Stray & Lost Pets
REPORT A LOST OR FOUND PET:
If you have lost or found a pet within Isabella County, please submit a report so we can assist you in reuniting the pet safely. If you have lost or found a pet outside of this area, please contact your nearest shelter. If you live near a border, file reports in all nearby counties. We also recommend uploading a photo on Petco Love Lost's national database of lost and found pet listings.
If you have found a stray dog in Isabella County, you may bring the dog to our facility where they will have access to appropriate food, shelter, and medical treatment. If the dog has ID tags, please attempt to reunite the pet with their owner first.
Please call ahead to make sure we are open and available for an intake. If it is outside of regular business hours you may choose to keep the animal safe until we reopen or call Central Dispatch at (989) 773-1000 for assistance.
If you wish to house the dog you have found while searching for the owners, it’s important to submit a found report. We can also assist with scanning the dog for a microchip and checking lost reports.
What if I'm not comfortable approaching the animal?
We never suggest putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. If you have found a stray dog and are uncomfortable approaching it for any reason, please contact Isabella County Central Dispatch at (989) 773-1000 to report the current location of the dog.
If you have found a stray cat in Isabella County, please start by checking for the following:
#1 Does the cat have an ear tip?
An ear tip is where the top left portion of the ear has been removed indicating the cat is spayed or neutered. These cats are free-roaming in the community and may or may not be socialized. They often have multiple caregivers and do not need human intervention. If the cat is feral (unsocialized and won't approach humans) but not yet ear tipped, we recommend utilizing the Trap-Neuter-Return method. Feral cats cannot be socialized and must live in a safe outdoor environment –we do not take them into the shelter.
#2 Does the cat have a collar?
STOP! Don’t take the cat into your home if it’s safe and healthy. It is much better to allow a cat to find its way home than to bring it into your home or to a shelter. Only 2-4% of cats find their families when taken to a shelter. If they have a collar with an ID tag, please call the owner. Friendly cats (with or without a collar) are typically owned cats who are allowed to go outside. If the cat is in a potentially unsafe situation, move the cat a safe distance away but do not remove them altogether from their neighborhood. Removal from their familiar surroundings will result in them being unable to find their way back home, doing more harm than good.
#3 Does the cat appear to be injured or sick?
Sick or injured cats may react aggressively out of fear, so it is best to use caution when approaching them. If you have found an injured or sick cat in Isabella County, call us for further assistance. We will assess the situation and determine if an immediate intake is required. If it is outside of our regular business hours you can call a local veterinary office for advice and keep the cat comfortable until we reopen.
#4 Are there newborn kittens?
Don't kit-nap the kittens! Wait and watch patiently for a mother cat to return or call us for advice before intervening! Their best chance for survival is being left with their mother. Tip: You can use baking flour to make a circle around the kittens and footprints will let you know if mom has been returning. You can also refer to the Kitten Lady’s CASA chart to determine when to intervene. If intervention is required, we can provide you with bottle feeding instructions or assistance in finding a foster home. Although, finding a foster to provide round-the-clock feedings is no easy task, and no match to what their mother could have provided.
Other steps you can take when you find a friendly cat:
> Ask each neighbor if they recognize or feed the cat.
> Have the cat scanned for a microchip at an animal shelter or veterinarian’s office.
> Post photos on your personal social media and Facebook pages for lost pets.
> Put up Found Cat flyers.
What if I’m not looking to keep the cat I’ve found?
Our facility, like many others across the country, has moved to a managed admission system for cats. It allows for cats who need emergency care to obtain immediate shelter while also allowing us to coordinate the flow of cats into our facility to ensure we are providing the best care possible with our current resources. It also eliminates the practice of euthanizing healthy cats due to overcrowding. For those who have found healthy cats and do not wish to keep them long term, they are placed on a waiting list to bring the cat(s) to our facility and we will provide advice on alternatives to try in the meantime. This system has empowered community members to take an active role in keeping healthy cats out of the shelter by reuniting lost pets with their owners, participating in TNR, avoiding unnecessary intervention, fostering, and finding adopters for homeless cats.
If you have taken in a healthy and friendly stray cat, please call us at (989) 775-0830 x5 to discuss your wait list options. If you come across a healthy cat/kitten and know that you are unable to house them, please do not intervene! Call us for advice before taking home an animal you cannot keep.
It is often assumed that an animal shelter is the best place for any animal. The reality is that there are simply not enough homes for every stray cat and there are better options for healthy cats who have adapted to outdoor living –also known as community cats. A simple spay/neuter surgery, food supply, and an inexpensive shelter could be all that a cat in this situation may need. To schedule a spay/neuter appointment, call our health clinic at (989) 775-0830 x3 –be sure to ask about our community cat program!