Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin

Found a Stray

You’re in your car having just picked up the kids from school and now heading to the store when you see her. This confused little dog with her nose to the ground, dodging traffic in search of something. We all know that on the other side of the story there most likely is a family missing their furry friend. But before you rescue any stray animal, there are a few tips that could mean the difference between an experience that brings you joy versus one that comes back to bite you, so to speak.

Be cautious when approaching any animal. Animals may be scared and unsure of their surroundings and with unfamiliar people. Do not try to catch or handle an animal that seems scared or reactive. Many times, you may just be able to contain the animal in a fenced-in yard, garage, kennel, crate, or live trap without making physical contact.

Check for a license tag or other identification. If you can get close enough to read the tags, please try reaching the owner. Many ID tags include names and phone numbers. If the animal is wearing a rabies tag, contact the vet clinic listed - they can often put you in touch with his or her owner. License tags can similarly be used to find an owner by contacting the municipality that issued the license.

Check with your neighbors or the houses near where you found the animal. Although you may not recognize the pet, it could still belong to a neighbor, or your neighbors could be dog sitting.  Also, many animals don’t roam far from where they are lost so chances are someone in your area will recognize your new-found friend.

We can scan the animal for a microchip. Your local vet clinic can also quickly scan a cat or dog and let you know if they have a microchip – a chip is permanent ID imbedded under the animal’s skin and is registered with the company who produced them. The microchip company should be able to give you the name and contact information for any chipped animal.

Some finders prefer to hold onto a found animal for a short time while they attempt to find the owner. If you are able to do this, call Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin at (608) 752-5622 to place a found report. We ask you for the animal’s description and try to match it to any missing pet reports in our system. We can also scan found pets for microchips and take photos to help reunite the lost pet with its owners.

Can’t hold onto a lost animal or find its owner?

If you need assistance with a contained pet found in one of the municipalities below, call the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin at (608) 752-5622 between 8am and 5pm. Because we are a non-profit organization and for safety and agency requirements, we aren’t able to pick up stray animals. We ask that you bring the animal to us if you can. If you can’t, please call your local police department.  

  • City of Beloit
  • Town of Beloit
  • City of Janesville
  • Town of Janesville
  • City of Milton
  • Town of Milton
  • City of Evansville
  • Town of Center
  • Village of Clinton
  • Town of Avalon
  • Town of Fulton
  • Town of Rock
  • Village of Orfordville
  • Town of Harmony
  • Village of Footville
  • Town of Johnstown
  • Town of Lima
  • Town of Newark
  • Town of Plymouth
  • Town of Porter
  • Town of Spring Valley
  • Town of Union

Wild animals

It’s spring and you see a tiny bird on the ground. Or an opossum who appears to be staggering. Since many wild animals that appear injured or abandoned are often only exhibiting defense mechanisms, we recommend leaving it alone for at least 24 hours. The bird, for example, might just be fledging and starting its journey out of the nest. That opossum? She might just be coming out of playing dead. Wild animals require a certain level of expertise and must be cared for by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian. At this time, the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin simply doesn’t have the proper facilities or staff to care for wild animals. Contact Fellow Mortals at fellowmortals.org or call 262.248.5055 (the answering recording is long, but leave a detailed message and your call will be returned.)

Above all, we thank you for caring about lost, homeless, and wild animals. A comfortable, warm pet bed, a feathery nest, or a safe pile of timber, no matter the dwelling our aim is the same: together, we are helping all pets go home again.

Upcoming Events


Petco Adoption Event

November 4, 2017 (11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.) - November 5, 2017

We have so many great pets waiting for their forever homes! A couple of our amazing volunteers will be at Petco with some available animals who want to...

Mutts and Martinis

December 14, 2017 (6 - 9pm) -

Join the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin for Mutts & Martinis, a night of specialty martinis, appetizers, raffle items, and live music, December 14th from 6-9pm.<...

News & Announcements


Viral tearjerker story of puppy thrown into Rock River debunked by Janesville police

It was a story with all the makings of a heartwarming family flick: a heartless owner throws a cute puppy off a...

Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin sponsors free pet adoption event

JANESVILLE—The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin has planned a free adoption event this weekend in Janesville.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, the humane...

Lost Pet Portal