stray dog on street

We pick up and help with many types of lost, stray, or abandoned animals. Call (608) 255-2345 and ask for Animal Services if you find:

  • A stray dog, cat, or other domestic animal
  • An exotic pet
  • Livestock

We work hard to find the owner of lost or stray animals, and will return them to their owner if possible. If we can't find the owner, we take the animal to the Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) until the owner comes to pick it up.

We have microchip scanners, but can't always find the chip if it has been dislodged, or sometimes find the chip but it is no longer active or has out-of-date owner contact information. Making sure your pet is licensed and wearing their collar and tags will help shorten the time it is separated from you and avoids the cost of picking it up from DCHS.

Tips if You Find a Stray Pet

  • Call us to report loose dogs or cats.
  • It helps if you can confine the animal in a garage or fenced-in backyard so it won't run away before we get there. Be careful so you don't get bitten.
  • If you can do so safely, check to see if the animal is wearing a tag with a name and phone number, which can help you get them back home without having to call us.
    • If the animal is wearing a City of Madison dog license tag, you can call the City Treasurer at (608) 266-4771, for owner information. This can only be done during business hours.
  • Pet owners are often out looking for their lost pet. If it is a dog, the owner may more easily see it if you put it on leash and walk around your neighborhood, or stay out in your front yard if they happen to drive by.
  • If you find a dog or cat, post the information on a neighborhood app like NextDoor or in the lost and found pets section on Craigslist. Make sure you are vague enough in your description that you can verify anyone who responds is the real owner by asking detailed questions (do not post a picture of the animal).
  • Call in the pet’s location and your phone number to us and to the Humane Society. Keep in mind that if you call us after 4:30pm we may not be able to get there until the next morning.
  • Most lost dogs can be quickly returned to their owners by following the steps above. If possible, try to hold onto the animal for a few hours to see if an owner comes forward. This can prevent the animal from going through the stress and health risk of being transported to the Humane Society.

Stray Cats

We respond to hundreds of calls about cats each year. Any stray cat that we pick up is taken to the Dane County Humane Society if an owner is unable to be located. Live traps can be provided for cats that are feral, fearful or difficult to safely capture. If you would like to request a live trap, please call Dispatch at (608) 255-2345 and ask for Animal Services. If you have several cats that you are trying to capture, or are interested in getting a colony of cats spayed, neutered and vaccinated, please see the links below.


  • Non Emergency Dispatch(608) 255-2345
    For a current situation, like a dog you want picked up, a stray dog or cat currently running loose in your neighborhood, or other situations happening right now.
  • Animal Services Office and Voice Mail – (608) 267-1989
    For assistance and a resolution to situations that have already occurred or that are happening repeatedly. Examples: A neighbor's dog or cat that keeps coming into your yard to poop, or a stray cat that you see several times a week but can’t catch.
  • Dane County Humane Society – (608) 838-0413 (ext 0)
    To report an animal that you have found or search for an animal you have lost.