Rochester Animal Services advises holding lost dogs, if possible, ahead of the Fourth

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — With the Independence Day holiday coming up, Rochester Animal Services says the best way to reunite a dog who has run off with their owner isn’t to bring the dog to a shelter.

Instead, Animal Services suggests keeping dogs in the neighborhood they were found in.

It pointed to a study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science that found 70% of lost dogs are found less than a mile from their homes and 42% are found less than 400 feet from their homes.

Animal Services Director Chris Fitzgerald said those who can hold the dog for at least 48 hours will give the dog a much better chance to reunite with their families.

It suggests the following steps if you find a lost dog:

  • Visit the City’s Found A Pet page at and review the Found Pet Resource Packet.
  • File a found report with Rochester Animal Services on that web page, and go to any vet, NSC Office, City R-Center and several Pet Supplies Plus locations to get the dog scanned for a microchip. Contact the owner if the dog has a registered chip, or is wearing identification on their collar.
  • Post the dog’s picture and where they were found to Facebook lost and found pets groups in your area, Nextdoor, Craigslist and other social media platforms.
  • Post found dog signs in the immediate area where the dog was found.
  • Those who cannot hold the dog safely in their home can ask neighbors to temporarily house the dog to give the owners a chance to come find them.