I lost my pet

We know pets are family, and we do all we can to reunite lost dogs, cats and other animals with their people.
When someone finds a lost pet and reports it to CMPD Animal Care & Control, the pet is either:

  • Brought to the shelter and placed on a 72-hour (three-day) hold while we work to find its family using microchip data, rabies records and other identification; or
  • Kept by the person who found it while they try to reunite the pet with its people.


If your dog, cat or other family pet is missing, start by searching our database of lost pets:

Lost pets at the shelter

This section includes all pets on 72-hour lost hold and those available to adopt because they have not been claimed after three days. All of these pets are housed at the shelter. These records update hourly. If you don’t see your missing pet, keep checking daily as lost dogs, cats and other animals can arrive at the shelter at any time. We also strongly suggest you visit the shelter at least once every three days to search for your lost pet in person.


Reclaim a lost pet at the shelter

If you see your pet (or a pet that looks like it) in the Lost My Pet pages, come to the shelter immediately with the documentation you’ll need to reclaim your pet. We are located at 8315 Byrum Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28217, and we are open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

If you think you see your pet online, but the shelter is closed, please call 311 to file a note that you’ll come when the shelter is open to identify your lost cat, dog or other animal in person.

NOTE: You know your pet better than anyone. Unless you are calling to file an after-hours note, please do not call 311, ask shelter staff or volunteers to look at a lost pet for you, or email a similar request. We cannot guarantee an email reply within the 72-hour hold window.

Important Reclaim Instructions

The instructions below will help to speed up the reclaim process.

Animal Care & Control
8315 Byrum Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217

Mon. – Fri. 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sat. – Sun. 11:00am – 5:00pm

  • If you need to alert our staff about an animal that you think might be yours, please call 311 and they will place a note on the animal for you indicating that you will be coming to the shelter to see if it is your pet. Make sure that you come as soon as possible.

  • If you have located your pet on our website, write down the ID number and bring it to the shelter to present to the service representative at the front desk.

  • If you already know your pet is at the shelter due to a bite or aggression incident, or were contacted by Animal Care & Control, bring all related documents with you to the shelter to present to the service representative at the front desk.

If your pet is at Animal Care & Control, please follow these steps to reclaim:

  1.  You will need to provide proof of ownership.  Accepted items would be veterinary records, breed registration papers, photos of you and your pet.  If you do NOT have proof of ownership, you will be denied reclaim.

  2. You will need to provide proof of rabies vaccination.  We will only accept a paper certificate, not the tag, as proof.  If you are unable to provide a rabies certificate, or your pet is not current on that vaccination, the animal will be vaccinated before it leaves the shelter. 

  3. Rabies vaccines and microchips are required by Mecklenburg County and will be provided at an additional cost to the owner.  This is not optional.

  4. You will need to provide photo ID showing your current address.  If your ID is not current, also bring additional proof of your correct address such as a check, a lease agreement, or a bill.

  5. The pet owner is the only person that can reclaim their animal.  We cannot reclaim to a neighbor, relative, or co-worker without signed permission and a copy of the animal owner's photo ID.  These reclaim documents may be faxed to us at 704-336-7842 or you may bring them in person.

  6. Some animals may not be available for reclaim due to a "Hold" placed on the animal by the impounding officer.  This may be the result of multiple violations, aggression, or other issues.  The pet will be held at the shelter until the officer's investigation is completed.

  7. Animal Care & Control accepts cash or local checks*, Mastercard* or Visa*.  No debit transactions.

*Check and credit payments cannot be accepted from parties that are not present at the time of the reclaim to show their photo ID.

Each reclaim is unique and may take different lengths of time to complete.  Thank you in advance for your patience.


Reclaim Fees

Below fees apply if your pet is already spayed or neutered; or you choose to keep your pet fertile.

Canine impound            40.00
City/county tag (fertile)  30.00
City/county tag (sterile) 10.00
Rabies vaccine              15.00
Board per day                15.00
Microchip                        8.00 
     Feline impound                25.00
City/county tag (fertile)    30.00
City/county tag (sterile)   10.00
Rabies vaccine               15.00
Board per day                  9.00
Microchip                         8.00 


If your pet is not sterilized, you may choose the below reclaim option:

Spay/Neuter Option

Spay fee                  75.00
Neuter fee               75.00
City/County tag       10.00
Rabies vaccination  15.00
Microchip                  8.00
Male Total              98.00
Female Total         103.00 
      Surgery Feline – Male      45.00
Surgery Feline – Female  50.00
City/County tag                10.00
Rabies vaccination           15.00
Microchip                           8.00
Male Feline Total             78.00
Female Feline Total         83.00




Citations for City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

If your animal was picked up in violation of the leash law, the owner may receive citations by mail.  This is in addition to any applicable reclaim fees paid at the time of reclaim.  All fines are escalating by number of offenses.

  • 1st offense          $50.00
  • 2nd offense         $75.00
  •  3rd offense          $150.00 *and a fence will need to be installed.  Also, a dog can be held at the shelter until the fence is built and inspected.
  •  4th offense          $250.00 * and a more secure fence (example, covered top and concrete bottom).  The dog will be held at the shelter until the enclosure is built and inspected.
  •  5th offense          $500.00 *and seizure of the dog.  Dog ownership rights will be terminated. 

Citations not paid within 30 days of issuance will double.



Found pets in the community

This section includes lost pets that have been found and are currently being cared for in the homes of members of the community. These reports also are updated throughout the day.

Please look closely at each info card on every page of the Lost and Found sections. Click the cards for more details on any pet, including the date it was found / arrived at the shelter.

Reclaim a found pet in the community

If you think you see your missing dog, cat or other pet in the Found Pet pages, click on the preview card to open the lost pet’s detailed info page.

Then, scroll down to the “Contact poster” section and fill out the form to connect with the community member currently caring for the lost pet.


If you don’t see your lost pet in our database, don’t lose hope. Here’s what to do now:

Step 1: File a Lost Pet Report

If you haven’t already, create a Lost Pet Report. You can add photos and details about your pet online or call 311 to file a report.

NOTE: Lost Pet reports expire after 30 days. If your pet is still missing after one month, please file a new report.

banner with a silhouette dog, cat, and rabbit linked to take you to 24petconnect to file a pet report  File a lost pet report

petco love lost reuniting pets   Also be sure to file a Petco Love Lost report


Step 2: Contact your pet’s microchip company

Contact your missing cat or dog’s microchip company to let them know your pet is missing, and to verify your address, phone number and other contact details are up to date.

If you’ve moved, changed your phone number or haven’t registered your pet’s microchip with the City of Charlotte, please update or submit your information for free now.

Step 3: Place familiar belongings outside to draw your pet home

Animals have a very strong sense of smell. Attract your missing four-legged family member by placing pieces of your clothing and / or their favorite blanket or bed outside in a sheltered area. You can also set a humane trap using tuna or other fragrant food. Cats are often drawn to the smell of their own litter boxes. Finally, check your crawl space, open areas under porches and decks, and other sheltered spots around your home or property. Ask your neighbors to do the same.

Check all of the above often.

Step 4: Check surrounding shelters and rescues

Lost pets can often find themselves some distance from their homes – whether because they traveled there by foot, were picked up by a good Samaritan or by some other circumstance.

In addition to checking our database of lost pets daily, we also suggest regularly monitoring regional animal shelters and police departments. This list includes, but is not limited to:

You can also file a report, look for a lost pet and search found pets on these Facebook groups and sites:

Facebook Groups


Step 5: Keep checking daily

Remember, missing dogs, cats and other animals can be found and / or arrive at the shelter at any time. Keep checking our database of lost pets daily and visit the shelter at least once every three days to search for your missing pet in person.


You can also contact Epic Animal Recovery to help you locate your missing pet. They are a group that provides a service of search and rescue for missing pets. Not just dogs, not just cats, but all animals.