Lost/Found Pets FAQ


1)  Q: My dog or cat just went missing in Burien; how can C.A.R.E.S. help?
      A:  Once you are sure your pet has gone missing, contact C.A.R.E.S. to see if they've already been found and brought to the shelter.  If they have not, then file a Lost Pet report

C.A.R.E.S. is the Animal Care & Control authority for the city of Burien, and our shelter houses the city's strays and found dogs--as such, we encourage anyone who finds a stray or lost dog in Burien to contact us immediately, as we are often already in touch with the lost pet's owner.  We maintain a database of reported lost and found domestic animals, have access to licensing and microchip records, chip scanners, vet partnerships, and other resources to help reunite owners with their missing dogs.  We actively cross-reference Lost/Found reports, and will contact you immediately if we find or have any information about your missing pet. 

You may file a Lost Pet report with C.A.R.E.S. in-person at our shelter, over the phone, via email, or submit a Lost Pet report online.

Please note that while we take Lost/Found Pet reports for any nearby jurisdiction, our shelter only takes in strays found within the city limits of Burien.  Finders of out-of-area pets are directed to the appropriate Animal Control authority/shelter.  Make sure you contact not only the correct shelter/agency for the jurisdiction your pet went missing in, but we recommend also contacting the shelters in neighboring jurisdictions, as well (see our Resources page for other Animal Control agencies/shelters near Burien).

2)  Q: I found a stray dog in Burien.  Can I bring it to C.A.R.E.S.?
       A:  By law, any stray dog found in Burien is supposed to come to our shelter.  If you have found a dog within the city limits of Burien, please contact us immediately--we may already be in touch with the owner, and we have access to microchip scanners, licensing databases, vet networks, and other tools to help reunite a found dog with its worried owners.  Further, owners of missing pets are instructed to check local shelters.  The sooner you contact us, the better chance we have of helping to get that lost doggie back home.

C.A.R.E.S. accepts reports of found pets online, in-person, via email, and over the phone.

You may bring the found dog directly to our shelter during business hours (M-F 9-6; Sat 9-1), although we request that you contact us via phone (206-812-2737) ahead of time if possible, to make sure we have staff and kennel space available.  When you arrive, please leave the dog in your vehicle or tied securely outside until directed by staff to do otherwise.  You will need to complete and sign a Found Dog form, and you will also need a valid government-issued photo ID.

Please note that we can only assist with stray dogs found within the city limits of Burien.  If you have found a stray dog outside of Burien, please contact the appropriate shelter/ Animal Control agency for that jurisdiction (see our Resources page for neighboring agencies).


3)  Q:  I found a stray cat in Burien.  Can I bring it to C.A.R.E.S.?
C.A.R.E.S. is an active advocate of the modern 'Community Cat' perspective as the most effective and humane way of dealing with free-roaming cat populations in urban areas like Burien.  For this reason, as well as contractual considerations and shelter space limitations, we do not generally take found healthy stray adult cats into our shelter.  We do accept all reports of Lost/Found cats.  We can scan any found cat for a microchip or other identification and help you contact the owner if one is found.  You may also have the cat scanned for a microchip at any local vet.  There are also a number of cat rescue organizations in the Seattle area you may wish to try (also see our Resources page for a few). 
If you have found a healthy stray adult cat, we generally recommend leaving it where it is--in most cases, that 'stray' cat belongs to one of the neighbors and is coming around because it has found another source of food/attention, or is simply a healthy free-roaming or 'community cat' (watch an excellent introduction to the 'Community Cat' ethos here, which C.A.R.E.S. advocates).  Talk to your neighbors and post flyers around the area to try and locate the owner, and figure out if you or your neighbors are feeding the cat or doing anything else to encourage it to come around--remember that cats can have a roaming territory as small as a backyard or as large as a few blocks.
If the cat is disturbing your garden, yard or own animals, first make sure no one at your house is feeding the cat (the #1 cause of unwanted cats persistently hanging around, in our experience).  If that doesn't solve the problem, try some of these suggestions.

If you are certain that you have found an owned cat that does not belong to anyone in the neighborhood, file a Found Cat report with us.  We will contact you if we receive a matching Lost Cat report.  

If you believe you have found a sick/injured stray cat in Burien, please contact us directly (206-812-2737). 

If you would like to get a feral/free-roaming cat spayed or neutered for free or low-cost, contact C.A.R.E.S. for current resources, or see our Resources page for a few options.


3)  Q: I've found a dog, but I don't want to bring it to the shelter; can I hang onto it while I look for the owner?
       A: Please remember that the dog you've found is someone else's legal property, and that by law, any stray dog found in Burien is supposed to come to our shelter; we may in fact already be in contact with the owner by the time you find the dog.  We have access to microchip scanners, licensing records, and other resources at the shelter that can greatly increase the chances of reuniting a stray dog with its owners.  The sooner you contact us, the better chance we have of helping to get the lost doggie back home. 

If you are concerned about what will happen to the animal if you bring it to C.A.R.E.S., please see #4 below.


4)  Q:  What happens to stray animals at C.A.R.E.S. that don't get claimed?
      A:  C.A.R.E.S. is a no-kill shelter, and we never euthanize due to space, breed, length of stay, etc.  After a prescribed time period during which we make all attempts to locate the owners, unclaimed strays are thoroughly examined by a veterinarian, treated for worms and fleas, vaccinated, spayed/neutered, then posted for public adoption to new homes.  They will remain in our care until they are adopted, whether that takes a few days or a few months.  Some animals (e.g., disabled, chronic medical issues, etc.) may not be posted for public adoption and instead be transferred to one of the organizations or individuals in our rescue-adopter network, where they can receive the special attention they need to live a comfortable and healthy life.


5)  Q: My dog got loose and was brought to the shelter. Will I have to pay a bunch of fines to get her out?
As the Animal Care & Control authority for Burien, C.A.R.E.S. is obligated to enforce the city's Animal Control code (Title 6), which includes issuing civil fines to the owners of animals in violation of that code.  While we always want to get your dog home to you as soon as possible, by law you are required to pay all civil fines and shelter fees before your dog can be released to you.

Common examples of Title 6 violations for which C.A.R.E.S. issues fines include dogs running loose and/or trespassing, unlicensed animals, and leash law violations.  City fines that must be paid at the time of redemption will vary depending on the status of the animal and the nature of the infraction(s).  Shelter fees that must be paid at the time of redemption may include daily kenneling costs, veterinary expenses, and administrative fees. 

If your dog is picked up running loose by Animal Control, but he/she has their valid Burien pet license on them and the officer is able to contact you, your dog gets one free ride home with no fines or shelter fees!

So make sure your dog/cat has a valid Burien pet license and your registered contact information is current (contact Burien City Hall to update your pet licensing contact information).  The less time your pooch spends at the shelter while we try to locate you, the less stressful it will be for them, and the less expensive it will be for you!