The MSPCA Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center receives several stray animals each day. 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 1pm-5pm and Saturday – Sunday 11am-4pm.
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.
After contacting us Take the Following Important Steps
1) 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.
2) Call and visit the Animal Rescue League of Boston at 617-426-9170 to report your animal missing.
3) 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.
4) Post fliers in the area you last saw your pet. Check out our lost pet flyer templatefor 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.
5) Tell your neighbors and mail carrier – make sure you give them a copy of lost pet flyers you made.
6) Search for your pet. Most pets go missing close to home, especially cats not used to being outside. Look carefully under your porches, bushes, in basements and in garages. It’s normal for cats to be so frightened that they don’t respond to your call. If you don’t find your lost pet right away, don’t give up. Some pets have been found weeks or months later. Keep going back to the same places, calling his/her name. 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, even towns over, so you’ll need to expand your search. The best time to look for a lost cat is 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 www.catsinthebag.org
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 $75 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.
1) Fill out a Found Report with the MSPCA Boston.
This information will help us match up the animal with any lost reports we may have received from owners looking for their missing pets.
2) Contact all surrounding city and town animal control offices to fill out a found pet report. * This is essential if you have found a lost dog.
Boston Animal Control can be reached at 617-635-5348. In Massachusetts, animal control is handled individually by each of the 351 municipalities and towns. Owners looking for their pets may only contact the city/town where their pet was initially lost. It is important as the finder of the pet to let all surrounding animal control facilities as well as surrounding private animal shelters like the MSPCA know you have found an animal in case the owner has been in contact with that facility. Click here for other Boston Area Humane Agency and Animal Control information. If the animal was found in the Boston area, we strongly recommend calling the Animal Rescue League of Boston at 617-426-9170.
3) Post flyers in your neighborhood.
Click here for a template found pet flyer, including a color photo is ideal. The bigger the poster/flyer size the better and make sure to post flyers at eye level.
4) Tell your neighbors and mail carrier
Make sure you give them a copy of the found pet flyers you made.
5) Bring the animal to a Veterinary Clinic or Animal Shelter and ask them to scan the pet for a microchip
This service is offered free of charge at most animal control, shelter, and veterinary clinics.
6) Adoption – Keeping the animal as your own
Once you have reported the found animal to animal control and sheltering facilities in your area, posted flyers, spoke with neighbors and scanned the animal for a microchip if no owner comes forward after a few weeks, and you are interested in adopting the animal you have found, please feel free to contact us if you need financial support to have the animal spayed or neutered and receive its vaccines – visit our spay neuter webpage to learn more about our low cost spay neuter programs.
If you have found a lost dog, please contact your local animal control office. The Animal Control Officer can let you know where they are located or may be able to come and pick up the dog. If you bring the dog to the MSPCA, we are required to transfer the dog to the animal control facility of the city or town where the dog was found. Bringing the dog to your animal control officer will help them gather all the information they need from you directly and avoid a second trip in the car for the dog.
If you have found a lost cat or other type of pet, you can bring the animal to the MSPCA during our surrender hours which are Tuesday – Friday 1pm-4pm. We will continue to look for the owner while we have the animal in our care.
Our Reality: The MSPCA is an open admission Adoption Center, which means we never turn an animal or an owner away. We receive more than 5,000 animals at the Boston Adoption Center each year. We have many wonderful success stories of finding homes for pets who are brought to us as strays. At the same time, while we try our best to find homes for every animal that is brought to us, we are often faced with difficult euthanasia decisions when an animal is not medically or behaviorally sound for adoption. Medical and behavioral evaluations are performed on animals prior to placing them up for adoption. The adoption center environment can be a very stressful place for a pet. While we do our best to make each animal feel as comfortable as possible, it is not a home. It is for this reason that we look to you to try everything you can to work on the situation you are facing or find a new home for the animal you found before surrendering the animal to us.
There are many limited admission shelters and rescue groups throughout the state of Massachuetts. Most limited admission shelters and rescue groups do not euthanize animals. We recommend you contact limited admission rescue and shelter groups before bringing your stray pet to the MSPCA. Limited admission shelters work off of a waiting lists if they are full and will only take in animals they are confident they will be able to place in an adoptive home. Click here for a list of limited admission shelters in Massachusetts.