When you’ve found a stray animal you will need to decide whether you’re willing and able to hold onto it for a few days while looking for the animal’s owner or if you need to bring the animal to a shelter. Consider whether you’re willing to expose your household to an animal that may not be accustomed to others in your home (other pets, children, etc) and may not be current on its vaccinations, flea/tick medication, etc.
Taking the Stray Animal to a Shelter
If you found the animal in Ada County – including in Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Garden City or Kuna city limits – you can bring it to the Idaho Humane Society. The IHS has animal control contracts with these areas and can accept any strays that came from those jurisdictions. If you found the stray in another city, you can bring it to the IHS shelter and pay a relinquishment fee ($30 for a dog and $20 for a cat) or contact the animal control office or shelter for your area:
- West Valley Humane Society, Caldwell (Formerly Canyon County Animal Shelter) (208) 455-5920
- City of Star (208) 286-0440 (only houses stray dogs)
- Mountain Home Shelter (208) 587-2111
When a stray dog is brought to the Idaho Humane Society they are held for 6 days while the shelter attempts to locate an owner. After the 6 day holding period, ownership of the dog is transferred to the IHS and the dog is evaluated for adoption. For cats there is no holding period required by law, but the shelter holds any cat that has a microchip or collar for 3 days to search for an owner before evaluating the cat for adoption.
Keeping the Stray Animal With You While You Look for an Owner
- File a found report with the Idaho Humane Society. Call (208) 342-3508. A customer service staff member will help you file your report over the phone with the pet’s description and the location where you found the animal.
- Get the animal scanned for a microchip. Many pets have a tiny, permanent form of identification called a microchip embedded near their shoulder blades under the skin. The only way to tell if an animal has a microchip is to visit the Idaho Humane Society or your local veterinarian’s office to have the pet scanned with a microchip scanner.
If a pet is scanned for a microchip at the Idaho Humane Society and a microchip is found, we are obligated to reunite that pet with its owner. The owner listed on the microchip will be contacted and the pet will not be able to leave the IHS in your care. The only exception to this rule is if contact is made with the owner while you are still at the shelter, arrangements to get the pet back to its owner are made and the owner gives their permission for you to leave the shelter with their pet.
- Get the word out. Post that you’ve found a lost pet on Craigslist online Lost and Found board (boise.craigslist.org/laf) and in the Idaho Statesman Lost and Found classifieds (www.idahostatesman.com).
- Keep us updated. Please remember to call the Idaho Humane Society shelter and remove your found report once you’ve located the stray animal’s owner!