Found Pet Advice

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Have you found a missing pet? Or do you have an animal hanging around your property?

As animals can not talk to us, we need to act for them to help them get home. Especially if the animal is sick or injured.

There are a number of easy steps you can take to help:

  • You can take any animal to your local vet or SPCA and have them check for a microchip. If registered this will quickly allow the animal to be returned home. If needing treatment the vet can then immediately talk with the owner to explain the options. On this website you can view our map showing many of our over 900 agents, where an animal can be checked for a microchip. This includes vets, SPCA’s, rescues, shelters, pet stores, local council’s and many other locations.

  • Remember that nowadays many animals are microchipped. The NZCAR has over half a million dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, pigs, goats, donkeys, lizards, birds and other animals registered.

  • 170720 pet collar templateIf it is a cat you can put a paper collar around its neck and see if anyone responds. The NZCAR, in association with Wellington SPCA, have a downloadable template for a collar. Click here to view or print.

  • You can list the animal on our FREE lost and found pet site called This new site is for all lost pand found animals regardless of whether they are chipped. It combines the leading site Pets on the Net, and also notifies each new listing to Neighbourly users in your area. Remember to also search the lost notices too as a worried owner may have already placed n advert themselves.

  • You can put a found pet notice in your neighbours letterboxes, or put up notices in your local shopping centre. Once a listing is created in, you can download a free Found Pet poster in the top right hand corner.

  • You can also place a found poster by your letterbox if you are comfortable with people coming to check if the pet is theirs.

  • You can upload a photo of the found pet for free to the new NZCAR facial recognition program. Simply click this link to register and upload the found animal details.

  • You can contact local media (community radio and newspapers) to ask if they  will place a free found pet advert.

  • Ask your local SPCA or vet if anyone has called reporting a lost pet matching the description of the animal you have found.

  • If you have found a dog, you may like to take it for a walk just in case the owner is out looking and spots you.

I think I will just keep it….

No matter how friendly or cute the animal you have found is, deciding to just keep it is NEVER the right decision. Equally just because a cat or dog seems very scared and nervous around you initially does not mean it has been abused. There will usually be a family missing their loved pet.

While you may prefer trying to find the owner of a dog using any of the steps above, Section 52 (4)(b) of the Dog Control Act 1996 requires "the occupier or person may seize the dog and cause the dog to be returned to its owner, or to be delivered into the custody of a dog control officer or dog ranger." If you do hand over the dog to animal control and are later contacted by the owner you can advise them where the dog is. If you are keen to keep the dog yourself, you can also let your local animal control know you are willing to legally adopt the dog and offer it a good home. Any Animal Control Officer would much prefer to see an unclaimed dog find a good home if the owner does not come forward.

Finding Dead Animals

If the animal you have found or seen is deceased then there is most likely still an owner who would prefer to know than keep worrying. Dead animals can, if possible, be taken to your local SPCA or vet. They can often store the remains for a period, to allow time for the owner to make contact and collect them.

If they can not be moved then call the SPCA or your local Council and they may be able to check the animal for a microchip before removing the remains.

If possible, it is still worth taking many of the found pet steps above, but do not include photos or other images.

Any other questions?

Give the NZCAR team a call on 0508 LOSTPET (567873), or email us at [email protected]