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North Olmsted, Ohio  44070


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I found a dog ...

can I keep it???

In Ohio dogs are property. You know the dog belongs to someone, even if they abandoned it. You have someone’s property. And having someone else’s property could lead to all kind of trouble. So what should you do? The key here is to be as sure as you possibly can that the dog has been abandoned; that someone is not looking for it. And, importantly, you need to keep records so that should someone turn up later, you can show that the dog was not only lost, it was abandoned. You can show that had this person made even the slightest attempt to find the dog, they would have been led to you.

To do that you need proof that you did your very best to find the owners.


  • Take the dog to a veterinarian and have it checked and scanned for a chip. If negative, have a chip placed and then register that chip. Get receipts from the veterinarian.

  • In Northeast Ohio, there is a Facebook page called “Sam the Parrot”. It is a repository of information on lost and found animals. Put a good, clear photo of the dog on that site with information where it was found and how to contact you. Print out and save the post once it is on the site. Find other Internet sites that deal with lost and found dogs and put the dogs information there. Keep a record of what you posted.

  • Call the police department where you found the dog and ask the dispatcher if any dogs matching the description of the dog have been reported missing. Very carefully note the time, date and dispatcher’s name. Tell the dispatcher that you have the dog and if anyone reports it, they can call you.

  • Do the same with all adjoining cities to the city where the dog was found. Again, write down the time, date and dispatcher’s name for each city.

  • Make some fliers and post them in the area where they are found. Keep one of the posters so you can later show what you did.

  • Buy a short ad in a paper and keep a copy and receipt of that ad.

If you can think of other things that might work, do them, and let me know what other things you did.

Should someone come to later claim ownership of the dog, you will be able to present a long list of hard work you did in an attempt to find the owner. After all your work, it was clear to you, and it should be clear to the court and police, that this dog had been abandoned. The previous owners never tried to find the dog. Because the dog was abandoned, the police and court should agree that it should stay in its better home.


The Ohio Law on Strays