Temporary Policy Changes due to COVID-19 Crisis
LOST & FOUND PETS
For folks who have lost or found a pet we ask that you fill out the appropriate form on our website.
If you’ve lost your pet, after receiving your Lost Report a staff member will email you within 24 business hours with a link to the animals in our Stray Hold areas. This way we can limit visitors walking through the shelter but still give owners a chance to view the animals in our Stray Hold area. If your pet is at our shelter, our staff will work with you over the phone to collect needed information and arrange for you to pick-up your pet.
This policy may be updated or altered as needed during the COVID-19 Crisis. Please call if you have questions at (574) 255-4726 ext 0.
General Lost/Found Pet Policies
Daily animal intakes may vary from 1 animal to over 30 animals in a single day. Due to the high volume of animals we see each day and the number of calls and emails we receive, we are unable to identify lost or found pets over the phone or via email. However, we will strive to reunite as many pets to their rightful owners as possible by tracing microchips, ID tags, Rabies tags and reviewing lost and found pet reports. It is ultimately the responsibility of the pet owner to come in as often as possible to the shelter during Office Hours to look through our stray-hold areas. Visit the fourth tab labeled “Reclaim Your Pet” for more information on picking up your pet that has been brought to the Humane Society of St. Joseph County.
If you have lost your pet please fill out a Lost Pet Form on the next tab. If your pet is microchipped, be sure to contact the microchip company and verify that your contact information is current. Along with doing a lost pet walk-through at the shelter, please also visit South Bend Animal Care and Control at 521 Eclipse Place, South Bend, IN. You may want to visit sites like Craigslist and Facebook groups (South Bend Lost and Found Pets, Lost and Found Pets of Michiana, Lost & Found dogs- Elkhart County, Indiana). If you do find your pet listed online, be safe when meeting the person who found your pet. Suggest meeting at a local police or fire department or at the Humane Society parking lot.
If you have found a pet please fill out the Found Pet Form on the third tab. Please be cautious when interacting with any stray animal. These animals may not be current on vaccinations which can pose a serious health threat to your pets and family members. Stray pets may be overly stressed and scared and become aggressive and bite. Keep stray animals away from other pets and children. If you are going to attempt to find the owner of the pet, you must have the pet scanned for a microchip. Be cautious when reuniting a pet to someone who has claimed to be the owner. If you have found a pet in St. Joseph County or Mishawaka City please check in with the Humane Society to verify all current ordinances are being followed as to the keeping and/or rehoming of a found pet.
Other Resources for Lost/Found Pets
Contact Other Local Shelters
- South Bend Animal Resource Center (574) 235-9303 or 311
- Humane Society of Elkhart County (574) 848-4225
- Marshall County Humane Society (574) 936-8300
- Berrien County Animal Control (269) 927-5648
- Cass County Animal Control (269) 445-3701
Join and Post Area Lost & Found Facebook Groups
- South Bend Lost and Found Pets
- Lost and Found Pets of Mishawaka and St Joe county Indiana
- Lost and Found Pets of Michiana
- Elkhart County Lost and Found Pets
Helpful Websites & Apps
- South Bend Tribune
- Elkhart Truth
- Ask neighbors to check bushes, garages, under porches and sheds, etc.
- Put dirty clothes in the dryer to push out your scent further
- Hang flyers around neighborhood
- File lost reports @ local shelters/animal control agencies
- Visit https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/lost-and-found-dogs/find-lost-dog/ for more tips on finding lost pets.
Stray animals that are brought to the Humane Society of St. Joseph County are held as strays for the legal “stray-hold” time as described in the animal control ordinance of which the animal was found. The stray hold period varies between as little as one day to 14 days depending on a number of factors. It is very important that an owner comes in to do a walk-through of our stray-hold area as soon as possible during Business Hours (Monday-Saturday 8:30am-5:30pm).
In order to reclaim a pet the owner must provide the following:
- The owner’s valid state issued ID
- A current rabies vaccination certificate. The tag will not be accepted as proof of vaccination.
- If the pet does not have a current rabies vaccination then the owner will have to provide a receipt of a “pre-paid rabies vaccination” from any participating vet clinic. The owner must make an appointment with the vet within 72 hours of reclaim for the rabies vaccination to be given.
- Veterinary records (even expired records) to serve as proof of ownership.
- If valid veterinary records cannot be obtained, other forms of proof of ownership may be required which include but are not limited to adoption or sale agreement, microchip registration, pictures of the pet with the owner/family.
- All reclaim fees pertaining to the owner’s animal must be paid by the owner before their pet is released in their custody. Reclaim fees may include boarding fee, vaccination, license, microchip charges, and/or fines.
- Some animals may be eligible for a “free-ride-home” if the pet is current on the rabies vaccination and pet license along with this being the first recorded offense of the pet running at large or being brought in as a stray, and is reclaimed by the owner within 24 hours of intake.
- If reclaimed pets are ill or injured, the owner may be required to seek veterinary care for their pet within 24-72 hours.
After the legal stray-hold time is up, unclaimed animals are then evaluated by the shelter staff to determine if they are suitable for adoption or rescue transfer based on general health, temperament, and sociability. Animals found to be non-adoptable due to their health, temperament, and sociability may be euthanized.