Sex is sometimes listed wrong, as are descriptions. Pets found DOA and those at the vet will not appear, so having a lost report and visiting the shelter every few days is very important. Also, Pet Harbor doesn’t display the found location, so if you see something you think is your lost pet, make a note of the A# and call the shelter to find out where it was found. You can also file a lost report at that website. Try to include a photo and the lost location.

Other things we strongly suggest you do include:

  • Put large, bold, clear posters and flyers up in community gathering-places, and along the road in high-traffic areas in your neighborhood and beyond. Consider obtaining a disposable cell phone so that you don’t have to post your personal phone number on your lost posters.
  • Contact vets throughout your area and beyond. Bring a photo flyer to as many as you can, and mail one to the rest. Many pet stores will also post lost reports, as will many other businesses.
  • If you’ve had no sightings, you should hire a tracker to help you in narrowing down where to search.
  • Notify your neighborhood listserv, if you have one, and post on Craig’s List and Facebook (links below)

Remember, pets can travel great distances when they are stressed.

Be prepared to expand your search:

If you don’t find your lost pet within a couple of days, start checking all the area shelters. Some list their strays on Pet Harbor, others you will have to call or visit. Just recently, a dog lost in Springfield VA was taken to the shelter in Rockville. Most of the DC-area shelters are listed at:

To file and search for other reports online, go to:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/laf/  Craig’s List (you might need to check the pets page too: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/pet/) Most days, strays at many area shelters are also posted at http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/laf/

Facebook has several lost pet pages for our area. Start with: https://www.facebook.com/pg/MCMDLostPets/posts/

*NOTE* If you have lost a bird, go to http://www.birdhotline.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/DCMetroLostFoundBirds

For more ideas, go to:

If you’re serious about searching for your lost pet, gather volunteers, start a blog or Facebook page, and go public with your search dates, sightings, and progress reports. Call in a pet tracker.

FYI for anyone with a pet, it’s always advisable to have your pets microchipped, even those you don’t think will ever get loose, so that the shelter can immediately know who owns them should they ever wind up there. MCHS can help with this. If they wear their microchip ID tag, anyone who finds them can also notify the registry and the owners will be called, as long as you have registered your chip.