Lost Pets

What To Do If You Find a Lost Dog or Cat in Mazatlan


Homeless and lost dogs and cats continue to be an epidemic on Mazatlan’s streets.

Dogs may be out wandering the street for any number of reasons. It’s still pretty common for some families to let their family pet roam freely. With so many animals truly in need in Mazatlan, the last thing you want to do is rescue a pet who already has a home.

In most cases, the cats you see on the street may be community cats that live outdoors and may be fed by people in the neighbourhood. In most cases there is no need to intervene. For more information on managing feral and semi-feral cats, see: What To Do About Cats in Your Neighbourhood.

Keep in mind that helping a lost animal is a community responsibility. Your involvement can make all the difference in the world for an animal.

What to do for a lost dog (or cat) that appear to belong to someone:

  • If the animal is in danger (for example running in traffic), do what you can to get it to safety.
  • If the animal is simply wandering contentedly, there may be little reason to remove the dog from the street.
  • Check for an ID tag.
  • Take a photo of the animal.
  • Ask around the neighbourhood if anyone knows the animal and who it belongs to. Show people the photo on your phone or take the animal with you, if possible. Neighbours may know the dog and it’s circumstances.
  • If the animal appears to be truly lost or homeless, consider taking it into your home, on a temporary basis.
  • If you are a Facebook user, submit the photo and information about a lost dog to Busco a Mi Perro Mazatlan. This page provides a public lost and found service for dogs and cats in Mazatlan.
  • Circulate information about the animal on your social media accounts.
  • If you have kittens or puppies at home under 6 months or have unvaccinated pets, always quaranteen a rescued animal from them. Talk to the vet if you have any concerns.

What To Do If Someone Claims The Dog

Unfortunately there are scammers who monitor lost and found pet ads in an attempt to acquire bait animals for dog fighting or to scam good-hearted people like you. If someone contacts you on social media and claims to be the animal’s owner, confirm this is true.

Here are a few tips:

  • Ask the caller to send you a photo of the dog, so you can compare. All responsible pet owners have photos. Don’t accept lame excuses for no photo.
  • Get the owner's full name, phone number and address.
  • If you decide to meet in person, pick a safe and public space and bring someone with you.
  • Check how the dog reacts when they meet. If the dog doesn’t show signs of being happily reunited with its owner, don’t give them the dog.

What To Do If You Can't Find The Owner

If you’ve tried everything and had no luck, you can contact us and see if we can help. Generally we prioritize rescues of sick and injured dogs, however we will help all animals if space and resources are available.

If you are able to continue to foster the animal, that is ideal. All animals must be healthy, vaccinated and spayed or neutered before being placed for adoption. Great photos really help to get a animal adopted on social media.

What To Do If You Suspect Animal Abuse or Neglect

It can be heartbreaking to see an animal suffering for any reason. If you suspect an animal is being abused or neglected by its owner, it's important to handle the situation diplomatically.

The State of Sinaloa created an animal abuse law in 2017. You can make a report of animal abuse, however that is not a guarantee that the situation will be resolved. Authorities may speak with the owners, but without proof of the abuse (such as a video recording) and someone to file a complaint, no charges will be laid.

Generally, animals are not taken into protective custody because there is no public shelter in Mazatlan.

Mazatlan Animal Rescue has no authority to apprehend animals from abusive homes. If you are concerned about an animal abuse situation, you can contact us for advice and consultation.

In most cases, the only one effective way to handle a case of abuse or neglect is through diplomatic negotiation. Always consider your own safety in these situations. People who deliberately abuse animals may also be violent towards people.

If you chose to go ahead, here are some tips:

Whether you’re introducing yourself for the first time or you’ve known one another for years, approach the animal’s owner(s) in a compassionate way. They may or may not be aware that they are harming the animal. Come to them in a “I-want-to-help way,” and they may be more open to accepting what you have to say and offer. Being critical is not likely to get you very far.

Once you’ve established a basic dialogue with the owner(s), make an offer to help the animal.


For example:

  • If the dog is infested with ticks and fleas, you could offer to provide an anti-tick treatment such as Bravecto for dogs. Many people are not aware that ticks carry diseases that are deadly for dogs. Anti-tick treatment is very expensive for some families.
  • If the animal appears malnourished, offer to provide pet food. Keep in mind that emaciation is a symptom of diseases like ehrlichia (a tick disease). If a dog is very skinny and IS being fed, it may need veterinary attention instead of food.
  • Offer to take the dog to the vet if it needs medical attention.
  • Offer to take the dog for walks if it is confined. Tell them you are looking for an exercise buddy.
  • Offer to look after the dog if the family is away often.
  • Offer to adopt the dog or help to rehome it, if they don’t seem to take any interest in it.

In certain circumstances, it may make sense to start with small offers, like giving the dog a treat and build up to becoming more involved. If the family is very poor, consider sponsoring the dog’s care (food, medicine and veterinary attention).

It can be extremely difficult to witness an animal living in conditions that you would find unacceptable for your own pets. It is important to assess whether the animal is truly suffering or living adequately under a different set of standards.