Frequently Asked Questions

I have lost my pet
The Long Beach Animal Care Services handles in excess of 20,000 animals each year. Because of this large number of animals it is nearly impossible to assist owners who are looking for their pets over the phone.  We recommend the following steps in order for you to find your missing animal:


As soon as you discover your pet is missing, you should take steps to recover it immediately. Do not just wait for the animal to find its way home. We cannot emphasize too strongly that time is critical.

Strays turned over to the local animal shelters are held for only a limited time. Unfortunately, there are just too many strays for the shelters to be able to care for them indefinitely. To improve the chances of recovering your lost companion, you must act quickly and thoroughly and be persistent. It is terrible to have to wonder for the rest of your life what became of a beloved pet.


1.       Search every nook and cranny of your house and grounds on the chance that your pet has become caught or trapped or is sick or injured and hiding. Do not assume they will meow or bark or come to you. Cats especially are likely to hide. Look in closets, drawers, air ducts, behind appliances, under beds, in the hollow under reclining chairs, behind books in a bookcase, wrapped in the bottom of drapes, in any hidden recesses, basement crawl spaces, in sheds, garages, under decks, in pipes and culverts, dumpsters, garbage cans, etc. Cats also have an unfortunate tendency to explore new places, like the back of pick-up trucks and they often get accidentally carried off.  Consider whether there were any vehicles around that your cat may have hitched a ride on.

2.       Contact or come to our facility. Often this is the first place people call when they have found an animal in their neighborhood. Ask that we keep a written record of your lost  pet. You may also visit our website to check on our current lost and found guest's at either:

3.       Comb the neighborhood on foot and by car. Call your pet by name or make some familiar and attractive noise, like whistling, squeezing a squeak toy or shaking a can of treats. Remember that a frightened or injured animal will hide and may not come to you. Pause often and listen for your pet. Look under porches, behind bushes, under cars, etc. Cats may become trapped in neighbors' garages, sheds and on construction sites.  In the case of cats look also in trees and on rooftops. Bring a flashlight to examine dark places. If you live in a busy urban neighborhood, the best time to look and call is early morning when  there is not much activity. Take along a photograph of your pet to show neighbors and people who know the area: letter carriers, meter readers, school bus drivers, joggers, neighborhood children. Hand out cards or flyers with information on how to contact you. Most cats won't go too far, and are probably hiding close by. Go out after dark with a flashlight. Shine the flashlight into all hidden recesses and look for the distinctive reflection from cats' eyes. 

4.       Consider setting a humane trap.
Inside cats that "escape" to the outdoors are very likely to be hiding close by. Their instinct when frightened is not to reveal themselves, so they will not meow or come to you.  The only way to get them back may be to trap them. You can rent humane traps from Animal Care Services. They can also be purchased at pet stores, hardware stores and home centers. Bait with some strong-smelling food. Monitor trap often. If left overnight, do not be surprised if you catch a raccoon or someone else's cat! Use your other pets to leave a scent trail to and from your house.

5.       Try to attract your pet back to the house; leave strong scented articles outside like worn clothing with your scent still on it, your pet's bedding or mat or litter box, or some fragrant food, taking care that other animals don't eat it. If you suspect your pet is around but not coming to you, a good trick is to sprinkle flour and check for paw prints.

6.       Visit the our facility and other surrounding facilities immediately and return regularly. Animals surrendered to Animal Care Services are held for only a very limited time. However, if they are diseased or injured, they may be put down immediately. If they are wearing a current license tag, they must be held for twelve days. It is indispensable to visit our facility in person to see if your pet has been turned in. Bring a good photograph of your pet to leave with them, but do not depend on our staff to contact you. Often, they are just too overwhelmed to research the huge volume of lost and found reports they are asked to deal with.  You really need to return regularly to look for yourself.  Check the daily impound list for impounded, taken to the veterinarian injured and those picked up deceased. The shelter's log entry may not match your description.( For example, you may call asking if a "tan" dog has been found, while the written record on the animal indicates a "brown" dog.). Check the Animal Care Services holding kennels/cages for your pet  

We emphasize that you must not assume that because you have left information about your missing pet that you will automatically be contacted if the animal is turned in. There are too many unwanted animals and too few facility staff to do this. It is up to you to check back regularly.

Do not assume that because your pet was wearing an identification tag, that you will be contacted. Collars may be removed or fall off. Having a microchip placed in your pets assures a speedy return. 

7.       Call your neighborhood veterinarians. People often leave lost and found reports with them or bring injured strays to them. 

8.       Place a classified ad in your local suburban papers and check the "found" ads. Some papers run "Found" ads for free. Keep checking regularly for new ads, and ask how to research ads that have run previously by calling the paper.

9.   Check animal emergency clinics. On the chance that your pet may have been struck by a car and brought for help by some kind person. 

Check reports Internet Lost and Found sites, including the Animal Care Services site  

You must seek and spread information about the pet you have lost in as many ways as possible and you must go to the shelters. Only you can identify your pet. 

Be wary of so-called "pet-finding" services that may contact you and offer  to help find your pet for a fee!

Do not arrange to meet people in out-of-the-way places and do not hand over any  reward money unless you have your pet in hand. 


7700 E. Spring Street
Long Beach
CA 90815


Map to P. D. Pitchford Animal Companion Village
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