I found a pet

Found a lost pet flowchart

I found a pet

NOTE: If you can safely contain the animal, follow Steps 1-4. If you cannot safely contain the animal, proceed to Steps 3-4. Report where the animal was last seen and what direction it was heading.

Step 1: After securing the animal, check for an ID tag or microchip

Bringing a found animal into your home can pose risks to you and your household. As a precaution, keep all pets separate and wash hands after handling the found animal.

If there is no tag, the animal may still have a microchip. Take the animal to a local veterinarian or animal shelter to be scanned for a microchip. Contact the owner if info is found.

Step 2: If there's no ID or microchip, begin searching lost pet posts on the following sites:

Step 3: Post a notice online or make fliers

If possible, take a photo of the pet and post fliers in the area where the pet was found. Also distribute the fliers to local veterinary clinics. Make lost-pet posts online at:

Step 4: Call your local lost-pet facility for next steps

Most lost pets are found near their home, so it's very likely the pet you found lives nearby. If you must bring the pet in immediately, contact your local lost pet facility. Contact the following if the pet was found in the area:

City of Des Moines

ARL Animal Services
1441 Harriet St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m - 6:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday 9:30 a.m - 5:30 p.m.
24-Hour Dispatch: (515) 283-4811
Office: (515) 284-6905
Text: (515) 686-8274

Altoona, Ankeny, Pleasant Hill or unincorporated Polk County

ARL Main - Pet Help Center
5452 N.E. 22nd St., Des Moines
(north side of building)
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Phone: (515) 262-9503

Everywhere else

Call the local non-emergency police line or animal control agency.