Lost & Found

One important role we play in our community is to provide a safe place to bring lost and stray pets. If your pet is missing, you’ve come to the right place!

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Helping lost pets and reuniting families

If your pet is missing, or if you’ve found a stray pet, AWS is here to help!

We have relationships with area municipalities to act as the impound facility for pets found in their jurisdictions, usually brought in by animal control officers (ACOs). ACOs have 24/7 access to AWS so your pet will be safe indoors once dropped off. AWS staff arrive by 8 am and check for stray pets first thing. Dogs are held for 6 days, while cats are only held for 48 hours, as required by state law. After their hold period, if they have not been claimed, pets are prepared to go up for adoption.

Found a Pet?

If you have found a pet that you think is lost or stray, please call us at (207) 985-3244. We also encourage you to contact your local animal control officer.

Lost your Pet?

If your pet has gone missing, begin by filling out this form.

Once you click submit, the information will be sent to us right away and we will add your pet’s details to our log of missing animals.

If and when your pet comes into our care, we will call you using the phone number you provide.

Lost Pet Resources

We encourage you to utilize these resources to cast as wide a net as possible. Our community is wonderful at sharing and helping lost pets find their way home.

You can reach your local ACO through your town’s non-emergency police phone number or by looking up the number here.

  • Submit a report to Maine Lost Dog Recovery or Maine Lost Cat Recovery on Facebook.
  • Share your pet’s photo and information to your community’s local FB groups.
  • Post photos and information on your personal FB and Instagram, or any other social sites you use, and ask friends and followers to share your post.

Maine Lost Dog Recovery and other online sites will provide templates to make a poster. If not, making one at home is easy. List the pet’s name in large letters and include the location lost and a good quality photo that shows as much of your pet as possible. Be sure to include a phone number for people to reach you directly with sightings or information.

Some microchips companies offer resources to help spread the word about lost pets.

Investigate EVERY nook and cranny. Don’t assume that your pet would never crawl into a tiny space. Look behind, under, and inside washing machines, clothes dryers, stoves, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Look behind water heaters, in boxes, under furniture, under beds, in closets, in cabinets, in shelves and bookcases, in drain pipes, in sewer drains, in culvert pipes, under vehicles, in crawl spaces under the house, inside sheds and barns, etc. In the case of cats, also look in attic crawl spaces, drop ceilings, on the roof, in roof gutters, and up in trees.

Post flyers. Make your own or use the posters generated by Maine Lost Dog Recovery/Maine Lost Cat Recovery.

Gather clues. Ask everybody if they’ve seen or heard anything unusual in the neighborhood. This could include strange vehicles, work crews, people or activities.

Broadcast familiar noises. Have all of your family members call the pet’s name. Make any other noise that your pet might recognize. If your pet has a favorite “squeaky toy” bring it along and use it. Carry a box of your pet’s favorite treats and rattle it loudly while calling your pet’s name.

Use familiar smells. Place strong-scented articles outside your home to attract your pet. Place some of your dirty clothes outdoors. It can also help to put out some smelly food such as tuna or warm chicken. Be sure to protect the food if you can, so that other animals don’t eat it.

Lure them home with familiar items. Place a dog or cat’s bedding and favorite toys outside. For cats, put their litter box outside as well.

Lure them home with familiar friends. In warm weather, crate other family pets and place them outside in a safe and secure area. Make sure they have plenty of water and shade. Use common sense if it’s dangerously hot.

Use a dog whistle to get your pet’s attention. The high-pitched sound from these whistles can carry up to a mile or more. Cats are attracted to this sound as well. It’s also important to stop regularly, be quiet, and listen for your pet to make a noise in reply.

Illuminate hiding spots. Bring a flashlight (even during daylight hours) for checking in dark spaces. A frightened or injured pet will hide in dark spaces and may not come to you. Use your flashlight for checking under houses and other dark spots. Also check storage sheds, garages, dumpsters, trash cans, and under cars. Don’t forget to look in trees for cats.

Try to trap them. AWS can loan out humane traps to individuals trying to lure their pet home. This shouldn’t be used as a first resort, but only after the above suggestions have been tried and if there have been sightings.

Find out if your pet has been killed on the road. This is a sad but necessary task. The road crews for your local and state department of transportation (DOT) usually pick up dead animals from the roadside and city streets. In some cases, Animal Control does this as well. Call around and find out which agencies handle this service in your area.

Don’t give up. Pets have been known to find their way back home after being lost for several months.

dog looks at camera, held by a woman back to

Claiming your pet

We’re glad we were able to care for your pet while it was missing. We love happy reunions. We do not charge a fee to claim your pet, though donations are always welcomed. Some towns we contract with for animal control services charge impound fees, which we may collect at time of claim and send to your town, or can be paid at your city/town hall prior to picking up your pet at AWS.

Animal Control Officers

Animal Control Officers (ACOs) are trained professionals employed by a local municipality (usually the police department) to handle all calls related to stray, homeless or lost pets.

Some ACOs are also sworn police officers, and some investigate animal cruelty and neglect cases in their jurisdictions.

An extra set of eyes in the community

ACOs are always on the look out for missing pets, so it’s important to report your missing pet to your local ACOs.

We work closely with Animal Control Officers

AWS has a strong relationship with the ACOs in our local communities, and we act as the impound facility for pets found by ACOs. ACOs have 24/7 access to AWS so that any pets they find can have safe and comfortable accommodations.

Helping to reunify pets with their people

Once dropped off at AWS, ACOs will provide AWS with information about where the pet was found and assist with reunification.


For more information, please contact Our Animal Care Team via email or telephone at (207) 985-3244.

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Jackie the guinea pig and his friend Chelsea want you to know that they're Team #awsdog! Just like guinea pigs, dogs love to cuddle and therefore, they deserve the crown. However, those pesky cats remain ahead of the competition! Help Team #awsdog win by donating now! Follow our LinkTree right to the Giving Tuesday page. Woof!
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Team #awsdog is kicking off Giving Tuesday with a little love from Tahoe and his human friend, Sam. When it comes to the question 'which pet is the Coziest Companion: Cats or Canines?', Tahoe and Sam are here to say Team #awsdog all the way!!

If you feel the same, donate to the cause and help canines everywhere win the day!
The cats and dogs at AWS are ready for another friendly competition this Giving Tuesday on November, 28! Who will win?This year's competition centers around which species is the Coziest Companion: Cats or Canines? Throughout the day on Giving Tuesday, follow along on our social media pages as the pets and people of AWS try to convince you which of their favorite species deserves your support as the coziest, cuddliest animal. 

Remember, the team who raises the most funds on Tuesday will be crowned this year’s Giving Tuesday winner. Most importantly, all funds raised in this friendly competition support pet care here at AWS. We look forward to seeing which pet comes out on top as the coziest companion! 

(psst! You can help your favorite team get ahead by donating early on our website. Just follow the link tree in our profile to the Giving Tuesday page!)