What to Do if You Find or Lose a Pet

Prevention is key to keeping pets safe

Los Angeles, CA – Every Independence Day, shelters fill with lost and injured pets. Whether frightened by fireworks or the chaos of a party, pets get loose, lost, and panicked. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) offers tips for pet owners to prevent a tragedy this Fourth of July.


    • Make sure your pet is microchipped and wears an ID tag and collar with correct information.
    • License your pets and keep their vaccines up to date.
    • Create a file of your pets’ information on hand that includes license and microchip numbers, health info including vaccine dates, and current photographs.
    • Park your pet inside during fireworks displays and create a chill zone with soothing music, comfy bed, and tasty chews.


    • Immediately start searching areas in and around your house, yard, and neighborhood for several blocks in all directions.
    • Visit surrounding animal shelters to look for your pet and speak with staff. Most shelters have a “Lost Pets” registry or bulletin board.
    • Create lost pet flyers to post in and around the neighborhood and at local businesses, schools, the library, etc.
    • Enlist the help of your neighbors to help search and spread the word about your lost pets. Don’t forget the postal carrier!
    • Run a “Lost Pet” advertisement in the local newspaper, neighborhood microsites, and social media groups.
    • Check websites and apps that amplify lost pets, such as Finding Rover.
    • Check local newspaper and neighborhood microsites daily for “Found Pets.”
    • spcaLA houses stray animals found in the cities of Culver City, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Lawndale, Lynwood, Manhattan Beach, and West Hollywood.
    • More info and a list of lost pets can be found here: spcaLA.com/lost-pets


    • Immediately contact local shelters and report that you have found an animal. As soon as you are able, take the animal to the shelter or your veterinarian’s office so they can scan for a microchip.
    • Post “Found Pet” flyers in and around the neighborhood you found the pet.
    • Run a “Found Pet” ad in the local newspaper, and neighborhood microsites and social media groups.
    • Check websites and apps that amplify lost pets, such as Finding Rover.


    • Present proof of ownership such as license number, rabies certificate, photographs, and adoption papers.
    • You may be required to renew expired licenses or rabies certificates.
    • You may have to pay impound and boarding fees.
    A lost pet can wander the streets for weeks or months, and people who find lost pets may keep them for several weeks before taking them to a shelter. Don’t give up hope!