The Lethbridge Animal Shelter is currently operating over its capacity for care levels. Managed intake is currently in effect.

If you have found a stray pet within the City of Lethbridge, you MUST make a request for intake.

What is managed intake?

A consistent increase in the number of animals being turned into the animal shelter has significantly affected our ability to maintain an appropriate capacity for care level. Overcrowded conditions lead to illness, more stress on the animals and staff, and a backlog of pets to be adopted. Managed intake is a model that has been adopted by a majority of animal care and control facilities in North America and is supported by the Fear Free Shelters Program and the National Animal Care and Control Association. Prioritizing intake and managing the population within the shelter provides a less stressful environment, reduces the spread of illness, and allows the animal care team to spend more time providing direct care and enrichment activities to each individual cat or dog.

Found a stray cat

The animal shelter must manage the intake of strays to ensure the proper care, safety, and health of the animals in our facility. Our goal is to provide care and housing to cats in dire need, return lost pets to their owners, and adopt out those that go unclaimed.

The reality is, the majority of cats found stray outside are not in distress and sheltering is not always the best option for the cat. Stray cats are 10 times more likely to be reunited with their owner if they are left where they are found.

If you have found a stray cat within the City of Lethbridge, please consider the following:

  • Does the cat appear feral (unsocialized, fearful, does not accept handling)? Feral cats are born and raised without human contact and are typically self-sufficient when finding food sources and shelter. These cats are not owned pets and are not typically fit for adoption. Feral cats should not be turned into the animal shelter. The City of Lethbridge Animal Welfare Advisory Committee provides funding to manage and care for feral cat colonies. Learn more.

Providing basic shelter on your property to stray and feral cats is always welcome; however, feeding can create other issues.

  • If the cat is found wandering, is social, and friendly, it could be someone's missing pet. It is best to monitor the cat’s situation for at least 3 days, talk to neighbors, and post on social media groups. If the cat begins to look distressed, no owner can be found, and there is no other alternative to sheltering, you can make a request for intake. Keeping this cat in your home or feeding it is unnecessary, and significantly reduces the chance of it ever returning home on its own.

  • Found a cat wearing a tag or collar? Make all attempts to locate the owner, and if it is a Lethbridge License tag you can call 403-320-4099 to have the owner contacted. You can bring a cat by any vet clinic or the Lethbridge Animal Shelter to have it checked for a microchip. If you cannot locate an owner on your own, and there is no alternative to sheltering, the animal shelter may be able to hold the cat until the true owner comes forward.

If you have found a stray cat that appears to be distressed, and cannot locate the owners, please complete the intake request form.

If you have found a seriously injured or deceased cat in a public space, or orphaned kittens where a mother has not returned in over 8 hours, please call 403-320-4099 so an Enforcement Officer can be dispatched.

Enforcement Officers do not respond to general cat complaints.

πŸ“Managing Stray Cats Handout

Found a stray dog

In the City of Lethbridge, the control and licensing of dogs is regulated under Bylaw 5235. This bylaw requires owners to have identification for their pets and to ensure that their dogs are not running at large in the community.

Have you found a stray dog within the City of Lethbridge? Consider the following:

  • Speak with area neighbors and post to local pet social media groups to try and locate an owner. Taking a stray from the area where it was found, significantly reduces the chance of it getting back home quickly as the owner is likely out looking for their pet.

  • Is the dog wearing tags? Try reaching out to an owner if there is an address or phone number. If the dog is wearing a City of Lethbridge License Tag you can contact us during business hours at 403-320-4099 and our staff will work to connect with the owner.

  • Have you spotted a stray dog running loose in the community? You can report this to our complaint line at 403-320-4099 so that an Enforcement Officer can be dispatched to search for the dog ( 7 days a week from 7am to 11pm only).

  • Found a stray dog? Not able to locate an owner? Please contact Community Animal Services so that an Enforcement Officer can be dispatched out ( 7 days a week from 7am to 11pm only) to collect the dog. Our officers can scan for microchips in the field to help locate an owner.

  • Attempting to locate an owner in the community before the dog reaches the shelter significantly increases the chance of the animal getting home and reduces intake stress on the facility.

** For loose dogs creating a threat to public safety, call 403-320-4099 **

How you can help

Pet owners:

  • Please be responsible by keeping your cats and dogs contained safely at home.

  • Ensure your pets are properly registered.

  • Having trouble caring for your pets? Have you considered surrendering them? There are assistance programs available to help keep pets at home. Learn more here.

  • Missing a pet? Check local social media groups as well as our list of impounded strays.

Community members:

  • If you find a stray pet in your neighborhood, please make every effort to locate an owner before turning it over to the care of animal services. Cat intake is by request only.

  • Please opt to adopt your next pet. Learn more about our adoption program,

  • You can build a safe winter shelter for the feral and community cats in your area. Learn how here.

  • Help us promote responsible pet ownership by following and sharing Community Animal Services on social media.


Intake of cats to the Lethbridge Animal Shelter is prioritized based on the cats' needs and available resources. Request for intake MUST be made ahead of time to have a cat admitted to the facility. Please complete the intake request form so staff can triage the intake. Your request will be added to a waiting list and staff will contact you when kennel space becomes available. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

A list of found stray pets impounded at the facility can be found here.