Stray Animals at Central Vermont Humane Society

At CVHS, a “Stray Animal” is a domestic, non-feral cat or dog found wandering at large without an owner present (a lost pet). Some stray animals may be found wearing identification. While it is best to attempt to contact an owner directly to avoid a trip to the shelter, stray animals wearing identification still qualify for services at CVHS within the restrictions noted below, as owners are not always immediately reachable.

Persons bringing stray animals to CVHS will not be charged a fee, though donations are always welcome!

If your pet is lost:

  1. Make a poster: Find a decent photo and create a detailed description of your lost pet. Include information about where and when the pet was lost, and if or how to approach the pet if seen. It is very important to include detailed contact information!
  2. Distribute your poster and lost pet information to the following:
    1. CVHS 802-476-3811 x101, or [email protected]
    2. Veterinarians
    3. Your pet’s microchip company
    4. Town Clerk, local law enforcement, and animal control officers
    5. Local radio, news stations, and papers
    6. Neighbors, friends, and telephone poles
    7. Grocery stores, libraries, and other public meeting places
    8. Social media sites such as craigslist, Facebook (the CVHS page, as well as Lost & Found Animals of Vermont’s page) Twitter, Front Porch Forum, and any others that are popular in your area
  3. Follow Up: When you have located your lost pet, please contact everyone above with the good news, and remove your posters! That way we can all continue to focus on finding missing pets.


If you have found a stray animal:

  • Are you interested in keeping the animal in your home while you look for his or her family?
    • Please contact CVHS as soon as possible with a description of the animal and the location where found. We may be able to make a match between the animal you have found and a lost pet that has been reported to us. 802-476-3811 x101, or [email protected]. We also want to see the animal as soon as possible to scan for a microchip that may put us in contact with his or her owner.
  • Are you looking for a stray holding facility for the found animal?
    • Please contact your town’s officials (Animal Control Officer, constable, police department, town clerk, etc.) to determine the location of your town’s stray animal holding facility, or review the chart provided below.
      • CVHS offers all cities and towns in Washington and Orange Counties (and some additional close towns) the opportunity to use CVHS as their stray cat and dog holding facility. All municipalities in Vermont are required to maintain a holding facility for stray pets. Some may choose to contract with local Animal Control Officers, veterinarians, or other rescue groups. CVHS may only accept stray animals from cities and towns with active agreements.
  • Are you interested in knowing what will happen to the stray animal if brought to CVHS?
    • CVHS holds stray animals in a “stray hold” for a minimum of three days per the stray animal holding agreement (unless deemed by a veterinarian to be suffering beyond medical care by—some strays are brought to CVHS immediately following major traumatic injuries such as being hit by a car) but usually at least five days to allow extra time for reuniting with families. During that time, CVHS is searching for the animal’s family, spending time getting to know the animal, performing behavioral evaluations and addressing immediate medical needs. Following the stray hold, most animals are spayed or neutered and placed up for adoption to new homes.
      • CVHS makes euthanasia decisions only for extreme health and/or behavioral issues. Every animal is assessed as an individual, and many stray animals at CVHS will spend much more than three to five days prior to becoming available for adoption while we work to address medical and behavioral needs.
  • Do you need to pick up your stray pet that was brought to CVHS?
    • If your pet was brought to CVHS as a stray animal, you will be responsible for the cash payment of boarding fees upon pickup. You will also need to provide a current rabies certificate and town license, or pay a refundable cash deposit pending completion of those services within a two-week period. Please contact CVHS to discuss requirements prior to picking up your pet. 802-476-3811 x 101. Please bring a collar and leash (dogs) or a carrier (cats) to collect your pet. Microchipping is available at $25 per pet (includes registration).