Lost and Found Pets

Each year, Saint Paul Animal Control (SPAC) houses over 1,000 dogs and cats.  Approximately 30% of these dogs and cats are reunited with their owners. Losing a family pet can be a very frightening experience, but there are steps that can be taken to make sure pets stay safe, and are reunited to owners if lost.

Protecting Family Pets

  • Check fences regularly for wear and tear or for places where a dog has been digging.
  • Keep gates padlocked.
  • Talk to children and visitors about closing gates securely.
  • Keep cats inside, or if they insist going out, consider cat fencing or building a "catio".
  • Make sure animals always wear identification, such as rabies tags, dog license, name tags, microchips, or tattoos.
  • Always walk dogs on-leash.

Steps to take when a pet is lost:

  • Don't panic!
  • File a Lost Report immediately by calling (651) 266-1100. Be prepared to answer questions about the animal's breed, size, description and the last place the animal was seen.
  • Look for the animal. Most animals will response to their owner's call, even if the voice is far away.
  • If there is a neighborhood e-mail list, write a message to notify neighbors.
  • Consider other on-line tools, such as Lost Dogs Minnesota, the Animal Humane Society, and other websites or social media that can help with reunification.
  • Make a flyer (include a picture) and distribute it to neighbor's, veterinary clinics, businesses, and local animal shelters or impoundment facilities (keep in mind restrictions about hanging signs in parkland and other public space).
  • Visit SPAC regularly to check for your lost pet (many animals have similar features, so it's best to come in and check).
  • Notify us when the animal is found.

Steps to take if you've found an animal:

  • Never approach an animal that is behaving strangely, aggressively, or is sick. 
  • If the animal is wearing a name tag, contact the number on the tag.
  • If the animal is a dog, Animal Control Officers can come to you to pick the dog up (Saint Paul only).
  • If the animal is a cat that was found in Saint Paul, you can bring the cat to SPAC at 1285 Jessamine Ave., W, Monday-Friday, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm.
  • File a found report with Animal Control if you choose not to give the animal to Animal Control. Keep in mind that the animal is someone's personal property, and you are required to try to find the owner and reunite them. 
  • Notify your neighborhood through flyers, e-mail postings, or on message boards that you've found the animal. Consider posting a "Found" report on website such as Lost Dogs Minnesota, or the Animal Humane Society.

Lost Animals at the Saint Paul Animal Control Center:

When a lost animal arrives at SPAC, an attempt to find the owner is made by:

  • Scanning the animal multiple times for a microchip.
  • Contacting phone numbers on identification tags.
  • Posting the animal on the the Animal Humane Society's website.

Lost animals are held at SPAC for a minimum of five (5) business days. A business day is any day that SPAC is open to the public for at least four hours. After the holding period is over, animals may be released to animal rescue organizations.

Reclaiming an Animal from SPAC:

If your pet is impounded by SPAC the owner may reclaim the animal by providing proof of ownership and paying impoundment fees. 

Proof of ownership includes:

  • Veterinary records
  • A bill of sale or animal adoption paperwork
  • License paperwork
  • A microchip record
  • Pictures of the animal

The following fees will be assessed:

Boarding Fees - If your animal is impounded by Animal Control, there is a $19.00 charge per day or fraction thereof, plus tax for board and care. Boarding fees apply to impounded and seized animals only. Animal Control does not provide boarding of animals to the general public.

Impounding Fees - If your animal is impounded by Animal Control, there is a $35.00 impoundment fee.

Penalty Fees - If your dog is impounded and not currently licensed, there is a $51.00 penalty fee. If your dog is impounded for running at large and is not spayed or neutered, the penalty fees range from $102.00 to $2040.00 and increase each time the animal is impounded.

Rabies Deposit - If your animal is impounded, and you are not able to show proof of a current rabies vaccination at the time you pick it up, you will need to leave a $26.00 rabies deposit. If you show proof of a current rabies vaccination within 72 hours, the deposit fee is returned. Otherwise, the deposit is forfeited.

All fees and penalties must be paid in full before the animal can be released. Remember to bring a leash to reclaim a dog and a carrying case or box to reclaim a cat or small animal.

If you have questions, contact our Animal Control office at 651-266-1100, or email the DSI Message Center