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Finding Lost Pets After a Disaster

Disaster Relief

This article explains to find a lost pet after a disaster.

This article was written for those in Central Texas, but may be helpful for all Texas residents. It lays out steps you can take to find a lost pet after a disaster. Start by keeping documents about your pet in a safe place. You can contact animal shelters like the ones listed here.

How do I find my pet after a disaster?

Your first step should be to visit your local animal shelter. Some animal shelters have online databases that include pictures of the animals residing there. You can also try calling the 3-1-1 non-emergency service number to find your local shelters and see what information and resources might be available for lost pets.

What will happen to my pet if it is in a shelter?

It depends on the rules for that shelter. Generally, shelters must search the animal for identifying tattoos and marks and scan it for microchips that may provide owner information. If any identification is found on the animal, the shelter must make reasonable efforts to locate and notify the owner. Some cities and counties have rules that state how long the local shelter must hold an animal before making it available for adoption or euthanizing it. The shelter's staff decides if the county or municipality does not have rules about how long to hold the animal. The shelter cannot hold the animal indefinitely if an owner has been identified. In disaster situations, the shelters are typically very short on space and cannot accommodate the animals for an extended period.

How can I get my pet out of shelter?

First, you must prove that the animal is yours. The proof of ownership that is required varies from shelter to shelter. Some shelters will allow you to simply identify the animal as yours. Others might require documents such as records from a veterinarian or a photo of you with the animal. Regardless of the shelter’s policies, it’s best to gather any evidence you can to prove that the animal belongs to you. If more than one person claims the same animal, the shelter will decide who gets the animal. If you are identified as the owner, many animal shelters will require you to pay a fee for the costs of impounding (keeping and caring for) the animal. Depending on shelter policies and local ordinances, the fee might be waived for various reasons, including exceptional circumstances like a natural disaster.

What should I do with a stray animal?

If it is safe for you to do so, you should take the animal to the nearest shelter. If you can’t get to the animal shelter safely because of a disaster or because the animal cannot be safely transported, try to care for the animal as you can and contact the contact animal control department in your area to retrieve the animal. There may also be a local disaster resource for lost and found pets in your area where you can provide information about the animal. Contact your local shelter for more information.

Hays County - Animal Shelter Information

Williamson County - Animal Shelter Information

Travis County - Animal Shelter Information

Bastrop County - Animal Shelter Information

Caldwell County - Animal Shelter Information

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