Report Lost and Found Pets

lost dog.jpgTo report your missing pet, call the Animal Shelter at 703-792-6465. A voicemail can be left -- the voice-mailbox is checked periodically throughout the workday and your call will be returned. After 5 p.m., call the Police non-emergency number at 703-792-6500. You may also print and fill out an Animal Control Bureau Lost Card and fax it to the Animal Shelter 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our fax number is 703-791-6710. You may also email the information to

It is helpful to attach a clear, recent photo of your pet to the email. When a person calls to report a missing pet, and the animal is not currently at the Animal Shelter, a lost card is filled out by the staff member taking the call. Naturally, the more complete the information, the better the chances that the animal will be identified if it comes into the Shelter.

Should your dog or cat be picked up running at-large by the Animal Control Officer, or turned in as a stray, you may pick it up at the Animal Shelter during the following hours -- Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday-Monday and holidays, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. An Animal Control Officer may follow up to ensure that you have complied with the law.

When you visit the Animal Shelter, inquire with the Front Desk staff about your missing pet. After providing a description of your pet, staff will check all paperwork to see if a match is found. If not, they will ensure a lost report is placed on file. Any potential matches will be brought out for a possible reunion.

If you arrive during the hours that the Animal Shelter is closed, you will need to ring the doorbell, or call 703-792-6500, for assistance. You will also be required to pay a boarding fee of $15 per day for each day your pet has been retained plus a $30 impoundment fee. This fee includes the initial distemper combo vaccination, intranasal bordatella vaccination (dogs), and microchip, if desired.

What You Can Do to Help Find a Lost Pet

  • Call the Animal Shelter at 703-792-6465. After 5 p.m., call the Police non-emergency number at 703-792-6500 or email the description of the animal, location lost, and contact information to If your missing pet is not already there, leave information to complete a lost card.
  • Search your immediate neighborhood and post fliers with a photo.
  • Check social media sites that advertise lost pets.
  • Broaden your search by a mile each day, up to three miles.
  • Visit the Animal Shelter and inquire about the animals impounded. ALSO, ask staff for information on injured or sick animals, or animals in quarantine.
  • Contact the Virginia Department of Transportation to see if your pet was removed from the roadway and disposed of by that agency.

If you locate your pet, please advise the shelter so the lost card can be removed from the file.

VDOT main customer service line in Northern Virginia - 703-383-VDOT (8368)


imagesCA4KTE3P.jpgAnimals that have been found by a resident must either be turned over to the Animal Shelter or a Found Report must be placed with the Shelter (per state law 3.2-6551). The person finding an animal may call Police Communications at 703-792-6500, to request an Animal Control Officer come to their location and pick up the animal, or the person may bring the animal to the Animal Shelter at 14807 Bristow Road.

To place a Found Report with the Shelter, call 703-792-6465 or email us at An animal is more likely to find its way back to its owner if taken to the Animal Shelter for several reasons:

  • The owner of a lost animal may not call us to report that their animal is missing -- they may simply come to the Shelter and look.
  • The finder of the animal may incorrectly identify the breed or sex of the animal, thus causing a non-match with a lost card we may have on file.
  • The Animal Shelter is able to scan for microchips and track any tattoos the animal may have
    The law also provides that a person finding the animal may have the right of first refusal to adopt the animal if the owner does not come forward in the time allotted by law.

For further information about adopting a found animal, call the Animal Shelter at 703-792-6465.