Our follow-up to our blog To Hold or Not To Hold – Is it the law? – That is our question
The topic generated a great discussion on our Facebook page. It inspired one of our fans to write an email to the Department of Agriculture. Copy of her email:
“Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what the legal responsibility is if one finds a lost dog. I have heard you have to do our due diligence in finding the owners before keeping it as a pet or finding it a good home. Specifically, if the dog has a microchip, does the vet or animal control who reads the microchip legally bound to keep the dog while the owners are contacted. Can the finder of the dog, keep it until the owners are contacted. I searched through legislation and your website and could not find information on this. If you can cite any laws or regulations, that would be great. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.”
The response to her email:
“Lost” or stray dogs should be turned over to Animal Control. The Illinois Animal Control Act requires them to scan for a microchip and search for any other identification and then notify the owner. Once the dog is identified, the animal control is then required to allow the owner 7 days to pick up the dog. Keep in mind that people who lose their pet will check with animal control to see if it has been picked up or turned in. If you keep the dog, the owner may never be reunited with their pet.
Mark J. Ernst, D.V.M.
State Veterinarian / Bureau Chief
Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare
Illinois Department of Agriculture
The response to our fan’s email really didn’t answer the question. We would still like to see the law in writing.