If You Have Found A Pet

Except under specific circumstances, Washington County is requesting that the public avoid visiting any county building during the organization’s emergency response to the new coronavirus.


The public is urged to call or email ahead of attempting to travel to any county building with the intent of meeting with county staff. 


We encourage finders of lost pets to attempt to locate the pet’s owner when possible. We will continue to take in found dogs and injured stray pets as needed. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to take in any additional cats due to capacity.


Additional details on service impacts for Washington County Animal Services and the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter can be found here.




Please be a good Samaritan and help out a lost animal. Give that animal the same kindness that you'd hope someone would give your pet if it were lost.

If you call the Animal Shelter (503-846-7041) about a stray dog, we will pick the animal up. Most often, we can pick the animal up within two hours of receiving your call. (Emergencies such as an animal in immediate danger or an animal that is attacking someone take priority over picking up dogs that are loose.) This service operates Monday-Saturday during our business hours.

 If you find a licensed dog, you can look up the dog's license here. Just put in the license number on the collar, and the owner's first name and telephone number will appear. You may contact the dog's owner directly.

 We do not pick up stray cats. If you would like to turn in a stray cat to the shelter, you need to bring it to us. Please be advised that there is a $10 fee for bringing in a cat.

● If you are keeping the animal at your home while you look for an owner, please call us at 503-846-7039 to file a Found Pet Report. We will do our best to match Lost Pet Reports with your Found Pet Report.

● You should also consider posting a "found pet" listing Petharbor.com. These listings can be seen by people who are looking for their lost pets on our shelter web site. You can fill out the form if you have:

 Found a pet



Pets are personal property. You have to follow much the same rules for trying to find the owner of a pet that you would have to follow if, for example, you found someone's car on the side of the road.

People often assume that a lost pet has an owner who does not care about the animal. In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Most owners are frantically looking for their lost pets. People who find that pet have a legal and moral obligation to find the owner.

Bringing the animal to a public shelter (much like bringing a lost item to a police department) ends any responsibility you have to find an
owner. In most cases, it is the best chance for the pet to find its owner, since most people look for their pet at the County shelter before they look anywhere else. (We reunite about 1200 pets with their owners every year at our shelter.)

If you decide not to bring the dog/cat to the shelter, you are required to take several steps. These steps include:

1. Notify the shelter that you have the dog/cat so that we can connect possible owners of the lost pet to you. You must leave a description of the dog/cat with us. You must also leave contact information with us so we can make sure that people who think the pet you have found may be theirs can talk with you. You can report the dog/cat as "found" by calling us at 503-846-7039 or by coming down and filling out a short "Found Pet" form.

2. By law, you must advertise that you have found the dog/cat in a general circulation newspaper once a week for two consecutive weeks. (For specific information about the legal responsibilities of finding property, refer to
the Oregon Revised Statutes section 98.005.) 

3. After you have listed the dog/cat with us and advertised in a general circulation newspaper twice, you are still not the lawful owner of the animal until 90 days have passed. If the owner comes during that time, you are required to surrender the animal back to their owner.

4. You will then need to contact us a second time to let us know that it has been  over 90 days, you have done all of the above and you are now taking ownership of the animal.