Please note: these animals are not available for adoption.

If you believe your animal is here, please email >> to coordinate identification.


Finding and Claiming Lost Pets

To locate a lost pet, call nearby shelters, rescue groups and your local Animal Control office. Many pets are reunited through local lost pet groups on Facebook, so share your lost pet widely online in your local area as well.

If you think that we may have your lost pet, please provide us with the date, approximate time and location your pet went missing, as well as photos of your pet and a description of any distinguishing markings. We encourage you to come visit us in person during our hours of operation to identify your pet, or to email >> with as much information about your pet as you are able to provide.

It is important that you reach out to us right away because unclaimed pets become the property of The Society once the legal redemption period has ended, and may be adopted out to a new owner accordingly.

The Society houses stray animals for select municipalities in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties. Lost dogs are held for owners to claim at MHHS for five days if brought in without identification and seven days with identification. Lost cats are held for owners to claim at MHHS for three days if brought in without identification and five days with identification. After the applicable redemption period has passed, the owner forfeits ownership of the animal per New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, and you will no longer be able to redeem the pet.

If your pet is at the shelter, you will need the following to redeem your pet:

  • Proof of release from the clerk of the city or town where the pet was found (if seized by animal control)
  • Proof of current license (dogs only)
  • Proof of current rabies vaccination*
  • Unexpired driver's license or other valid federal or state issued photo ID
  • Proof of ownership (dog license, registered microchip, veterinary records combined with photos, proof of adoption or purchase combined with photos)
    • If you are redeeming on behalf of an absentee owner, we require proof that you are legally designated to do so (Power of Attorney or Executorship)
  • A fixed length dog leash or secure cat carrier (both are available for a fee if you do not provide your own)

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 along with a microchip 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

If you find a stray animal, please call your local Animal Control Officer or the non-emergency police department phone number. We can only accept stray animals from select municipalities in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties. If you find a stray animal in a municipality with which we do not work, we cannot accept said stray animal. Owners who have lost pets often 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, please call your local non-emergency police department phone number 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

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

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 accept 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