Lost Pet

MSPCA Boston Lost Pet Contact Information

The MSPCA Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center receives several stray animals each week. In Massachusetts, stray dogs are required to be held for 7 days. However, there is no "stray holding period" law for other animals, including cats. The best way to find your pet is to contact us as soon as you notice your pet missing. The MSPCA Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center receives stray animals from all over Massachusetts, so please call us even if you don't live in the Boston area.

Our Contact Information

To report a lost or found pet, please fill out the appropriate form below or leave a message on our lost animal hotline 617-524-5678. This voicemail is checked at least twice a week. You can also come in anytime during our opens hours to see if your pet was brought to us or fill out a lost report with a description of your missing animal. We are open Tuesday - Friday 2pm-6pm and Saturday - Sunday 11am-4pm.

Lost Cat  Lost Dog  Lost Other Animal 

What Information You Will Need

Please be prepared to leave the following information about your pet when you contact us.
The more information we have on your pet, the better we are able to match stray animals that are brought or reported to us with your missing pet. 

  • Providing a recent picture of your pet in your email or bringing a photograph for us to keep will significantly increase our chances of matching an animal brought to us as yours.
  • Breed (ex: Lab, Domestic Short-hair)
  • Purebred/mixed breed status on dogs
  • Color pattern
  • Age
  • Size
  • Gender, including if they are or are not spayed/neutered
  • Any distinctive markings your pet may have, including color markings, eye/nose color, scars and hair length
  • If they were or were not wearing a collar/tags
  • If they have a microchip
  • Where they were last seen (town, street name)
  • When they were last seen
  • Your name and phone number

After contacting us Take the Following Important Steps

1) Search for your pet. Most pets go missing close to home, especially indoor only cats. Look carefully under your porches, bushes, in basements and in garages. Go to your neighbor's houses and ask if you can look in their yard and under their porches as well. One study found that 90% of indoor only cats were found within a 1 house radius of their house. It’s normal for cats to be so frightened that they can be hiding right under your nose and not respond to your call. If you don’t find your lost pet right away, don’t give up. Often it takes 4-12 days before they will start to get hungry enough to come out of hiding. Some pets have been found weeks or months later. Keep going back to the same places, calling his/her name and looking under possible hiding spots like bushes, porches, and cars. They may respond differently a day or two later. Cats that go outside on a daily basis and confident dogs tend to wander further distances. The best time to look for a lost cat is at between dusk and dawn — when streets are quiet and cats tend to be most active. Ask family and friends who know your pet to help you search out potential hiding spots. For additional tips on finding your lost cat/dog/small animal visit the Missing Pet Partnership Webpage.

2) Call all surrounding city and towns animal control offices.  Boston Animal Control can be reached at  617-635-1800 or 617-635-5348. In Massachusetts, animal control is handled individually by each of the 351 municipalities and towns. Typically, stray and lost animals are held in local facilities. Private animal shelters like the MSPCA will also sometimes receive stray animals and reports of lost pets. If we receive a lost pet, we will attempt to contact the Animal Control Officer from that city or town, and may sometimes transfer the animal back to them. Calling all surrounding towns animal control offices is essential as often a lost animal is brought far away from the original town it went missing from. Click here for other Boston Area Humane Agency and Animal Control information.

3) Call and visit the Animal Rescue League of Boston at 617-426-9170 to report your animal missing.

4) If your animal is microchipped, contact your microchip company to report your animal missing and update your contact information. It is important that the contact information linked to the microchip is accurate, so the shelter, animal control officer or veterinarian who finds your pet will be able to contact you when the chip is scanned. Here are the major microchip companies and their contact information. Home Again: 888-466-3242, AVID: 800-434-2843 and 24PetWatch: 866-597-2424.

5) Post fliers and make posters in the area you last saw your pet. Click here for an example of what information to include. Print the flyers with a color photo.  The bigger the poster/flyer size, the better and make sure to post flyers at eye level.

6) Tell your neighbors and mail carrier – make sure you give them a copy of lost pet flyers you made. If you are missing an   

7) Set a trap for your lost cat - Setting a trap in your yard or on your porch may entice your lost cat to come out when it is quiet to eat the food. Traps can be rented at the Boston Adoption Center during our open hours for a $60 deposit which is refunded in full when the trap is returned. Staff can show you how to set the trap and give you instructions on how often you should check the trap etc.

8) Search on Craigslist - some finders of pets post pictures of found pets on craigslist - be sure to search the website regularly.  

9) Make a Facebook post at https://www.facebook.com/MassLostPets and https://www.facebook.com/Boston.MA.Lost.Pets

More Helpful Tips and Links are below

smpaw_purpleWhat to Do If You Find a Pet

smpaw_blue Lost Pet Tips

smpaw_green Cat Color and Breed Guide
smpaw_green Preventing the Loss of Your Pet
smpaw_red Other Online Resources