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lost & found

Did you know? The vast majority of found dogs are within 1 mile of their home. So, knocking on doors in the immediate area can be your best chance at a reunion!

Lost your pet?

We know how hard it is to be separated from your pet, but don’t lose hope!


Most dogs are found within a mile of their home, and displaced, stressed cats often hide in silence for an average of 10 days to two weeks, depending on personality and whether they are indoor or indoor/outdoor. Follow these steps to increase the chances of finding your pet:


Step 1: Check to see if your pet was taken to the shelter.

It is very important to visit the Animal Shelter in person.

If you are unable to visit in person, you can also check the following Waco Animal Shelter links:


The map linked below is updated hourly by Animal Care Officers in the field. See your animal? Call the Animal Shelter at (254) 750-7091, or Animal Care at (254) 750-1765, with the animal ID number of your pet (ie, A076543) with the location and description of your pet and/or visit the shelter as soon as possible to start the reclaim process. Animal Care Officers will make attempts to return microchipped animals to you. Please make sure your microchip information is correct and stays updated.


Step 2: Look for your pet on local social media pages and post their photo.

Post your lost pet on the CenTex Lost Pets website, Facebook page, the Central Texas Lost & Found Pets Facebook page, or the Heart of Texas Lost Found Pets Facebook page.

Step 3: Share flyers and alert neighbors.

Create a Lost Pet flyer and post it in the area or distribute it to the doorsteps of homes. Don’t just think in terms of street travel—pets don’t!—think distance, or “as the crow flies,” and post flyers on all the major streets that transverse your neighborhood.

found a dog?

Thank you for sharing the care in our community!
If you can hold a healthy, found pet for just 48 hours while searching for their owner,
you can make reunification not just possible, but probable. 

Lost pets’ chances of returning home rise when they can stay safely in the area where they are found rather than enter the shelter, and research has shown that most lost dogs are within a mile of their homes. In the average shelter, less than half of stray dogs are reclaimed by an owner, but when a pet is kept in the neighborhood where they were found, more pets are reunited with their families. Take 48 and follow these steps before bringing a found pet to the shelter, and you can help your neighbors—human and animal.

Step 1: Check for Tag/ID

If the dog is acting friendly, carefully look for a collar and name tags. Call the number on the tag. If there's only a rabies shot tag, contact the vet on the tag and give the tag number. They can find the owner's info.​


Step 2: Have the Pet Scanned for a Microchip

If you can safely move the pet, bring them to the closest firehouse or vet clinic to check for a microchip. During nights or weekends, Emergency Clinics can scan pets. This is quick, FREE, and might help find the owner. Central Texas Lost & Found Pets and Heart of Texas Lost Found Pets have volunteers in McLennan County with scanners who can meet you to scan the pet's microchip.

Step 3: HSCTX S.N.I.F.F. Program

By housing a found stray in your home for just 72hrs, you can drastically help improve that pet's chances of finding their family and boost their immunity to life-threatening diseases!

CLICK HERE for more information on how S.N.I.F.F. can help your found stray!

Step 4: Share Photos of The Pet Online

Please post a photo of the animal and description where found at the following locations to try to find the owner:

Central Texas Lost & Found Pets

Heart of Texas Lost Found Pets

CenTexLostPets (under the ‘lost and found’ section & under the ‘Pets’ section).



Don't forget to browse these pages if your pet has already been posted!

Step 5: Ask the Neighbors

Keep in mind that not everyone uses social media or the internet. If it's safe, try knocking on doors near where you found the pet to find their home. You could also walk the dog in that area so someone might recognize them. You can put pictures of the dog at local vet clinics, groomers, and in the area where you found them with your contact info. Putting up flyers with the dog's photo in that area is still a helpful way to reunite pets and owners.

found a cat?

​A cat who looks healthy with good body condition and coat is very rarely lost. Millions of pet cats are indoor/outdoor; we might not know where that cat lives, but good body condition tells us the cat knows where home is and will make its way back on its own.

Even cats who are actually lost are 10–50 times more likely to be reunited with their owners if they stay in the neighborhood where they are found. In the average shelter, only 5% of cats are reclaimed by an owner, but when a lost pet is kept in a safe place in the neighborhood where they were found, the overall reclaim rate jumps significantly.


If the cat looks healthy, please put it back where you found it/leave it where it is. Refer to this I Found a Cat flowchart for more guidance. If you believe the cat is truly lost,
here’s how you can help:
  • Wait a day or two to offer food, as extra feeding can discourage cats from going back home on their own.

  • Play detective—ask around your neighborhood to see if anyone recognizes them. If the cat is friendly, use this paper collar template to help determine if the cat is owned.

  • Post a photo and description of the animal on social media. (Check out Found A Dog? for more tips on posting found pets)

  • Check for ID tags. To have the cat scanned for a microchip, you can visit our Adoption Lobby, a firehouse, or vet clinic for free! If needed, visit to enter the microchip number and find the owner.

  • Create a Found Pet flyer and post it in the neighborhood or distribute it to doorsteps of homes nearest where the cat was found. Don’t think in terms of street travel—cats don’t!—think distance, or “as the crow flies,” and post flyers on all the major streets that transverse your neighborhood.

Not Finding what you're looking for?

Visit the Waco Animal Guide for even more resources!

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