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San Diego Humane Society

What to do if you have found a lost or stray dog

Our Lost & Found services are by appointment only.
Please call us at 619-299-7012 to schedule an appointment.

Found a lost pet?

  • San Diego Humane Society is admitting stray animals at all three locations between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • If you find a stray animal outside of these hours and are able to keep the animal overnight, please do so, and call us in the morning. If you are unable to safely care for the animal overnight, call us during the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., or call your local law enforcement agency outside those hours, and they will contact our on-call Humane Officers.
  • However, if you are in a position to keep the animal in your home while searching for its family, please consider doing so. Visit our lost and found page for tips on searching for an owner, and notify us by email at to file a report so we can assist you with reuniting the pet with their family.

First, immediately check for identification and ask the people around if they know who the owner may be.

If the dog doesn’t have an ID tag, the following steps will help them find their way home:

1)    Search Our Database. Search for animals that have been reported as lost or missing to San Diego Humane Society.

2)    Hold the dog for a few hours. Eighty percent of lost pets are found within one mile of their home. If you can, keep the dog to see if you’re able to locate the owner in your neighborhood rather than bringing him into the shelter.

3)    Reach Out. Post flyers in your neighborhood as well as in regional lost and found social networks like Facebook groups, Nextdoor and Craigslist under the lost/found community page.

4)    Create a Found Pet Flyer. Use these templates for cats or for dogs to create a “Found Pet” flyer and post it at:

  • Local veterinarian hospitals or clinics
  • Pet stores
  • Coffee shops
  • Local newspapers

5)    File a Found Pet Report. If you’re not able to find the pet owner on your own, contact San Diego Humane Society and other local shelters in surrounding cities by phone or e-mail. It is important to provide a found report to help reunite the animal you have found with their owner.

San Diego Humane Society
Include information like the pet’s age, weight, breed, color, overall description and location found. Please include a photo of the found pet. The information and photo will help us cross-reference our Lost Pets database.
Call 619-299-7012 | Email us at
View more San Diego Shelters and Animal Service Organizations and Wildlife Services.

6) Consider Fostering. You can help keep pets out of shelters by fostering* the pet until we locate the owner.

*If the owner is not located and you are interested in adopting the pet, San Diego Humane Society will be happy to provide you the information needed to adopt the pet after the required stray holding period. Legally, the transfer of ownership of a lost pet may be completed only after the required stray holding period to provide owners time to locate lost pets. If an owner does not come forward and the pet is a candidate for placement, he or she will become available for adoption or transferred to a rescue partner organization.


To help reunite the animal you have found with their owner, you may search here to view animals that have been reported missing to San Diego Humane Society.

San Diego Humane Society only holds pets found in the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, Imperial Beach, Oceanside, Poway, San Diego, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach and Vista.

Visit this Jurisdiction Chart for further information on which organization handles animal control in your city. Please contact San Diego Humane Society to learn more about our lost and found animal services at 619-299-7012.

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