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 Found Pet Advice

...Is this pet really lost?

Yes probably! We recommend that you err on the side of caution and always ASSUME a "new" or "hanging around", or sick or injured animal IS LOST and in need of help.
. Pets can't talk or ask for help, they absolutely rely on you to be a kind human and help them be reunited to their home, or to get to medical help if need be. If a cat is "hanging around, try putting a paper collar on it with a note to see if anyone responds, meanwhile proceed as below

We welcome listings for found pets, SIGHTED pets i.e. you just saw a dog running down the road - this is helpful information for the owner.

Please do list deceased pets you may have seen (however, please don't publish pictures online...). More

IF the pet/animal is sick or injured
please contact your nearest SPCA urgently, or take the animal to the vet

Use our checklist, to help find a lost pets owner
Register and then place a free found ad with up to 8 free photos here on
Search our lost pets online
Contact your nearest SPCA so they can record details of the found pet. 
Consider putting up a makeshift sign outside your property (use the inside of an old cardboard box) so that people driving or walking looking for their pet can see your sign.
If you have found a dog, take the dog for a walk around the neighbourhood, the owner may see you or be out be out driving around looking for the dog
Contact Animal Control if you have found a healthy stray dog. 
NB A stray dog must be passed over to Animal Control or the SPCA within 48 hours, or it is considered an offence to hold the dog any longer.

Take the pet to the vet of your choice for a free microchip scan. If the pet is microchipped it can be reunited very very quickly. Did you know it's not only dogs that can be microchipped, it's also cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and even birds. A chip scan is normally free for a lost pet (but please call ahead to the vet to check) and at the vet ask the vet or vet nurse to also identify the sex, possible age and breed/s to help give more information for your Petsonthenet ad.

Talk with neighbours and do a flier drop in your street and surrounding streets

Put a Found Pet flier up at local diary/supermarket/noticeboard/library etc

Finders FAQ
Q: Can I just keep this pet I've found?
No, it's not "Finders Keepers.." this pet belongs and is loved by another family, possibly with children who will be absolutely devastated by the loss of their pet. Please DO NOT KEEP pets, make every effort to reunite the pet FIRST.

To keep a found dog is stealing, the dog MUST be handed into a SPCA or Animal Control within 48 hours.
(You can express interest to then adopt the animal if not claimed, but you will need to meet all the shelters normal requirements such as fencing etc and an adoption fee will apply. This often covers important vet work such as desexing and vet checks to ensure the pet is behaviourally and physically able to be adopted successfully.

For a cat, rabbit, turtle etc,
if after AT LEAST seven days of intensive advertising on Petsonthenet, fliers and other means, the owner is still not found, you could consider adopting the pet, but we would recommend you continue to advertise for a period of several weeks AND definitely have the pet checked for a microchip at the vet (this should be free). Try to help your children and people in your household to understand that you are looking after the pet only until the owners can be found. Do the right thiing. Do what YOU would want someone to do for YOUR lost pet. And if you decide a pet is for you and the pet is reunited, see our Pets for Adoption ads or go to your nearest shelter or SPCA and "Adopt and Save a Life" (Don't BUY pets..)

Q: The pet I have found is injured or sick, what can I do?

A: Contact your local SPCA or vet urgently for advice

Q: I've found a pet that I can't keep until the owner is located, who can help in the meantime?
A: Phone your local vet or SPCA for advice. For dogs call Animal Control. Please don't take them to a pet shop where they will be sold before the owner has a chance to find them. If their owner does not arrive after the seven day stray time at the SPCA, you may be able to put your name down if you are interested in adopting the pet, or the shelter will put the pet up for adoption if the health and temperament of the animal are good

Q: Should I still put an ad on if a pet I found has already been passed to another organisation such as SPCA, vet, dog control etc? 

A: Yes. This will definitely help the owner track their pet down sooner.

Q: Should I still put an ad on Petsonthenet if the animal was dead/has since died of its injuries etc
A: Yes. Most people say the worst thing is not knowing what has happened to their pet. Although it is distressing to know a pet has died. It is better than never knowing and always wondering. Please put as much as a description as possible such as colour, special markings, size, breed etc. It helps to put where the pet was found i.e. City, Suburb and street address etc and on what date.

If you come across a deceased pet (and where it is safe and practicable) the animal should be moved to a safe place such as a grass verge away from traffic but where a searching owner will still see the animal. If at all possible, the animal can also be taken (in a box or similar) to the nearest vet or SPCA. The vet or SPCA will then scan the deceased animal for a microchip and store the remains for a period of time with hopes the animal will be repatriated with it's owners. If the pet was moved to a vet/SPCA, please note those details on your Found Pet ad. Even if you just happen to see a dead cat or dog etc, we welcome reports of sighted deceased pets so that owners can be repatriated with their pets remains and get some closure.
It can be helpful to take a photo of the deceased pet to help aid potential identification later, but please don't publish these photos on your Petsonthenet ad.

Q: What about wild cats?
You will need to contact your nearest SPCA or Animal Control to discuss the options for wild cats. Each of these in different parts of NZ can have different policies for managing wild cats. Their policies can also vary depending on whether the cat/s is healthy, sick or injured.

Q: What about wild kittens?
A: Some SPCAs or rescues will take wild kittens. Contact your nearest SPCA for their policy on this. Injured or sick wild kittens contact your vet or the SPCA.

Q: How can I help tame wild kittens for rehoming... 
A: As they wean from their mother (between four - six weeks of age) handle the kittens as much as possible in order to tame them. Only tame, healthy wild kittens will have a chance at re homing. It could take a couple of weeks of intensive handling and feeding to tame them sufficiently. The older they are the harder it is to tame them but remember they must be weaned or they will not survive without their mother. (If the mother has died, the kittens will need bottle feeding every few hours. Begin weaning to mushy kitten food at four weeks onwards, as well as milk. The milk should ideally be special kitten milk from vets, rather than cows milk or they could get the runs! Contact the SPCA or your vet for more information.) 

Take the weaned litter inside in a small room such as a laundry. Kittens aged six weeks and up need feeding 3-4 times a day with special kitten food (from supermarkets) and plenty of fresh water and special kitten milk. You'll also need a shallow litter tray and litter, or dirt or sand for the tray, which needs cleaning at least daily

Any other questions? 
Please email us at team@petsonthenet and we'll get back to you soon with the answer and add it to our FAQ.


If you have appreciated our advice, support and free ads, please support us with your donation so we can continue to reunite and rehome more pets throughout NZ.
Every dollar helps, thank you.

Sammy, feline founder of petsonthenet, click to visit
This is the Feline Founder of, Sammy. Her three day disappearance in 2000 inspired the birth of PetsontheNet! (click for her story).



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Petsonthenet - NZ's nationwide database for lost and found pets, and pets for adoption. Reuniting and rehoming pets since 2002