Thank you for trying to help a lost pet find its way home. There are a few things to consider before you bring a stray to your local shelter. Learn more below:

Found a Dog

If you find a dog, here’s a few steps you can take immediately:

Once you have gone through all these steps and you aren’t able to keep the dog, you can bring the dog to Maricopa County Animal Control Center (MCACC) or Arizona Humane Society (AHS), and they will put them on a stray hold for their owner to have a chance to reclaim.

Please note that AAWL is legally unable to take in strays, and they must be brought MCACC. AHS will only take in the stray if it is injured, otherwise strays need to be brought to MCACC.

If you have found an injured dog or suspect that they are being abused or neglected, you can contact AHS EAMT Dispatch Center at 602-997-7585 ext. 2073. After hours, the injured animal can be brought to an Emergency Vet clinic, who will care for the animal until AHS can pick them up the next day.

Found a Cat

If you aren’t sure if it’s a stray or outdoor cat, Alley Cat is a great resource to refer to.

If you find a cat, here’s a few steps you can take immediately:

  • Assess the cat’s behavior – Is it a stray or an outdoor cat? A good way to tell if it’s an outdoor cat is if the cat’s left ear is tipped, which means a tiny part of ear is snipped to indicate that the cat has been spayed or neutered. This means that this outdoor cat is part of a TNR program, you can learn more about Arizona’s TNR program below.
  • If you believe the cat is a stray, you can check for a collar or tags.
  • Post the cat on Maricopa County Animal Care and Control’s interactive map.
  • Have the cat scanned for a microchip.
  • Try to find the owner by posting flyers, or by checking for flyers or on local websites or Facebook groups.

If you find an outdoor cat, here’s some information and resources around Arizona’s Trap-Neuter-Return program (TNR).

What is Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a program where outdoor cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, ear-tipped and returned to the location where they were found in hopes of reducing outdoor cat populations.

Visit to learn more about TNR and find great resources on how to get involved in this program. If you have questions or need assistance with a cat colony in your community, you can call Animal Defense League of Arizona’s Spay Neuter Hotline at 602-265-7729.

My Pet is Lost

Unfortunately, Arizona Animal Welfare League is unable to take in strays. You can visit Arizona Humane Society and Maricopa County Animal Control’s websites for resources on how to search for your lost pet and use the Maricopa County Animal Control’s interactive map to see if your pet is listed.