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Legal Steps To Take When You Find A Stray!

Think Lost Not Stray!

Thank you for helping this animal! I’m sure they are grateful that you found them in their time of need. 


I would strongly encourage you to follow the legal protocols for these situations. 


NC State Law states that pets are property, by keeping this animal or finding it a new home, you are stealing someone's property. 


The animal MUST be taken to the shelter and be placed on a legal 72 hour stray hold.


This does not mean that you will necessarily have to leave the animal at the shelter. Once the shelter gets the information they need, they may give you the option to foster the animal at your home. 


Once the 72 hours is up, you can go back to the shelter to either turn that animal in or go through the adoption process to make the animal legally yours so you can keep them or rehome them if you want! 


Without the 72 hour hold and legal adoption paperwork the animal will NEVER be legally yours or the person that you rehome the animal to no matter how long you or they have the animal. 


What happens if you do not go through the legal steps?


Not following these rules could result in this animal being confiscated later, and in some instances you can be charged with a Class I Felony for Larceny. 


Some municipalities have specific found animal ordinances IN ADDITION TO NC law. If there is an ordinance and you did not take the legal steps to report a found animal you can be charged with a misdemeanor. 


You can view North Carolina’s statute on these rules below. Your county or municipality may have more laws in addition to NC state laws.


The law only references shelters doing the stray hold, and does not state that individuals can implement one themselves! 


I understand that it can be extremely hard to see stray animals especially if they are in horrible conditions, but please remember there can be many reasons for this. By following the legal steps the animal can have a happy ending by finding its way back home or bringing to justice the individuals who neglected it.

Nobody Claims The Stray What Now?

Below are so FAQ that we get after the stay hold is up.

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