Pet Tips

HELP A LOST PET GET BACK HOME - Within first 24 hours

Bernalillo County Residents:

To report a stray animal, running at large, in Bernalillo County, call Bernco dispatch at 505-468-PETS (505-468-7387).
If you have picked up a stray or lost animal in Bernalillo County, report the find within 24 hours, to Bernalillo County Animal Care Services at 314-0280, or email:
Email is better, as it will provide you with a record of notification to the county.

Provide the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • A statement of the circumstances in which you obtained the animal
  • The precise location where the animal is confined.

Bernco also provides an online reporting form at their website.

Please look through the lost pets on our website, at the Home Page, and at Never Give Up Hope, and also on our FB page, to see if EMPA shows it as a lost pet.

If the animal does not have any form of visible ID on a collar, tag, or a tattoo, and if you want to find the owner, you can take the stray animal to a vet to be scanned for a microchip. See the Resources page for information on who performs this service.

Or, you can call Bernalillo County Animal Care Services to ask an animal control officer to come to your place to scan the animal for a chip. Phone number is 314-0280. Response time from the county varies for an animal scan, and may take up to 24 hours, because emergencies take priority.

Bernalillo County Animal Services would prefer not to impound the animal, as it avoids putting an animal through the stress of a shelter.

If the animal has a microchip, then the county may try to contact the chip manufacturer at that time, to determine the owner. If the person who finds a dog notifies county animal care services, and if the county doesn't need to demand surrender of the animal, then the person who found the animal can keep the animal while they try to locate the owner. If there is no chip, then the county will work with you, if you want to retain the animal while you try to find the owner.

Be Aware: When you take an animal to a veterinary clinic, ask if they have a universal scanner, which will scan chips from all the manufacturers. Be sure that you tell the vet tech to perform a full-body scan, because chips do migrate. If a microchip is found, and if the owner can be located, you are done.

If they scan and a chip is not detected, you can do ANY of the following:

  • Find a veterinarian who has a universal scanner.
  • Ask the county to come to your place to scan, or
  • Take the animal to AACC (Albuquerque Animal Care Center) on Lomas for a scan. They can scan for all chips. Be Aware: If you take an animal to AACC, and if the animal has a chip, you will be required to surrender the animal.

Writing a "Found" Ad

The Albuquerque Journal will run a free "found" ad for one week. The Mt. View Telegraph will run one free "found" ad in their Thursday edition.

Please Don't Let Your "Found" Ad Be a Magnet for Thieves!

After a Pet Alert member unwittingly released a found dog to a couple of thieves, the member and I have written some precautions based on that terrible experience. We hope these suggestions will be of value in assuring that a pet is only returned to its rightful owner.

  • DO NOT include the pet's picture in a "found" ad.
  • DO NOT provide a complete description of the pet. For example, omit whether a male or female, and at least one unique characteristic.
  • DO NOT say that the animal does not have a microchip
  • DO NOT allow a child to answer any inquiries about the found animal, and especially, not to reveal any information about its physical description.
  • DO NOT release a pet dog or cat until you have read the Do's.

All of the Following Precautions May Not be Necessary, but Please Read, So that You Are Prepared for the Unexpected

  • DO designate only one adult, if possible, to answer any inquiries about the found pet. Stress the importance to children that they are only to take a phone number from a caller, so that an adult can return the call.
  • DO require that the caller provide the description of the pet, without any prompting from you. Con artists know how to weasel information.
  • DO decide beforehand exactly what particular characteristic(s) of the pet a person must describe to claim the animal.
  • DO tell a caller beforehand that you will require proof of ownership, such as a rabies certificate, which has the name of owner and the description of the animal, or veterinary papers, or a clearly distinct picture of the animal. After that explanation, you may not hear from the caller again. Retain the Caller ID on your phone for any person planning to come see the pet.
  • DO ask to see a driver's license or a vehicle registration which will confirm the owner's identity.
  • DO keep the pet out of sight when someone comes to claim it, until you feel confident that this person is the rightful owner. Look for signs that the pet does, or does not, recognize his owner.
  • DO request to write down the information from the driver's license or registration-DL number, or vehicle registration/ license number, name, address, and ask for a current phone number.
  • DO realize that a citizen can refuse to give you this information.
  • DO call for assistance from a police officer, sheriff's deputy, or an animal control officer, if, for any reason at all, you feel uncomfortable about the person as the pet's rightful owner, or his refusal to furnish the requested information.

Finally, Protect a Pet From an Uncertain Fate

Never, ever, put an ad anywhere, offering an animal for "free" Any token amount listed is better than for "free".

Be Aware: The fate of a pet given away may be one of the following: If submissive, it may be sold to a medical lab. If aggressive, it may be used as bait for fighting. Puppies, kittens, and bunnies may meet other horrible fates.

Information on County and City Ordinances

Bernalillo County Ordinance:
(Visit Website and click on Animal Care, and then Animal Care Ordinance, Article III, Sec. 6-38. "Retention of strays or owner-surrendered animals.")

Sec. 6-38. Retention of strays or owner-surrendered animals No person shall, without the knowledge and consent of the owner, hold or retain possession of any animal for more than 24 hours without first reporting the possession of the animal to the Animal Care Services Department. The report shall contain the person's name and address, a true and complete statement of the circumstances under which he took up the animal, and the precise location where the animal is confined. No person having such an animal in his possession shall refuse to immediately surrender the animal to an animal care services officer upon demand. Duly incorporated humane societies or the rescue arms of accredited dog and cat clubs or horse organizations capable of providing proper confinement, shelter, and care for stray, lost or owner-surrendered animals shall be allowed to assume the care of such animals. The owner of a stray animal wearing a rabies tag or other form of identification shall be notified that the animal has been impounded. If the owner is not located within three working days the society may assume responsibility for finding the animal a new home.

Albuquerque's HEART Ordinance:
(Visit Website and click on Rules and Tools>Click on Heart Ordinance Information> Click on Read the Heart Ordinance>Scroll down to Part 5, Lost and Found animals )


(A) Lost Companion Animal.

(1) Owners who lose a Companion Animal shall contact AACC and report the loss within 24 hours.

(2) The Owner shall provide to AACC the Owner’s name, address, telephone number, a description of the Companion Animal together with any identification information such as an affixed License or Microchip, a photograph if possible, the date of the loss, and the last known location of the Companion Animal prior to the loss.

(B) Found Companion Animal.

(1) Any Person who finds a Stray Companion Animal may possess and temporarily care for such Companion Animal pursuant to the terms of this article.

(2) The provisions of this article apply equally to both the Finder and the Owner.

(3) The Finder may keep such Companion Animal at the Household of the Finder and need not deliver the Animal to AACC so long as the requirements of this section are met.

(4) These provisions do not apply if the Companion Animal is Owned or claimed by any Person known to the Finder and is or may be the subject of a dispute between the Finder and any other Person concerning ownership or Custody of the Companion Animal.

(5) Within 24 hours of the time the Companion Animal is found, the Finder must contact AACC and register as a Finder with AACC.

(6) No Person who does not qualify as a Qualified Adopter shall register or be allowed to register hereunder and such Person must immediately surrender the Found Animal to AACC upon demand of the Mayor.

(7) To register, the Finder shall provide a description of the Companion Animal including, when applicable, any License, Microchip or other identification on the Companion Animal, the time and date when the Animal was found, and the location where the Animal was found.

(8) The Finder shall determine if the Companion Animal is Microchipped by taking the Companion Animal to any Person who can scan and read a Microchip, by calling AACC and requesting an ASO to come to the Household to scan the Animal or by delivering the Animal to AACC so it can be scanned.

(9) If the Companion Animal is Microchipped, the Finder shall provide the Microchip number to AACC.

(10) A registered Finder may exceed Companion Animal number limits while in temporary possession of a Found Companion Animal.

(11) If the Companion Animal is not Licensed or Altered, the Finder does not have to License or Alter said Animal while in temporary possession but shall License or Alter the Companion Animal when and if the Finder becomes the Owner under this section.

(12) If the Finder wishes to own the Found Companion Animal, the Finder shall so notify AACC and said Animal shall become the property of the Finder 10 days from the registration date if no Person Reclaims the Companion Animal.

(13) Within the 10 days, if any Person purports to be the actual Owner of the Companion Animal, such Person shall contact AACC and not the Finder. The Mayor may require Proof of Ownership. If the claimant is in fact the Owner, the Mayor shall order the registered Finder to return the Companion Animal to AACC for Reclaim by the Owner and the Finder shall comply.