Stray Animals

stray dog on street

We pick up and help lost, stray, and 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:

  • We try to scan them for a microchip.
  • We 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).

Make sure your pet wears an ID and license tag. This helps shorten the time it is separated from you and avoids the cost of picking it up at the Humane Society.

Tips if You Find a Stray Pet

  • Call (608) 255-2345 and ask for Animal Services.
  • Keep the animal in a garage or fenced-in yard so it won't run away before we get there. Be careful so you don't get bitten.
  • Safely check for a tag with a name and phone number and call the owner.
    • If it has a City of Madison dog license tag, call the City Treasurer at (608) 266-4771 for owner information. They are open Monday - Friday from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.
  • Pet owners are often out looking for their lost pet. Put it on a leash and walk around your neighborhood or sit in your front yard.
  • Post the information on a listserv like nextdoor or craigslist. Make the description vague and don’t include a picture. Ask detailed questions to verify it is their pet when people respond.
  • 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 pets 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 prevents the stress and health risk of being taken to the Humane Society.

Stray Cats

We respond to hundreds of calls about stray cats each year.  If we can’t find the owner, we take stray cats to the Dane County Humane Society. We can give you a live trap to capture feral, fearful, or hard to capture cats. Call Dispatch at (608) 255-2345 and ask for Animal Services to get a trap.

To capture several cats, or get a colony of cats spayed, neutered, and vaccinated, contact:


  • Non Emergency Dispatch(608) 255-2345
    For a current situation (ex: a stray dog or cat running loose in your neighborhood, an animal left in a vehicle, injured wildlife)
  • Animal Services Office and Voice Mail – (608) 267-1989
    For help with situations that have already occurred or that are happening repeatedly (ex: neighbor’s pet pooping in your yard, stray cat you can’t catch)
  • Dane County Humane Society – (608) 838-0413 (ext 0)
    To report an animal you found, or search for an animal you have lost
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