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Los Angeles Proposes “Finders Keepers” Bill Regarding Lost Pets

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on May 30, 2017

With Los Angeles looking to become a no-kill city by the end of this year, Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette has proposed a plan to keep lost pets out of the shelters and from taking up needed space. On the surface, this sounds like a positive, but many pet owners are very concerned with the idea. Essentially, anyone that finds an animal in Los Angeles is encouraged to keep it and foster it for a month. Finders are asked to notify shelters they have the pet or send a photo of the animal they find.

As you can imagine, this is deeply concerning. Now, if someone loses a pet, they simply contact the local shelters in the area and wait for their beloved family member to appear. With this proposal, however, no such thing is possible. There are no basic background checks done on the individuals that find animals, so anyone could have access to your lost pet. Since owners are in liable for any costs incurred with injury (like a dog bite) regarding their pets or any veterinary bills needed, it’s concerning to think that someone may have your family member for a month and you’re still financially responsible for everything that happens. In Barnette’s proposal, the finders are required to seek veterinary care if the animal needs it at their own expense – the shelters will not help pay.

Although it sounds scary to have your dog or cat living with a stranger for up to one month, the city does require that the finder take the dog to be scanned for a microchip and to relinquish the animal if the owners appear. Finders are required to post flyers about the animal they’ve found, pay any expenses associated with injury to the animal while in the finder’s care and they are required to keep the animal or give it to the shelter after the 30-35 day period. In other words, it’s becoming very expensive and even a liability to be a Good Samaritan when trying to help a lost pet. You can read Barnette’s full proposal here by scrolling down to item 6A.

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