What to Do If You Have Found a Pet

What To Do It You Have Found A Pet

Contact the Napa County Animal Shelter at 707.253.4382 to see if a missing pet report has been made. If no report has been made, file one right away. If the pet was found in or near the Town of Yountville, City of St. Helena, or City of Calistoga you will also want to contact:

  • In the Town of Yountville, call the Napa County Sheriff’s Department Yountville substation at 707.944.9228
  • In the City of St. Helena, call the St. Helena Police Department at 707.967.2850
  • In the City of Calistoga, call the Calistoga Police Department at 707.942.2810

Take the pet to the Napa Humane Clinic, any veterinary clinic, or the Napa County Animal Shelter to have him/her scanned for a microchip. This is a routine procedure that all shelters and vet clinics will provide for free. If the animal does have a chip, the scanner will be able to read the owner’s contact information stored within it.

Visit the Missing Pets of the Napa Valley facebook page to see if anyone has reported that they have lost the pet that you have found.

If these efforts fail to identify the owner, the next step is to make Found Pet flyers. Here are some basic tips:

  • Create colorful flyers that will stand out. Or, you can use a downloadable “Found Pet” flyer with fillable fields here.
  • Include a picture of the stray, the animal’s general description, and your telephone number.  Make sure the text is large enough so that the flyer can be read from a distance.
  • DO NOT include your address or your full name, to minimize the risk of fraud and identity theft.
  • It’s also important to withhold some of the animal’s specific identifying characteristics from the photo/description on the flyer.  This will help you determine on the phone if a caller is really the owner of this particular animal.

Post the flyers in your neighborhood on telephone poles and other street structures, at stores (grocery stores, drug stores, video stores, gas stations, and the like), veterinary clinics, groomers, local parks, etc. When posting at a veterinary clinic or groomer’s, take a moment to tell the staff about the stray you found. It’s possible that the animal’s owner has visited or will visit them as well to ask about their lost pet.

Check craigslist and Napa Nextdoor to see if anyone has posted that they are missing a pet. You may also want to post a found pet report – following the same guidelines as for flyers – on various community websites and/or your local newspaper(s).

Be cautious in dealing with all callers (or emailers) claiming to be the animal’s owner. Some unscrupulous people may try to claim other people’s pets, especially purebred ones. Be sure that they can accurately describe the missing animal before agreeing to meet.

It’s best to meet self-identified owners with the animal in a public place, such as a store parking lot during daylight hours. Try to avoid giving callers your home address. If you must invite callers to your home, make sure another adult can be there with you.

If you’ve found a stray pet but cannot keep him/her for any period of time:


If you are in the City of American Canyon, the City of Napa, or the unincorporated areas of Napa County, call Napa County Animal Services at 707.253.4517 for them to come pick up the dog.  Please note that there may be a delay (up to several hours) between your call and the time that Animal Services is able to respond. You could also transport the dog yourself to the Napa County Animal Shelter – provided the dog is friendly and you feel this is safe for you to do.

The Town of Yountville, City of St. Helena and the City of Calistoga do not contract with Napa County Animal Services, which means that they are unable to pick up stray animals in these areas.

  • In the Town of Yountville, call the Napa County Sheriff’s Department Yountville substation at 707.944.9228.
  • In the City of St. Helena call the St. Helena Police Department at 707.967.2850.
  • In the City of Calistoga call the Calistoga Police Department at 707.942.2810.

In these areas, you can still transport the dog to the Napa County Animal Shelter, or follow the instructions provided by the law enforcement agencies representing the jurisdiction.


There is no agency or organization in Napa County responsible for picking up stray cats. You have the option of transporting the stray cat to the Napa County Animal Shelter (if you can safely handle and transport the cat). Or, call Napa Humane at 707.252.7442 to discuss alternatives.

If the stray looks abused…should you still search for the owner?

Don’t automatically assume that a stray in bad shape has been mistreated or neglected by its owner – a number of other innocent causes may be to blame. For example, a long-haired animal can easily become matted, filthy, and full of foxtails within days of getting lost. A cat can find himself accidentally locked in someone’s garage for a week, causing him to become very thin and dehydrated. A pet might be wounded by a car or wild animal. Some pets have terminal illnesses, or are simply elderly and frail. All of these pets likely have an owner that is heartsick about their pet being missing. Please make every effort to locate the owner of a found pet.

However… if you have good reason to believe that a pet you found truly is in danger from its owner, contact Napa County Animals Services at 707.253.4517 to make a report, and relinquish the pet to the Napa County Animal Shelter.


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