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Finding A Stray Pit Bull

In the City of Los Angeles there are thousands of stray dogs at any given time. Some of those dogs are feral, some abandoned, and many of them are simply lost from their families. Here are our recommendations if you found a stray dog in the City of Los Angeles.


Step one:
Try to find the owner: We frequently receive calls from good samaritans who have found a pit bull and don’t want to take it to the shelter for fear that it will be euthanized. While it is true that several of the Los Angeles City shelters still have high euthanasia rates for pit bulls, the best way to help reunite a lost dog with his family is by taking him to the shelter. At the shelter, the dog will be scanned for a microchip and if one is present, the family will be contacted. Thoroughly check all of the ‘Lost Dog” books at the shelter as well.  

Important note:  It is not recommended to leave a stray pit bull at a Los Angeles County Shelter. Current policy requires a behavioral test for all "Dominant Breeds" and it is possible that if the owner does not claim the dog, you will not be able to rescue him if he does not score well on the test. 

When you turn a stray over to the shelter there is a legal hold period in which the dog is still considered the property of the owner. After the hold period expires, the dog becomes available for adoption. You may put you name in as an interested party/first rights. If the owner does not claim him after the required hold period, you will have the first right to adopt providing you are present on the morning the dog becomes available. Another option is to get his impound number and network him to friends, family and rescues to adopt him from the shelter.

If you opt to take the dog home instead of leaving him at the shelter, you must also abide by the legal hold period while you try to find the owner. The hold period is much longer (typically 14 days or more) if the dog is not processed through animal control. Whether you leave him at the shelter or take him home, you can greatly assist in reuniting him with his family by posting “Found” signs at the shelter, and around the neighborhood. Post in English and Spanish if needed. Be sure to post them around supermarkets, schools, gas stations, and major intersections. Post a free found ad on Craigslist, Petfinder and in the local paper. Be sure to ask the neighborhood children if they recognize the dog- they are far more observant that adults!

Step two:
You have been unsuccessful finding the owner and the hold period has expired: The hard work begins. If you would like to find your friend a new forever home and are willing to foster in the meantime, there are several things to do to ensure a responsible outcome. All dogs need to be be examined by a vet, spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped prior to adopting out. SNPLAThe Pet Care Center, and The ASPCA Los Angeles Spay/Neuter Clinic offer low-cost surgery and vaccination.  You can also prepare the dog for a successful adoption by doing some basic training (sit,down, leash walking, etc). ACPB offers free training classes on Saturdays, email to confirm your spot. There are free classes at the LA Coliseum every Sunday, classes are open without registration.  Read and live by BAD RAP's "New Dog In The House". It is the single best handbook for living with, and caring for a new foster or adopted dog. 

Grab a camera and take the best photos you can. TIP:  Take photos outside in natural light, preferrably on grass or a neutral background (not dirt).  If your dog gets along with them, use other dogs, kids, etc. in the photo to highlight your dog's personality. Be sure your dog looks happy and relaxed in the photo.  Posting ads on Craigslist, on social networks like Facebook and email blasts to friends and family help tremendously. Get a brightly colored “adopt me” bandana and hit the pavement in shopping areas, parks, cafes,  etc.

To list a courtesy post with us on Facebook and Adopt-A-Pet, email us at  Be sure to include a great photo and bio. Be prepared to foster for however long it takes... some adoptions happen quickly and others months to even years. Please visit our Courtesy Listing page for more information.

When evaluating a potential adopter, ask LOTS of questions. Ask for contact info for references (the family vet, landlord, etc). Qualified adopters will readily give you names and numbers for contacts. Do a home check to make sure everything looks safe and secure for your foster. PRBC offers great information about screening questions to ask potential adopters. You may also download our generic adoption application and contract below.

Our focus is on pit bulls in immediate need at local shelters. If you have turned a stray into a Los Angeles CITY shelter, and you think the dog would fit well into our program, please email us a description (physical and behavioral) and the impound number. Although we always run full, we may be able to put the dog on our watch list or network to our friends at the shelter.

*** If you are contacting us to because you can no longer keep your dog, please see our Rehoming Your Dog page

Generic Adoption Application

Generic Adoption Contract