Looking for the next addition to your family? Check out the rescue groups and shelters below that have adorable adoptables waiting just for you! These groups are all dedicated to working with you to find the perfect match for your home. RESCUE/ADOPTION - COALITION MEMBERS >>
Individual animal group directories:
FA Qs >>
Tips for protecting your pet from overheating
The truth about pit bulls
Microchipping your pet
More Info on Microchips
The facts on national pet overpopulation
Why adoption alone isn't enough
Articles of interest on choosing and locating a dog trainer
OTHER ANIMAL GROUPS >>
For wild bird issues:
The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary 727-391-6211
Marilyn Weaver 727-939-2344.
- Hillsborough County Animal Services >>
- Humane Society of Tampa Bay >>
phone: (813) 876-7138
- City of Tampa Police Department (non-emergency 24-hour dispatch): (813)231-6130
- 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics:
- Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency (813) 265-4043
- Florida Veterinary Specialists (813) 933-8944
- Newspapers to place free "found" ads:
- Tampa Tribune 1-800-223-3040
- St. Petersburg Times 1-877-321-7355
- The Flyer (813) 626-9430
- Internet pet lost and found sites:
- How to find homes for homeless animals >>
What to do if you find a stray or lost pet with numbers:
Steps to take to try and find the original or a new home for a stray animal, including contact information and resources.
We all know the feeling – some of us too well. You’re driving down the road and you spot an animal. You can tell it’s alone and scared, but you aren’t sure what to do. Or, maybe a stray has found its way to your front door step and you want to help it. Following these guidelines can help make sure you assist stray animals safely and effectively and, if needed, ultimately find a permanent home for them.
The initial approach:
- Be prepared to rescue.
If you know you're the type of person who helps any strays you come across, you can equip yourself with some things that will help you do the best job. Here are some items to keep in your car at all times: phone, phone number for Hillsborough County Animal Services, phone number for 24-hour emergency veterinary clinics (see phone numbers above), cat carrier or cardboard box, collars and strong leashes for dogs, a heavy blanket, water bowls and water, strong smelling foods, and an animal first-aid kit.
- Think about your safety first.
You can't be of any assistance to the animal if you become injured yourself in the process. Use caution when pulling your car over, and be sure to turn on your hazard lights once you are stopped. Carefully observe your surroundings, particularly in high traffic areas.
- Consider the safety of the animal.
Remember that an animal who is frightened or injured may behave aggressively and unpredictably. A sudden move on your part could cause him to run right into traffic. If you feel the animal is acting in a threatening way, you should remain in your car and call for help.
- If possible, restrain the animal.
Create a barrier or use a carrier, leash, piece of cloth or rope to keep the animal from leaving the immediate area. If you cannot confine the animal, try to signal approaching vehicles to slow down and stay clear of it.
- Use caution when approaching the animal.
If possible, entice him to come to you first by offering food. Make sure he can see you at all times as you approach him. Remain calm and walk slowly towards him. Be aware that if you are able to capture him, you stand a good chance of being scratched or bitten. Be prepared to obtain necessary treatment for any wounds.
- Try to lure the animal into your car, close the door, and wait for help.
It's best to wait for someone to help you, rather than attempting to drive somewhere with a strange animal unrestrained in your car. He could easily become frantic or aggressive, even if he seems calm at first.
- If you aren't able to safely restrain the animal, call animal services or the police.
You should do this whether or not the animal is injured and whether or not he appears to be stray or owned. If possible, stay on the scene to keep an eye on the animal until help arrives. Be as specific as you can when telling authorities where you are located.
- If the animal is injured, take it to the nearest veterinary clinic immediately.
Realize that you will have to assume financial responsibility for any treatments rendered. Some veterinarians will work with you if you are rescuing an animal, but don't assume the treatment will be free of charge.
Now that you have the animal:
- Check for a collar and tag.
If the animal has a tag with a phone number on it, contact the owner immediately to let them know their animal has been found. If the animal has a Hillsborough County license tag on it, call Animal Services and they can get in touch with the owner.
- If the animal doesn't have a tag, take it to a veterinary clinic to have it scanned for a microchip.
This is the most effective way for pets to be reunited with their owners. Most veterinary clinics, as well as the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County Animal Services, are equipped to scan for microchips.
- If the animal has a collar but no tag, there is still a chance it could be lost (not stray).
It's important to do all you can to try and find the animal's owner before assuming it's stray and keeping it or taking it to a rescue facility. You might assume its owner is irresponsible, but accidents can happen to anyone. The frantic owner may be looking everywhere for the pet, and you owe it to them to make a sincere attempt to locate them.
- Post flyers around the area where the animal was found.
Suggestions for where to place flyers:
- High-volume locations in and around the area where you found the animal. This includes gas stations, fast food restaurants and convenience stores.
- Along the roadside where traffic is slow or stops completely.
- Veterinary clinics in the vicinity. Use a fax to get your flyers to facilities farther away. Sometimes stray animals can travel long distances.
- Any place there is a bulletin board: laundromats, community centers, coffee shops, etc.
- Pet supply stores - including Petco, PetSmart and Pet Supermarket.
- Grocery stores - many of them have community posting boards.
- Hair Salons.
- Dog grooming shops.
- Any other store or shop in the area that will permit it.
- Contact local newspapers (see contact information below) to place a free classified ad with a description of the animal. Be sure to check the lost ads in newspapers as well.
- Post a picture and description of the animal on internet lost and found sites (see sites below).
- When creating flyers or placing newspaper ads, it's best to leave out a pertinent piece of information about the animal to make sure the correct owner is claiming it.
You can also ask for the name of the owner's veterinarian to be sure you are giving it to the right person. Unfortunately, there are too many people who search classified ads for animals to be sold to laboratories, so it's important to use caution to ensure this doesn't happen.
- If possible, wait at least 2 weeks for the owner to claim the animal.
- After all of your efforts to find the owner have been exhausted, you can try to find a home for the animal or approach a local rescue group to see if they can help you.
Most groups are limited by the number of foster homes they have, so if you or someone you know is able to foster the animal until a permanent home can be found, it will help the groups a great deal.
Click here for tips on how to find homes for homeless animals.