Lee County Ordinance requires finders to surrender stray animals within 24 hours to Lee County Domestic Animal Services so they may be reunited with their rightful owners. Failure to do so could result in fines and citations up to $500 and possible civil and criminal theft charges since animals are considered property.
Animal Services uploads photos of all incoming stray animals so that owners can check the agency's Web site daily. Animal Services also recommends visiting the shelter to identify and reclaim missing pets.
While Craigslist, Facebook and other social media are great tools for advertising missing and found pets, animals need to be brought to their local stray animal control shelter so pets can be reunited with their owners.
"In recent months we have experienced an alarming number of residents who find pets but never bring them to shelters. It is imperative the found pet is scanned for a microchip and matched to any missing pet reports filed by an owner," Animal Services Director Donna Ward said.
If interested, finders may complete an adoption application for the pet and will be contacted if it is not reclaimed by its owner.
Animal Services strongly urges pet owners to have their pet microchipped. Collars and tags can be easily removed whereas microchips are permanent and prove rightful ownership.
For information about the ordinance, how to reclaim lost and missing pets or microchip clinics, log onto: www.leelostpets.com.