Requirements for Keeping Found Pets

Found a pet? See our found pet help center for what to do. If you've decided to hold on to the pet while searching for its owner, you must take certain steps to find the owner. If you are unable to locate the owner, you may legally keep the animal only if you follow these steps. (See section 13.302 of the county ordinances for a complete explanation.)

Handsome pit bull mix dog looking up

If you found a pet and want to keep it, you must take these steps:

1. File a Found Report or notify animal services.

Found Reports will be accessible to the public for six months. Multnomah County Animal Services may require you to surrender the animal. File a found report.

2. Publish a found notice in a local newspaper.

You must publish a found pet notice in a newspaper of general circulation within the county. This notice must be published at least once a week for two consecutive weeks.

The notice must include a description of the animal, where it was found, your name and address, and the final date before which the animal must be claimed (this is 180 days from the date you found the animal).

Talk with your neighbors about the found pet, hand out flyers, and put up found animal posters in the neighborhood. Post to social media and lost & found pet groups online.

3. If an owner comes forward within 180 days, surrender the animal.

If no person claims ownership within 180 days from the found date, the finder may be declared the owner.

If, within 180 days, an owner does come forward, you must surrender the animal. The owner must pay the finder for reasonable actual costs incurred, but the animal can not be held as collateral for payment. It must be surrendered to the owner.