HAVE YOU FOUND A GOLDEN RETRIEVER OR OTHER DOG? If you find a dog and cannot locate its owner, you must go through appropriate legal steps to try and find the owner before you can surrender the dog to Adopt a Golden Knoxville or any other rescue, re-home it, or keep it yourself.

What to Do If a Person Finds a Dog

1. Check the dog for tags (owner, rabies) which would provide information to locate the owner. If no tags are found, contact the animal shelter in the city or county where the dog was found. Most shelters will ask you to bring the dog to the shelter to check for a microchip and fill out “found dog” paperwork. For Knox County, call Young-Williams Animal Center at 865.215.6599 or Knoxville County Dispatch at 865.215.2444 for assistance. In Blount County, contact the Blount County Animal Center at 865.980.6244. Vet offices also can scan for a microchip.

2. If the dog is found when the shelter or vet is not open, secure the dog in a safe place with food and water until the shelter or vet opens. Since you do not know if the dog is up-to-date on vaccines or disease-free, keep the dog separate from your animals.

3. If the dog is not microchip​p​ed and/or if it has not been reported as lost to the shelter, the shelter staff will advise you how long the dog must be on stray hold before it can be kept, re-homed or surrendered to a rescue such as Adopt a Golden Knoxville (AGK). The shelter will keep the dog for the stray hold period; however, sometimes, the shelter will allow the finder to foster the dog for the stray hold period if they agree to make the dog available to anyone who believes it is their pet.

4. If the dog has not been claimed by the owner by the end of the stray hold period, the shelter will put it up for adoption or find a rescue to take it. If you have fostered the dog during the stray hold, you can keep the dog, re-home it, or surrender it to a rescue. In the case of a golden retriever that you wish to surrender to AGK, call 865.940.0688 or email surrender@adoptagoldenknoxville.org.

5. Call your local newspaper to run a “found” dog ad – most papers will run these ads for free.

6. Put up fliers at main intersections within five miles of found location and take fliers to area vet and pet ER offices. Require anyone who claims the dog to provide proof that it belongs to them.

7. Email everyone you know and post information on Facebook and Craigslist Lost & Found.