Lost and found

Collect your lost pet from 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.

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 are two options for personal identification.

  • Option 1 – Pension card, along with 2 current bills such as electricity, phone etc, or a Statutory Declaration witnessed by a police officer or Justice of the Peace.
  • A sample set of IDs without photo
    Proof of identity without photo IDs
  • Option 2 – Statutory Declaration witnessed by a police officer or Justice of the Peace.
  • Statutory declaration by a police officer or Justice of the Peace
    Alternative proof of personal identity when without photo ID documents

    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);
    • Council animal registration number or documentation;
    • Vet bills/vaccination history
    • 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.

    In the state of Victoria, various fees are collected on the councils’ behalf. In some cases, additional services are to be paid for. Some possible fees are as followings:

    • 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.
    • Some Fees can increase daily based on the length of stay at The Lost Dogs’ Home.

    We are unable to offer payment plans or taking over the phone. Acceptable forms of payments including:

    • Either cash or EFT (debit or credit card, including American Express)
    • If you are paying on behalf of the owner, you must have the payment authority (see attached, if using the owner’s credit card)

    If you have any further questions or your circumstances mean that you are unable to meet the above criteria, please call us on 03 9329 2755, so we are able to help find a solution.

    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.