Lost and found

Collecting your lost pet from our shelters

The Home provides exceptional care and quality vet services to lost and stray pets on behalf of the local government bodies. While aspired to return your pets quickly, we are obligated to follow councils’ laws and relevant regulations.

The shelters may release your pet if the following conditions are met:

  • You can prove whom you say you are; and
  • You can verify the ownership of the animal; and
  • The dog or cat is microchipped; and
  • The animal is desexed, as per councils’ requirements; and
  • The animal is registered with council; and
  • Applicable fees are paid. Scroll down for payment options.

To avoid disappointment, before visiting shelters and collect your pet, please prepare these items:

  • Proof of identity; and
  • Proof of ownership of the animal; and
  • Proof of council registration; and
  • Payments for relevant fees.

A valid identity enables the next steps. To ensure pets are returned to the rightful owners, we are unable to release them without acceptable forms of proof.

We are only able to accept photo ID such as :

  • Driving license; or
  • Passport; or
  • Proof of age card; and
  • Proof of current address if different from that shown on ID, such as an electricity or phone bill in your name.

A sample set of IDs without photo
Photo IDs as proof of personal identity

In exceptional circumstances, when photo IDs are not available. There is another option for personal identification.

  • Pension card, along with 2 current bills such as electricity, phone etc.
  • A sample set of IDs without photo
    Proof of identity without photo IDs

Pet owners have rights and obligations by law. Given a satisfactory proof of identity, an owner status allows access to reclaim the animal. We are unable to release the pets without satisfactory proof.

We are unable to accept photos or videos as the only proof of ownership. Documents with names of your partner or families do not help establish your ownership status.

Possible evidence of ownership including, but not limited to:

  • A microchip number if in your name (15 digit number); or
  • Council animal registration number or documentation; or
  • Vet bills/vaccination history; or
  • Certificate of sales; or
  • Certificate of ownership from Microchip Registry if signed by previous owner.

Sample articles that can proof animal ownership
Prove animal ownership with any one of these articles

In exceptional circumstances, pet owners may authorise a third party to collect the animal on their behalf.

If you are collecting an animal on the owner’s behalf, please present these documents:

  • Signed permission in writing from the owner of the animal; and
  • A copy of the owner’s photo identification (front and back) and proof of address if different from that on ID;
  • If the owner is paying with their credit card, please bring a payment authority. We are not able to process payments in their absence otherwise. Download a payment authorisation form here.

By law, domestic dogs and cats in the state of Victoria are required to register with their residential councils. We are unable to release pets without current council registrations.

Before visiting our shelters, you can either:

  • Drop into your council offices and register your pet with Customer Service; or
  • Register your pet online if your council has this option; or
  • For some councils, Registration can be completed at The Lost Dogs’ Home (check the list of councils below); or
  • Check at home for proof of registration such as a Council bill or receipt or bank statement showing where payment was made.

Sample articles that can prove current council registration
Prove council registration with any one of these articles

To register your pet, you may need the followings:

  • Desexing Certificate (proof from a vet clinic that your pet has been desexed);
  • Some councils require mandatory desexing for cats and some for both dogs and cats;
  • Or, you may have a Desexing Exemption (for example proof that your dog is registered with Dogs Victoria, or you may have an exemption certificate from your vet).

Please check with your local council before coming into The Lost Dogs’ Home.

The reclaim fee is specific for each animal. In the state of Victoria, some fees are collected on the councils’ behalf. And in some cases, additional services are to be paid for. Some expected fees include:

  • Council Release Fee – this fee is collected on behalf of council to cover the cost of impounding your animal;
  • Council Registration Fee – this fee on behalf of council, if the Home process your council registration on the spot. The service is available for partner councils only;
  • Microchipping Fee – if dogs or cats need to be microchipped;
  • Desexing Fee – if dogs or cats need to be desexed;
  • Other veterinary fees – in cases of illness or injury.

Notes: Some fees are charged on the number of days that the pet has stayed. To avoid unnecessary cost, please consider collecting your pet at your earliest convenience.

Among several different forms of payment we now facilitate Openpay! Acceptable forms of payments include:

  • Either cash or EFT (debit or credit card)
  • If you are paying on behalf of the owner, you must have the payment authority (see attached payment authorisation form, if using the owner’s credit card)
  • Openpay: Openpay allows you to set up a payment plan in order to pay reclaim fees. Customers should set up an account before coming into the Shelter to collect animals.

    If your circumstances mean that you are unable to meet the above criteria, please call us for further assistance, on 03 9329 2755.

Councils listed below have authorised Lost Dogs’ Home is authorised to process pet registrations on their behalf. If your pets reside in these councils, the Home can help register your pets at our shelters.

  • Bayside City Council,
  • Brimbank City Council,
  • Bass Coast Shire Council,
  • Baw Baw Shire Council,
  • City of Greater Bendigo,
  • Cardinia Shire Council,
  • Casey City Council,
  • Darebin City Council,
  • Frankston City Council,
  • City of Greater Dandenong,
  • Hepburn Shire Council
  • Hobsons Bay City Council,
  • Hume City Council,
  • Kingston City Council,
  • Macedon Ranges Shire Council,
  • Maribyrnong City Council,
  • City of Melbourne,
  • Melton City Council,
  • Moonee Valley City Council,
  • Moreland City Council,
  • Mount Alexander Shire,
  • Port Phillip City Council,
  • Surf Coast Shire Council,
  • Wyndham City Council,
  • Yarra City Council.

Download or print our Reclaim lost pets factsheet.