Should You Report a Stray Dog?

Pop quiz. In which of these scenarios should you report a stray dog?

A. You are on your way to work and you see a stray dog bolt across a busy intersection.

B. You have seen a dog that looks well-groomed and well-fed roaming your neighborhood.

C. You see a dog off-leash in an urban park, but do not see an owner.

D. You see a dog that is skinny, its fur is matted and it is anxiously darting between parked cars in a supermarket parking lot.

E. All of the above.

Answer: E. All of the above.

Whether that dog has just escaped from its yard, snuck out the front door yesterday, or was abandoned weeks ago, all of these dogs are in danger. It does not matter if it has been loose for hours, days or weeks, stray dogs suffer. Without a human caretaker, they are vulnerable to hunger, being hit by cars, taunted or hurt by cruel people, and being attacked by wild animals. Anxious dogs can also pose a danger to other pets and children as they are more likely to bite.

To report a stray dog, call your local Animal Control Services. Take note of where you last saw it, which direction it was going and of course a description. Animal Services, in my experience, will respond very quickly. The dog will then go to the city animal shelter where it will be scanned for a microchip and/or checked for collar tags. The owner will be contacted as long as the microchip and/or tag are up-to-date. If not, the dog will be held for a legally-determined amount of time (varies state to state) to allow the owner to come forward and claim the dog. Most states then allow the animal shelter to require that the dog has a license and, if not, have the owner purchase the license and pay the impoundment fees before the dog is reclaimed.

If the holding period expires before the dog is claimed, the dog will be put on the adoption floor.





Christine J.
Christine J1 years ago

In the case of a poor creature that isn't suitable for rehoming, it may end up being put down. It would be awful to think that you might ultimately be responsible for the death of an innocent dog, but better a quick and merciful death than starving, freezing, having untreated injuries/diseases or God forbid, ending up in the hands of a sadist.

Valentina R.
Valentina R2 years ago

I'd rather keep the dog myself and look for the owner (old or new).

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Lucas Kolasa
Lucas Kolasa3 years ago


Lea Silhol
Lea Silhol3 years ago

A, B, C... yes. But here in France, a "D" would certainly end in the euthanasia line. I'll try to help a "real" stray by myself, if possible, or enlist immediately for adoption of the poor dude if no owners can be found. Or I'll be responsible for a dire fate.

Sandi C.
Sandi C4 years ago

I'd make sure it was a no kill shelter first.

Jordan G.
Jordan G4 years ago

And where the dog would be killed by the Animal Control instead (because they don't support a no-kill shelter)?

Assumptions not in evidence are not helpful in decision-making.

They need help, but being killed due to disregard is not the answer.

PrimaSICK B.
PrimaAWAY B4 years ago


Lorna C.
Lorna C4 years ago

in an ideal world!!! i am sure that most people on this site would do that its the aresholes out there that need to know this

Jilly D.
Gilly D4 years ago

We have a lot of private organizations around here that will take in strays, work to find the owners or to find them a good home. None of these animals will get put to sleep. These are mostly caring individuals who started out saving one and then made it their lives work. I commend each and every one of them.