Animals at the Shelter
Claiming Lost Pets
To locate a lost pet, call nearby shelters, rescue groups and your local Animal Control office.
The Society houses stray animals from Albany and Rensselaer counties. Lost pets are held for owners to claim at MHHS for five days if brought in without identification and seven days with identification. After the applicable redemption period has passed, the owner forfeits ownership of the animal and the animal may be adopted to a new home.
If your pet is at the shelter, you will need the following to redeem your pet:
- Proof of current license (dogs only)
- Proof of current rabies vaccination*
- Driver's license or photo ID
- Proof of ownership (veterinary records)
- A way to control your pet (there will be a fee for a leash, collar and/or carrier if you do not have one)
Dog owners may also be required to obtain a release from the clerk in the city or town where the dog was found before the dog can be released.
*If you do not have proof that your pet has a current rabies vaccination, one can be administered by the Society's veterinarian for an additional fee when veterinary staff is available. A current rabies vaccination will be required to obtain a dog license.
Dropping Off Strays
We accept stray animals from Albany and Rensselaer counties. There is no fee for dropping off a stray animal, but a donation is appreciated. You will need photo ID and we will ask for some information about when and where you found the pet. If you bring us a stray animal from another jurisdiction, we will ask you to bring it to the shelter that is responsible for strays in that area. Owners who have lost pets will look to their local shelter. Found pets should be at the shelter nearest where they were found. If you find or spot a dog running loose, call the local police department and/or animal control for assistance.
Please note that we cannot accept feral cats. Here are some tips for determining if a found cat is stray or feral:
Stray cats have been socialized to humans at some point and have somehow lost their home. Stray cats typically (though not always) vocalize and approach for food and attention. A stray cat can be successfully handled in a shelter and placed in an adoptive home. A stray cat is considered owned by you if you have taken responsibility for feeding and sheltering it for a period of 14 days or greater.
Feral cats are not human-social, are fearful of people and prefer to live outdoors in the company of other cats. Feral cats cannot be handled in an animal shelter, as they are fearful of human contact and will injure themselves to avoid it. The stress of being in the shelter and being handled by humans also leads to increased risk of illness for feral cats who are more difficult to treat and vaccinate. This is why shelters often do not accept feral cats. There are local groups that specialize in helping communities with feral cat colonies.
We are not authorized to take in wildlife. Please visit the following sites for information on what to do if you find a wild animal in need of help:
Animal Help Now
Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
NYS Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
The Animal Hospital, Slingerlands