Lost In Care Animal Located and Returned Procedure


This process pertains to when an animal has been lost from Shelter or Foster care and subsequently located by any means including:


    • The animal has come home by itself
    • The animal has been located through the pound or an agency
    • The animal has been found privately through vets, notices, door knocking etc.
    • The animal has been located via the shelter itself


An exception would be when the animal has been found deceased.  This would then be considered Deceased (see below).

NOTE: this process may vary depending on your local protocols and preferences. 

  1. Navigate to the Edit Animal Details page of the lost animal record in question.
    • Status: click on the down arrow and select the status Returned Home if located by a person or agency other than the Shelter or if the animal has come home by itself, or Matched if the Shelter was directly involved in locating the animal in an off-site location such as a pound or found record.
    • N.B.: If the animal comes into the shelter via the ambulance or as a stray WITHOUT being matched externally first, then skip the next two steps and go directly to # 2.
    • General Animal Notes: Select the category relevant to Lost and Found notes. Document what occurred and save the notes. It will automatically record the user, date and time the note was entered. 
    • Click Update Details.
  2. Return to the Welcome/Search page and Search for surrendering person (i.e. the person who “found” this animal and returned it to us.
    • If not found, click on the Create a New Entry
    • Fill in the relevant blanks on the Add New Person Mandatory fields: first name, last name, residential address, mailing address if different than residential, telephone number, and gender. Depending on your organization you may be required to confirm identification.
    • Click Update Details.
  3. If the animal was located via Shelter staff/volunteers, then from the Welcome/Search page find the drop down list Go to Council and select your shelter or search for it using the search fields provided. Click
  4. Click on the Scroll To Bottom link and click on the Stray Or Agency Incoming (as appropriate)
    • Because we know the animal is already in the system you can click on the Stray - Existing Animal link.
    • On the Animal Search page enter the Animal ID in the Go To Animal ID field. Click View.
  5. Complete the following:
    • Status: click on the down arrow and select Awaiting Sort or whatever the status was prior to the animal’s escape. There is no need to issue new tags unless the animal has lost them during its absence.
    • Shelter Location: Enter the area of the shelter the animal is now occupying, including kennel number if known.
    • General Animal Notes: Use this text box to record information such as the circumstances of the animal’s return to care and anything else of note, such as any injuries sustained or the general condition of the pet on re-entry.
    • Click Update Details. A Stray Receipt should be created but needs only to be printed if someone other than RSPCA staff or volunteers recovered the animal.
  1. THERE IS NO NEED FOR THESE ANIMALS TO DO OR REDO STRAY TIME. They simply pick up exactly where they left off in their journey through the shelter process. The only reason they are entered as strays is to return them to an In Care status while preserving their history. 

NOTE: if the animal was lost from foster care, and is continuing to be fostered by the same person, they will need to be re-fostered to document their official return to foster care.


If the animal was found deceased, access the animal record and change the status to Deceased.


  • Navigate to the Edit Animal Details page of the animal record in question.
    1. Status: in the Animal Menu on the right hand side of the page, find the link entitled Animal Deceased. Click this link and the status will automatically update to
    2. General Animal Notes: Document what occurred and save your note.
    3. Click Update Details.
  • On the main screen displaying the List All Lost Entries page, click on the here link to go back to the Lost menu page.
  • Click on the Previous Possible Match link.
  • Release all other possible matches for the returned animal.
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