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City of Hamilton - Planning & Economic Development

Lost & Found Animal Services

Animal overpopulation is the most readily identifiable reason for unwanted and stray animals. It represents a significant and preventable financial burden to the community. More importantly, unwanted and stray animals are, as a rule, neglected, suffer needlessly and eventually succumb to fatal illnesses or accidents. Spaying or neutering your pet is an important and responsible means of managing pet overpopulation.

Licensing your dog, having your pet implanted with a microchip, attaching owner information to your pet's collar, and registering with Helping Lost Pets greatly improves the chance of recovering your lost pet.

Unwanted, uncontrolled, and stray animals may:

  • attack people and other animals;
  • spread diseases such as rabies and distemper;
  • damage or destroy private property; and
  • contribute to motor vehicle collisions.

What is Helping Lost Pets?

Helping Lost Pets is a Lost & Found Animal system that can help return a lost pet back home.  The system lists lost and found reports posted within the community and right across North America.  You can see a map of the area in which you live - as large or as small an area as you would like to search.  You can attach a photo to a Lost or Found report to help owners and finders determine if the pets match.

All pets that are found as strays by Animal Services will be posted on this system as Found animals within a few hours of the animal entering our database.  All residents and businesses in the community can use this system to post FREE lost or found reports.

You can register with the site and subscribe to receive automatic notifications of pets lost or found in your area.  While searching for your lost pet in the community you may be able to help another owner find their pet.  The website has many capabilities, such as lost & found posters, map-based searches, pre-registration for pets and owners, and connections to animal related organizations and businesses - just to name a few.

What does Helping Lost Pets allow me to do?

  • Automatically search stray animals in our shelter and in the community
  • Post FREE Lost & Found reports
  • Print FREE Lost & Found posters
  • Automatically receive e-mails of potential pet matches
  • Register yourself and your pets for FREE on Helping Lost Pets to be ready just in case your pet goes missing
  • Easily update your profile and provide care instructions for your pet
  • Upload a picture of your pet
  • Connects members in a community to help search for missing pets

Why should I pre-register on Helping Lost Pets?

Pre-registering yourself and your pet on Helping Lost Pets is another tool to assist you in recovering your pet.  Your information will already be in the system prior to your pet becoming lost, so the recovery process is fast tracked.  Helping Lost Pets has a mobile application for Android phones.  If you are out with your pet and he becomes lost, you can quickly use the mobile application to report your pet as missing.

The following procedures are in place to help re-unite owners with their animals in a timely manner and to ensure the safety of the animals, staff and visitors at the shelter.

As the owner of a lost pet, what do I need to do when I come to the shelter?

  • show government identification with your current address each visit to the shelter to search for your missing pet.
  • not touch any of the animals when searching the kennels to keep disease transmission to a minimum.  It is recommended that when possible young children stay in the lobby area for their safety.
  • pay for any impound and boarding fees for each day your pet is in the shelter.  All fees must be paid at the time you claim your pet.  We accept Cash, Debit, VISA, and MasterCard.
  • purchase a City of Hamilton Dog Licence before a dog is released from the shelter if it is not already licensed.
  • have a leash or carrier at the time you claim your pet.
  • understand it is your responsibility to search for your missing pet.

Is there anything else I do to search for my lost pet?

  • visit the shelter on a regular basis, no more than every 3 days
  • post a FREE Lost Report through Helping Lost Pets
  • file a Lost Report with all Animal Shelters in the area of where your animal was lost.  (Staff can supply you with a list.)
  • if your pet is microchipped, verify your contact information with the microchip company
  • check the local newspapers for Found Animal ads
  • post a Lost Animal ad in the local newspapers
  • check and post on other lost & found websites such as Kijiji, PetLynx, Craigslist, etc.
  • print FREE Lost Posters from Helping Lost Pets and with permission post them in area stores, vet clinics and schools
  • place Lost Posters in neighbours mailboxes asking them to check garages, sheds and under porches
  • update your Lost Report if you locate your pet outside of the shelter (Helping Lost Pets will send reminder e-mails to update your report)

What will Animal Services Staff do to help me find my pet?

  • Staff will post every found animal in the shelter on the Helping Lost Pets website (deceased animals are also posted for up to 48 hours);
  • make every effort to contact you if your pet is found and has a current microchip and/or an identification tag;
  • provide you with information to file a Lost Report on the Helping Lost Pets website;
  • not conduct searches for your lost pet over the phone unless it is wearing identification because there is a large potential for error in the description of animals;
  • scan and check all stray animals (alive or deceased) for a microchip, tattoo and/or identification tag; and
  • follow-up on all identification found on an animal and contact the registered owner.

Will there be any Veterinarian Expenses?

While your pet is in our care, we make every effort to ensure its safety and health care.  It may be necessary for a Veterinarian to examine and/or treat your pet.  You, as the owner, are responsible for any expenses incurred by the City of Hamilton Animal Control.

Can my pet contract a disease while in the shelter?


We have high standards in our cleaning protocol, however if your pet has been in the shelter, it may have come into contact with viruses causing Parvo, Distemper, Kennel Cough, or Upper Respiratory Infections, etc…  Your best defence is to make sure your pet is vaccinated.  Please monitor your pet’s health closely, and consult your Veterinarian.

Contact Information:

Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 2:00pm
Closed on Holidays

Phone: 905-574-3433

Dispatch Services
Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 6:00pm

Emergencies Only
Monday - Friday: 6:00pm - 8:30am
Weekends and Holidays

Fax: 905-574-8877
Licensing Fax: 905-546-4044
Email: animalcontrol@hamilton.ca
(Please Note: This e-mail address is not monitored continuously and should not be used for matters requiring immediate attention.)


Online Services:

Things You Need to Know: