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How Do I: Find A Lost Pet

January 02, 1994

The Los Angeles Department of Animal Regulation receives tens of thousands of runaway and abandoned animals at its six shelters each year. The centers handle mostly dogs and cats but an occasional coyote and mountain lion also have made their way to a city shelter. This guide was compiled by Mary Helen Berg with information from the city Department of Animal Regulation and Humane Society officials.

Q: Who can I call for help if my pet is missing?

A: The department recommends that you visit Los Angeles city shelters to search for your pet. Call (213) 893-8400 to find out which city center is nearest you. Shelters are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Q: Is there anything else I can do to help find my pet?

A: Stake notices in your neighborhood that describe your pet and give your phone number. Talk to children, neighbors, the mail carrier, anyone who may recognize your animal. Fill out a "lost form" at the shelter so officials can call if an animal arrives that fits your pet's description. Place a newspaper ad. Some local publications run free ads for pets that are lost or found. Watch the city's cable television channel for information on the animals that are impounded each day. Check with the Humane Society and county shelters.

Q: Will the city call me if my pet arrives at a shelter?

A: If your animal has an identification tag, the city will try to contact you. Animal control officers will visit your address if the tag has no phone number.

Q: What measures can I take so I don't lose my pet?

A: An identification tag is the most important way to protect your animal. Most animals that arrive at shelters have no license, vaccination tags or other identification.

Q: How long will the city hold my pet?

A: City shelters will hold a puppy or kitten younger than 4 months for three days while waiting for the owner to claim it. Older animals are held for seven days. After that, the animals are put up for adoption. If an animal is not adopted after several days, it will be destroyed.

Q: How many animals come to city shelters each year?

A: Last year, about 92,000 animals were impounded at city shelters. Of these, more than 63,000, or nearly 69%, were destroyed. Thousands more animals were brought to shelters run by the Humane Society and Los Angeles County.

Q: Does the city sell any of its shelter animals for medical research?

A: No. City ordinance prohibits any sale of animals to labs for medical, commercial or consumer research.

Q: Does the city offer free or low-cost neutering services?

A: Last summer, budget constraints forced the city to close clinics that had offered low-cost animal population control services. However, the city does offer vouchers of up to $28 to help owners cover the cost of neutering by a private veterinarian.

Q: What's the Department of Animal Regulation's budget?

A: The department, which includes 141 shelter employees and 45 animal control officers, has a budget of nearly $6.5 million.

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