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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I find a stray dog?

If possible, get it to a safe place.  If you are not able to approach the animal, or do not feel comfortable approaching it, call 311 or your local animal control.  Give them information on what the animal looks like, what direction it is heading, and any other information that can help them find and capture the animal.


If you do have the animal in your possession, check for an ID.  If the dog has an ID, contact the person on the tag.  If there is not an ID, check for a microchip.  This can be done at a veterinarian’s office, local police department, or animal shelter.  


If the animal has a chip, the vet, police, etc will reach out the person to let them know where their animal is.  

If the animal does not have a chip, decide if you will keep the animal while you search for its owner, or take it to your local animal control.


In Chicago, Chicago Animal Care and Control at 2741 S Western and Animal Welfare League, Wabash at 6224 S Wabash are the only facilities in the city that take stray dogs. 

Whether the animal is in your possession or not, post photos or descriptions of the animal on neighborhood groups, Facebook groups, etc, contact Lost Dogs of Illinois, and put up fliers and advertisements for the animal.  It is often advised to post photos without the dog’s collar or harness so the owner can tell you what they look like.  


If you are contacted by the owner, make sure the dog is theirs.  Ask for identifying pieces of information – does the dog have a funny marking they should be able to identify?  Have the owner bring vet records and photos of the dog.  If you are uncomfortable with this process, take the animal to the local open-intake facility.

What do I do if I lost my dog?


  • Find your local shelters and their stray pet tour information.  Most will have specific times of the day when you can visit to look for your animal.

  • Look outside your neighborhood – animals can move farther and faster than we think so checking within 60 miles is a good idea.

  • Canvas the area. Drive around and ask your neighbors if they have seen your pet.

  • Leave food and water out and possibly an article of your clothing or their bed.

  • Flier – handing out fliers and posting them in stores and restaurants is very important and helpful.

  • Talk about it on social media.  You never know who may have seen your dog and it is a good way to spread the word!

  • Make sure you can be found!  Microchip your animal and have ID tags on their collar.  This way, if they do go missing and are found, you can easily be contacted.  

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