Stray/Found Dog Protocol

For Bakersfield, CA

This is the most common call we get here at Pet Matchmaker:

“Help, I found a dog, what do I do?  Can you take it?”

We are sorry, but the rescue is nearly always kept full with animals we have pulled from the local shelters to save them from possible euthanasia and make room for others to be brought in. If you find a stray or lost animal, here are some steps you can take to find its owners. 

  1. First, see if there are any tags.If the dog has tags call the owner if information is provided. If there is just a rabies tag call your county animal control ( 661-868-4685) and provide the tag number to them. They will be able to trace which vet the tag was issued to and the vet will be able to trace which client the tag was assigned to.
  2. If there are no tags take the dog to the nearest vet and they will be able to scan the dog for a microchip. THIS IS FREE and does not require an appointment!!!(A microchip is a device some owners have implanted into their dog’s skin between the shoulders and has info to trace the owner).
  3. If there are no tags/chip and you are willing to hold the dog, contact all three local shelters.Be sure to give a description and your contact info so if the owner comes looking they have a way to find their dog and contact you. The first place an owners will look is the shelters, so this is a very important step!  The shelters keep a lost/found binder at the front desk just for this purpose.

*If you are unable to hold the dog or find someone trustworthy to foster during legally required 15-day stray hold, please take the dog to the city or county shelter (depending on where you live).  You can always put yourself as a last resort to call if the dog is not claimed and is scheduled to be put down.

  1. If you can hold the dog, make flyers to put up in the area the dog was found and place ads on Bakersfield Craigslist,,Facebook lost pet pages specific to your area, the NextDoor app, and call the Californian to submit a free “found” ad to get the word out FAST about the dog. When listing a found dog on the internet give a brief description but be sure to leave some details out so the person trying to claim it has to identify some specifics and you can make sure it is indeed the correct owner and not someone with ill intent! There are a lot of dog fighters looking for free “bait dogs” and dog flippers looking to get free animals they can turn around and sell for a profit in Bakersfield.  Require some proof of ownership: photos, vet records, knowledge of unique markings, etc.
  2. If the legally required stray hold of 15 days is up, you have exhausted all options to find its owners, and you do not want to keep the dog, contact breed-specific rescue groups to see if they have room to take the dog. If you can’t find one, start contacting the local all-breed rescues to see if any others have room.
  3. If you cannot find a rescue that has room to take the dog, you can try to rehome it yourself by making flyers to post around the neighborhood and local businesses or on pet pages online (see ideas above!) ***We STRONGLY recommend that you spay/neuter any unfixed dogs before trying to rehome them to prevent them from accidentally reproducing or being used as breeding dogs. Critters Without Litters offers very affordable spay/neuterWe also recommend that you ask for a rehoming fee from anyone trying to adopt the dog to week out people looking for free dogs.  You can ask for whatever you spent on the dog’s spay/neuter, for example.