LOST A PET?

 

btn_lostcat btn_lostdog

All pets that are picked up by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit are brought to the Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC). We are the only public shelter in Harford County and we accept stray animals from the public as well as from Animal Control.

We maintain an extensive file of lost reports. We highly recommend that if your pet is lost, you file a lost report with HSHC, complete with a picture and detailed description. You should also check back with HSHC in person every couple of days as descriptions can be misrepresenting and many pets are especially difficult to match up to lost reports.

Law requires that stray animals be held for a period of time so that owners can find and reclaim them.

  • Dogs not wearing a current Harford County license tag are held for 96 hours (not including the day they arrive at the shelter, Sundays and County holidays). A tag and/or microchip significantly increases your chance of finding your pet.
  • Dogs wearing a current Harford County license tag are held for 192 hours (not including the day they arrive at the shelter, Sundays and County holidays). Within 72 hours, the owner of the licensed dog will be notified by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office by certified mail at the address listed on the license application that their dog is at the shelter. The notice allows the owner 120 hours from the date of the notice to reclaim their dog at the shelter. A tag and/or microchip significantly increases your chance of finding your pet.
  • There are no Harford County laws regarding stray pets other than dogs, so for cats and all other animals we follow the Maryland State laws and they are held for 72 hours (including Sundays and County holidays). Because of the overwhelming numbers of cats we take in, it is particularly difficult to match cats with a lost report. If you have lost your cat, please make frequent, in person checks at HSHC. A tag and/or microchip significantly increases your chance of finding your pet.

After this time, the animal is considered the property of HSHC. For this reason, it is important that you check with HSHC via phone and in person frequently during the first few days of losing your pet. However, you may still redeem your pet after the stray hold has ended if the animal is still at HSHC.

Reclaiming Your Pet

You may come and reclaim your pet during the following hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 11am-6pm
  • Saturday: 10am-5pm
  • Sunday: 12pm-4pm

When you come to take your pet home, there is a $30 fee for the first day of boarding, and $10 for each additional day. This fee helps to cover food, care, and any vaccinations your pet was given. Please provide us with a recent photo of your pet and bring your driver’s license or other state-issued I.D. We strongly encourage that you allow us to microchip your pet for no additional fee to you. HSHC staff will register the chip on FoundAnimals.org for free for the owner.

Other Shelters

If you live close to other counties, keep in mind your pet may have traveled into those counties or may have been picked up by a concerned citizen and taken to another shelter. Please consider contacting animal shelters outside of Harford County. We have listed some below:

Cecil County Animal Services – 410.441.2040
Baltimore County Animal Services – 410.887.7297
BARCS (Baltimore City) – 410.396.4694
Maryland SPCA (Baltimore City) – 410.235.8826
Anne Arundel County Animal Control – 410.222.8900
Humane Society of Carroll County – 410.848.4810

FOUND A PET?

founddog  foundcat

Contact Animal Control

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit is the agency that is responsible for picking up confined (caught) stray animals in our county. All animals picked up by Animal Control are brought to HSHC if they are not immediately reunited with their owners by the Animal Control Officer. Animal Control Officers have microchip scanners in their vehicles and may be able to return the pet to it’s owner without it ever having to step foot in the shelter. That’s a win across the board! If you have caught a stray pet, you can call Animal Control at 410.638.3505. All pets picked up by Animal Control are either returned directly to the owners or are brought to the HSHC shelter in Fallston for holding. If it after-hours or over a weekend and Animal Control is closed, please call the Harford County Sheriff’s Office at 410-838-6600.

Bringing in the pet yourself

If you would like, you can bring the animal to HSHC yourself. However, keep in mind that many stray animals can be injured, scared, or show aggressive behavior. If you feel unsure of bringing a stray animal into your home or vehicle, please call Animal Control. If it after-hours or over a weekend and Animal Control is closed, please call the Harford County Sheriff’s Office at 410-838-6600. HSHC does not provide field services; we cannot come pick up the animal.

In many instances, the lost animal is friendly and can be easily transported to HSHC. Once the animal reaches HSHC, it will be scanned for a microchip and any other identifiers, the lost and found records will be checked, and if we cannot immediately reunite the pet with it’s owner, it will be held for the stray hold period mentioned above to allow the owner time to find and reclaim their pet.

Keeping the found pet

In some cases, the finders of a lost pet want to keep the animal. We commend this act but ask that you give the pet’s owners a chance to reunite, as many owners are devastated over the loss of their pets, and we are the first place they check. This ensures that the owners were given the legally-mandated time to find their pet, and there is no chance of future property theft litigation for you (in Maryland, animals are considered property under the law.)

For quite a while, a “30-day rule” was communicated to finders in Harford County, by our shelter and other agencies, stating that finders could keep the pet for 30 days, and if the owners didn’t come forward, the pet becomes the finders’ to keep or adopt out. In 2016, while HSHC’s new management was reviewing Chapter 64 (the Harford County Code pertaining to Animals) with the new management of Harford County Animal Control, it was discovered that this 30-day rule is not actually found in the law. As such, both HSHC and Harford County Animal Control are no longer communicating this.