I have lost an animal

Animals picked up stray throughout Milwaukee County are delivered to MADACC for reclaim by county residents and law enforcement officers. If an animal is wearing identification or a microchip is found during scanning, attempts will be made immediately to contact owners. To assist you in your search, MADACC has an online lost-and-found search of animals at the shelter hosted by Petharbor.com which is updated hourly each day.

Click here to search for your lost pet online

You can post a lost or found animal by clicking the Petco Love Lost logo below:

What do I do if my pet is lost?

The first thing to do is call MADACC at 414-649-8640 to let us know that you have lost your pet so that we can take the info and start trying to help you and your animal be reunited.

Then we recommend that you visit MADACC’s shelter at 3839 W. Burnham St. West Milwaukee, WI to check for your animal. The shelter is open for lost pet viewing Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. This is imperative because an animal’s description is subjective, and one person’s description of an animal may not necessarily match yours. We recommend that while your pet is missing you check with the shelter in person every 48 hours or preferably more often.

The shelter receives nearly thirteen thousand animals each year. One person’s description of a German Shepherd mix is going to vary greatly from another’s. While an owner can tell their black cat from any other, MADACC staff may not notice the subtleties that you know on your pet versus other similar cats we may have at the same time. Your pet is unique and special to you and these identifiers may not always be able to be put into words to our staff over the phone or may be interpreted differently by different people. We do not want to risk misidentifying your pet! It is an owner’s responsibility to come into the shelter to look for a lost pet. The front desk staff and dispatchers are not able to advise you that it is or is not here.

Have you moved? Given an animal away? Received your pet with someone else’s identification on? All these situations are everyday occurrences here and result in improper owner identification. Please keep your pet’s microchip and ID tag information current.

Wisconsin State Law requires the following to reclaim your animal from MADACC:

173.23 Disposition of animals.
(1) Claim and return. Except as provided in sub. (4) or s. 173.21 (1), a political subdivision or person contracting under s. 173.15 (1) shall return an animal described in s. 173.13 (1) (a) or 9. to its owner upon the happening of all of the following:
  • (a) The owner claims the animal and provides reasonable evidence of ownership. (This is very important. See information about proof of ownership here or here)
  • (b) If licensure is required by statute or ordinance, the animal is licensed or assurance of licensure by prepayment is given.
  • (c) If vaccination is required by statute or ordinance, the animal is vaccinated or assurance of vaccination by prepayment is given.
  • (d) All charges for custody, care, vaccination and treatment are paid.

You MUST have a valid ID for yourself AND proof of ownership for your animal for MADACC to release the animal to you. Fees are required and many of the fees are collected on behalf of the municipality the animal was found in. MADACC does not have payment plans and all fees are due at the time of reclaim. We accept cash, debit cards and Mastercard, Visa and Discover.

In addition to visiting the shelter…

You should also post flyers within a 1-mile radius of where the pet was last seen and around your neighborhood in as many of the following locations as possible:

    • • Pet shops
    • • Veterinarian offices
    • • Shelters and Humane Societies
    • • Supermarkets
    • • Police precincts
    • • Newspapers
    • • Bulletin boards
  • • Distribute flyers to delivery people in your area.

If someone responds to your flyer, having possibly found your animal, check it out even if it seems too far away to possibly be your animal. Animals have been found miles from where they were originally lost. It’s also a good idea to contact as many vets and shelters as possible.

Most important, even before your pet is lost, consider the benefit of microchips, and have one implanted immediately. MADACC offers microchips for $25 which includes registration. Even with a microchip, every companion animal should wear a collar with ID tags at all times…it is their ticket home!

Additional Pet Recovery Resources

Making a flyer is VERY IMPORTANT!

Here are some resources to make your own for FREE!

What does MADACC do with found animals?

Lost animals that have been brought to MADACC will be posted on our website after they have been vaccinated and given a cursory exam. We do ask that you keep visiting MADACC to check to see if your animal has been brought into MADACC and to make sure that you have a report on file with us. We hold animals for the stray hold period dictated by state law, which is 4 days, plus one for the day the animal was taken into our custody. We plan a path for each animal during their stray hold period, so it is on the 6th day we will make an animal available for adoption or transfer, or humanely euthanize if it is determined that the animal cannot be placed due to unsafe behavior, or due to medical conditions that are not able to be treated. Please understand that unless we have been in contact with an owner who needs more time to come in and reclaim an animal, we will not hold animals longer than necessary. Most of our transfer partners plan on coming in to pick up animals they have on hold, or arranging transport to their shelter or rescue on the 9th day. We hold adoptable animals for as long as it takes to find them a home, or allow them to be transferred to another organization.

I Have Found an Animal

According to Wisconsin State Statute 173.13 9(c) A person other than a humane officer or a law enforcement officer may not take an animal into custody on behalf of a political subdivision unless the animal is an abandoned or stray animal. If a person other than a humane officer or a law enforcement officer takes custody of an abandoned or stray animal on behalf of a political subdivision, he or she shall deliver the animal to a person contracting under s. 173.15 (1), to a humane officer or law enforcement officer for disposition under s. 173.23 or to a pound.

This means that in Milwaukee County Good Samaritans, finders, rescues or other shelters are NOT able to do a stray hold at their home or facility just posting a photo online somewhere. MADACC is the contracted pound for all Milwaukee County municipalities and the animal must come here to serve a legal stray hold. No one is authorized to give you permission to keep a stray at your home in violation of state statutes, including law enforcement or a MADACC employee. 

This law is in place solely to allow the owner the opportunity to find their lost animal. Many people decide to keep strays in the mistaken belief that an owner did not care about the animal when often the owner was looking but did not see a poster or internet posting. At MADACC, all finders are given priority to adopt an animal if it is unclaimed after the stray hold expires. Be sure to fill out an application at the time you bring the animal in, or immediately following MADACC taking custody of the animal (we will be working with shelters and rescues to secure a path out of MADACC once the stray hold is over and if a rescue puts a hold on before an application is received we will transfer the animal to the rescue for adoption. We also reserve the right to move forward with another adopter if you do not put in an application at the time you bring the dog in. You can still change your mind and not adopt but we will not undo another adoption if you did not submit an application at the time the animal was dropped off). You can fill out an online application here. If an animal is wearing identification or a microchip is found during scanning, attempts will be made immediately to contact owners.

If an animal comes into MADACC with medical needs or is too young to be adopted (under 8 weeks) we will not accept finder adoption applications as we may need to transfer the animal to another facility for treatment that is beyond the scope of medical care that we can provide at MADACC. Or the animal may need long term treatment where we cannot guarantee a timeframe for adoption. In those cases the animal will be made available for adoption by another shelter or rescue.

Animals wearing a current license are eligible for one FREE ride home each year through MADACC, which is a great reason to license your animal. Find out more information about licensing here.

Under law, stray animals are sheltered for a minimum of 5 days.  If unclaimed after the 5 day hold, the animals are evaluated for health and temperament and offered to local shelters, breed placement groups or if determined that the animal cannot be safely placed in a new home, or is too sick or injured to be adopted out, the animal may be humanely euthanized.

How long does MADACC hold animals?

Under law, stray animals are sheltered for a minimum of 4 days.  In Wisconsin, this becomes 5 days, since the day of impound cannot be counted (though you can be charged for that day). If unclaimed after the 5 day hold, the animals are evaluated for health and temperament and offered to local shelters, breed placement groups or if determined that the animal cannot be safely placed in a new home, or is too sick or injured to be adopted out, the animal may be humanely euthanized. Animals that are able to be placed in an adoptive home or are suitable for transfer to another shelter or rescue do not have a time limit on how long MADACC will hold them.

Reclaiming your animal from MADACC

Animals that have been impounded at MADACC may be reclaimed by their owner 7 days a week! There will be fees associated with reclaiming your animal:

Impound fees
MADACC charges a $25 impound fee for licensed animals and a $35 impound fee for unlicensed animals.

Leash/Carrier fees
MADACC requires animals that leave the building via reclaim to be properly leashed in the case of dogs, and for cats they must be secure in a carrier. We have leashes available for purchase if you need one, and if you do not have a carrier for your cat, we have cardboard ones available for purchase for $5 each.

Rabies fees
MADACC charges a $25 for a rabies vaccine if your animal is not current on their vaccine at the time of reclaim and you cannot provide proof that your animal’s vaccine is current.

License fees
MADACC will charge you for a license at the time of reclaim if your animal is not currently licensed. Please see below for charges:

Dog and Cat License Fees:

All dogs and cats over 5 months:

  •      • Altered animals (spayed or neutered): $12 (After April 1, there is a late fee of $6 assessed)
  •      • Intact animals (ones that can still breed): $24 (After April 1, there is a late fee of $12 assessed)

Puppies/Kittens 5 months old after July 1:

  •      • Altered animals (spayed or neutered): $6
  •      • Intact animals (ones that can still breed): $12

Boarding Charges
There is a fee of $20 per day for animals that arrive at MADACC. Should your animal require addition medical care, there will be a $25 per day fee.

Ordinance Fees
All municipalities charge an ordinance fee for animals being at large. Please see the chart to determine what your municipality will charge you. We have also attached links to the municipal codes relating to animals or animal ordinances in each municipality for your convenience:

    • Hales Corners: $50.00 (code not available online)
    • River Hills: $25.00/$50.00 (code not available online)

Many Wisconsin residents are not aware that there are state laws that govern how animal licensing, animal control, and animal ownership is regulated in our state. Here are the two main statutes for animals that you can familiarize yourself with: