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Can You Keep a Stray Dog You Found?

by Adopt a Pet, | January 8, 2024

Can You Keep a Stray Dog You Found?

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In some cases, you can keep a stray dog you found, but not before reporting him to animal control and giving time for his family to find him. This dog could have a family that misses him and the first place many owners check for their lost dog is with animal control. Follow the steps below before adding a stray dog to your family.

What to do When You Want to Keep a Stray Dog

It can be tempting to just give the pet a new name and make him part of your family, but that’s not the right thing to do—and in most places, it’s illegal. Most municipalities require that found dogs be reported to animal control and may have other laws about what must happen if you find a stray pet. When someone loses their pets, they will usually look for them at animal control. If you don’t report him, the dog may have not chance to be reunited.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • When you call animal control, make it known that you’re willing to keep the pet until the owner is located and that you’re interested in adopting him if no owner is found. Some locations will allow you to care for the animal while giving the owners a chance to come forward. You’ll likely have to bring him by the shelter to have his picture taken and to check for a microchip.

  • Some locations will require the dog stay at the shelter during the holding period, but will allow you to be first on the list of potential adopters should the owners not be found.

  • If the dog requires medical care, be sure animal control knows you’re willing to bring the dog to your vet and to pay for the bills.

  • If the dog is being held at the shelter, check back often as to whether the owner has been found and keep on top of the hold-end date. Once the hold-end date passes, you will only have priority over adopting the dog for a certain amount of time, so don’t miss your opportunity!

  • Even if you fall head-over-heels in love, it’s important to give the dog a chance to reunite with his owners before you make him part of your family. Going about it the right way is better for the dog and, in the long run, for you as well.

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