Found A Stray

Found a Stray? Here’s What You Need To Know:

BWAR cannot accept stray animals directly from the Buncombe County community. Stray animals must go to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter to complete their mandatory stray hold; this makes it easier for an owner to locate his or her lost pet by going to just one location. If unclaimed, we do transfer stray animals into our care, when appropriate, after their legal stray hold is up. If you have any questions about our stray policy, please email

Did you Find the stray in Buncombe County?Find the stray outside of Buncombe County?

If the animal was found in Buncombe County

Option 1 – Bringing the animal to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter.

  • During business hours you may bring the found pet to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter located at 16 Forever Friend Lane.
  • You may also hold onto the found pet in your home after filing a found report in person with the Buncombe County Animal Shelter.
  • After business hours, you can contact Asheville City (828) 252-1110 or Buncombe County Animal Services (828) 250-6670 depending on where you find the pet to see what options they can provide outside of normal business hours.

If the animal appears sick, injured, or aggressive please call ahead, or come into the facility without the animal first so the staff can assist your individual situation in the best possible way.

Option 2 – Caring For The Found Pet In Your Home

If you’d prefer to care for the found pet yourself while you search for the owner, immediately contact the Buncombe County Animal Shelter at (828) 250-6430 and leave a “found report” with a detailed description of when and where the animal was found, as well as a detailed description of the animal. Since many animals are microchipped and determining the approximate age and breed of the animal may be difficult you will need to either bring the animal into the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, or a Veterinary Clinic to have the animal scanned for a microchip and appropriately identified. Also, in order to ensure that Shelter staff and the owner can properly match your found animal report to a lost animal report, you must provide clear color photos of the animal, to include the face and body. The Shelter staff can assist you with this by taking these photos for you if you bring the animal into the Shelter. You should be cautious when caring for a found animal in your home as you are unfamiliar with the animals health and temperament status. It is wise to keep your pets and children away from the found animal for the safety of all involved and to help reduce the extreme stress and fear many lost pets will experience during this time.

After Hours

If the Buncombe County Animal Shelter is closed and you find a pet that you are not able to care for until the morning, please call Animal Services in your area and they may be able to provide assistance. In the City of Asheville that number is (828) 252-1110, in Buncombe County it is (828) 250-6670.

If you are unable to immediately locate the owner of a found pet… ACT FAST!

Please review these additional tips for what you should do when you find a lost pet:

  • It’s vitally important that you contact all area shelters, to include surrounding Counties, to see if an owner has reported the animal missing. If there is no report on file at a particular shelter, ask to leave a found pet report and provide a photo of the found animal and be sure to check back daily for any possible matches.
  • color photo is one of the most beneficial tools used to help locate the owner of a missing pet. If you are unable to obtain a color photo of the animal the Buncombe County Animal Shelter can help if you bring the animal in to have a photo taken. Photos can be used on flyers posted in the area you found the animal, lost and found websites and at shelters to help owner’s identify found pet’s that have not been admitted to the shelter.
  • Notify friends, neighbors and even local businesses in your neighborhood and/or the area where you found the pet and provide your contact information so if the owner inquires they will be able to reach you. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and other community blogs can prove helpful in the search for an owner of a found pet as well.
  • Contact veterinary practices, groomers and pet supply stores in the area. They may have a Lost and Found bulletin board in their businesses and owners with missing pets frequently notify them of their missing pet.
  • Read the “Lost Ads”, and take out a “Found” Ad in area newspapers, such as Asheville Citizen TimesIWANNA and be sure to do the same on internet sites such as CraigslistLost Pets WNC and ReachVet.
  • Post flyers in your neighborhood and/or the area where you found the pet, as well as nearby high traffic locations like schools, drug stores, gas stations and grocery stores. Include a photo of the found pet and contact information so you can be reached immediately. Here is a helpful link to make a found pet flyer: PetBond Flyer Entry.

If the animal was found outside Buncombe County

If you have found a stray animal outside of Buncombe County, please contact the county of origin’s shelter to find out what their policies for strays are. Here are some phone numbers for some of our surrounding area’s animal control/animal shelters:

Madison County (828) 649-3190
Yancey County (828) 682-9510
McDowell County (828) 652-6643
Transylvania County (828) 883-3713
Henderson County (828) 697-4723
Haywood County (828) 456-5338
Rutherford County (828) 287-6025
Mitchell County (828) 765-6952
Polk County (828) 863-4444
Jackson County (828) 586-6138