If You'd Like to Keep the Pet You Found

If you've fallen in love with the pet you found, here's what you need to know in order to adopt them or find them a new home without accidentally stealing someone's pet or otherwise breaking the law. You'll also find information in case you want to keep the pet at your home while we search for the owner.

Finders Have First Chance to Adopt

When you bring a found pet to the shelter, let our staff know if you are interested in adopting them in the event that we cannot reunite them with an owner. You will be asked to complete an adoption application and then our staff will let you know if they become available for adoption, and if your application has been approved. Because we are the official pet lost and found, this route is much shorter and simpler than keeping the pet at home and attempting to find the owner yourself.

Keeping the Pet at Your Home During the Search For the Owner

If you have determined that you have good reason to keep the pet at home and search for the owner yourself instead of leaving the pet at the shelter with us, you may do so only as long as you are willing to follow certain requirements, listed below:

  • Hold the Found Pet for at least 90 Days

    A found pet can only become yours after both waiting 90 days (after reporting to us) and following the requirements for finders of lost pets according to the Washington County Animal Services Code. You must not re-home the pet to anyone else during this time. If you end up being unable to complete the holding period for some reason, give us a call at 503-846-7039.

  • Advertise the Found Pet in the Newspaper

    To comply with the law, finders who do not entrust a found pet to the shelter must place classified ads in a general circulation newspaper. The ad must run for at least two weeks. The Oregonian will run a found pet ad for 4 days for free, both online and in print. Call them at 503-221-8000 for more information or to place a found pet ad. Pamplin Media has a variety of localized papers in Washington County (such as the Hillsboro Argus, Beaverton Valley Times, etc.) and a found pet classified ad with them will run in all of the west side papers and online.

  • Do Your Due DiligenceĀ to Attempt to Find the Owner

    In addition to the steps above, you can also make posters, talk to neighbors, contact other area shelters and veterinary clinics, and post on social media to try to find their owner.

  • Notify UsĀ 

    Let us know if you reunite the pet with an owner during the 90 days so that we can close our lost pet file. At the end of the 90 days, please contact us at 503-846-7039 or via email to confirm that you are now the legal owner of the animal. If it is a dog, you will need to comply with county dog licensing requirements.