Each year, Saint Paul Animal Control houses over 1,000 dogs and cats. Most dogs and some cats are reunited with their owners. 

Losing a family pet can be a very frightening experience, but there are steps you can take 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 offer information about the animal's breed, size, description, and last place the animal was seen.
  • Look for the animal. Most animals respond to their owner's call, even if the voice is far away.
  • If there is a neighborhood e-mail list or social media platform, notify neighbors.
  • Consider online tools such as PawBoost and other websites or social media that can help with reunification.
  • Make a flyer (include a picture) and distribute it to neighbors, veterinary clinics, businesses, and local animal shelters or impoundment facilities (keep in mind restrictions about hanging signs in parkland and other public spaces).
  • Call or visit Animal Control regularly to check for your lost pet (many animals have similar features, so it's best to come in and check).
  • Please 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 - just call animal control and someone will come out to help the animal get to safety.
  • If the animal is wearing a name tag, contact the number on the tag.
  • Found dogs can be brought to Saint Paul Animal Control at 1285 Jessamine Ave W, M-F 12:30-4:30. If you have questions or need help call us at 651-266-1100.
  • Found sick or injured cats, or kittens without a mama can be brought to Saint Paul Animal Control at 1285 Jessamine Ave W, M-F 12:30-4:30. If you have questions or need help call us at 651-266-1100. At this time we are not able to accept healthy stray cats at the City's animal shelter.
  • 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 websites such as PawBoost, or the Animal Humane Society.

Lost Animals at the Saint Paul Animal Control Center:

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

  • Scanning the animal thoroughly and multiple times for a microchip.
  • Contacting phone numbers on identification tags.
  • Posting the animal on the PawBoost's website.

Lost animals are held for a minimum of five 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 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 impoundment fee.

Penalty Fees - If your dog is impounded and not currently licensed, there is a $52 penalty fee. If your dog is impounded for running at large and is not spayed or neutered, the penalty fees range from $52 to $207 and increase each time the animal is impounded.

Rabies - 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, your pet will be vaccinated at the shelter for $30.  

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. Leashes, collars, and carrying boxes are available for purchase. No animal will be released without some type of restraint. 

Last Edited: December 5, 2023