1. Call the dog warden if you live outside Ashtabula city limits or city animal control if you live in Ashtabula city. They may ask for a description and where and when the dog was lost so they can keep an eye out for it. The Ashtabula County Animal Protective League serves as the county and city holding facility for stray dogs.
  2. Visit the APL adoption center to search for your dog and fill out a lost dog report. A lost dog report is an aid, not a guarantee, that the APL will be able to identify your dog if it does make its way to the adoption center. Ask to see dogs in staff only areas. For safety reasons, it is at the APL staff’s sole discretion to either escort you through staff only areas or bring dogs meeting the breed description of your lost dog to the lobby for identification.
  3. There is a 72 hour hold period on any dog not wearing a county dog license brought to our facility by dog warden, animal control, law enforcement, or Good Samaritan, to allow time for an owner to claim it. This time period is dictated by the Ohio revised code. The 72 hours is continuous and includes holidays and APL closed hours. If, after the 72 hour hold, the dog is not claimed, the dog becomes property of the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League.
  4. If a dog is brought to the APL wearing a county dog license, we will hold the dog for 14 days. If the dog is not claimed within 14 days, the dog becomes property of the ACAPL. With a county dog license, we will also be able to obtain your contact information from the county and contact you by phone or mail to let you know we have your dog.
  5. If you identify a dog as yours at the adoption center, please be sure to have proof of ownership. Dogs will not be given to anyone without valid proof of ownership. Accepted forms of proof of ownership are:
    1. Dog license issued by the county auditor.
    2. Veterinary records preferably that include a description or photo.
    3. Adoption contract or purchase receipts.
    4. Personal family photos.
    5. A description of unique physical or behavioral characteristics that have not been publicly reported or obviously observed.
  6. You will be charged a return to owner fee. This fee covers expenses incurred by the APL to care for your dog for the time it has been in our custody. If the dog is not already licensed, one will need to be purchased. As a side note, all dogs over 3 months of age, per the Ohio revised code, must be licensed ANNUALLY in the county in which they reside. Licenses may be purchased from the county auditor’s office or at the APL adoption center. The current annual fee is $12.75 6. If your dog is not at the APL, keep looking. Post flyers, put a classified ad in the newspaper (it should be free), check the classifieds for found dog ads, use social media, and most importantly, visit the APL every 3 days to see if your dog has been brought in. Don’t give up.

If you come to the APL to claim your dog after the hold period has expired, and the APL is still in possession of the dog, you will be asked to complete the adoption process. Something we want everyone to understand is that the welfare of every animal is our top priority including the return of lost animals to a safe and loving home. However, the APL is not a boarding facility and we cannot hold animals indefinitely hoping their families come to claim them. It costs money to operate our adoption center, of which only a small fraction is generated by adoption fees. It costs us more per animal to operate than we generate with an adoption fee. Most of our operating capital comes from grants, fundraisers and donations.