Finding Stray Animals

Carver Scott Humane Society does not typically accept stray dogs and cats into our foster-based rescue. Minnesota statute requires a mandatory stray hold of at least 5 regular business days at a licensed impound facility unless special arrangements have been made. We do prioritize pulling animals from local impounds after their stray hold is completed, and have working relationships with the following organizations: 4Paws (Shakopee), Critter Gitter (Jordan), Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, and Animal Humane Society (Golden Valley). If you do find a friendly stray, please refer to the steps below.

I Found a Cat!

In the past, the common response to finding a stray cat was to scoop her up and rush her to the nearest shelter. Updated practices suggest that removing a stray cat from her neighborhood might not always be the best choice. Please refer to the following checklist if you’ve found a friendly stray cat to help keep kitty out of a shelter (borrowed from Alley Cat Allies):

  • Does she have a tag or microchip? A veterinary clinic can check to see if the cat has a microchip. If she does, the veterinarian can call the microchip registry to let them know this kitty has been found and will attempt to contact her caregiver to reunite them. If she has a collar, call any numbers on the tag—which might lead you to her guardian.

  • Call local shelters. Guardians may call shelters and pounds when looking for a lost cat, and shelters sometimes keep lists to match inquiries. Check the shelter’s website for a lost and found page.

  • We strongly discourage taking the cat to a shelter. If you’re unable to temporarily foster the kitty while you look for her family, it’s always better to leave her outside. It’s in her best interest to stay outdoors versus going to the shelter; more than 60% of cats who are lost go home on their own. Leaving her outside really is protecting her.

  • Check your local paper’s lost and found ads, in print and online. Also check Craigslist, and national listings on and Lost Cats MN is another helpful local resource.

  • Spread the word! Place your own ads. Post flyers near where you found the cat. Describe the cat’s color, fur length, where she was found, and a photo. Include your contact info.

  • Be wary of dishonest callers. Ask callers to describe the cat in-depth and provide a reference such as a veterinarian.

  • If you don’t end up finding her home, she might just be a very friendly stray. If you want to try to find her a home, follow these adoption tips.

I Found a Dog!

(Taken from Lost Dogs Minnesota). If you find an approachable and friendly dog and decide to help, you can either hold on to them while you search for the dog’s owner or you can surrender it to the local animal control in your community. Most animal control facilities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area partner with rescues to re-home dogs after their 5 day stray hold is up.

  • Contact your local animal shelter or animal control office first. This will give you an opportunity to let the appropriate agency know that you have the dog and to provide a description to them, in case the family contacts them.

  • Have the dog scanned for a microchip at your local veterinarian. This quick ID check is a free service and could help you find the owners right away.

  • We highly recommend filling out a found dog report with Lost Dogs Minnesota. Once you complete the form, they will post the provided information to their Facebook page. This is a free service with a large outreach network.

  • Check your local paper’s lost and found ads, in print and online. Also check Craigslist, and national listings on and Anypet. One newer resource for connecting with neighbors is the Nextdoor app. Basic information about the found dog can be posted for local neighbors to review.

  • Re-home the found dog yourself utilizing these excellent guidelines developed by Best Friends.