Return to Owner Process
T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter will hold stray animals for three (3) business days, and if an owner does not reclaim the animal during that time, the animal may be adopted or otherwise removed from the shelter.
In most circumstances, an owner will be charged a fee to reclaim their pet, consisting of the animal intake fee, boarding fees, any licensing fees, and any medical fees. Many of these fees are lower if the pet is claimed quickly. Therefore, owners benefit by ensuring their pet has a microchip and tags, as well as promptly notifying T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter that their pet is missing or visiting the shelter to view the animals that are being held as strays.
You will be asked to provide proof of ownership and have valid photo identification!
Proof of ownership may consist of veterinary records, adoption/reclaim records, microchip information, photos of your pet, etc.
Dogs: If you find a stray
If you have spotted a dog that appears to be a stray in the Manhattan city limits, please contact an animal control officer by calling the Riley County Police Department at (785) 537-2112 Ext. 0. RCPD will dispatch an animal control officer.
If you have spotted a dog that appears to be a stray in Pottawatomie County, please contact the Pottawatomie Sheriff’s Department by calling (785) 457-3481.
Animal control officers and deputies are trained on how to approach animals that might be injured or aggressive.
If you have picked up a dog that appears to be a stray in the Manhattan city limits, and exhausted all resources to find the pet’s owner, call us at (785) 587-2783 first to confirm there is space to bring it in.
To turn in a stray dog, you will need to bring an ID and will be asked to fill out a form to document any information you know about the animal. You must have proof of residency within the city limits of Manhattan or within unincorporated Riley County to bring a stray dog into the animal shelter.
There are no laws to prevent dogs from running at large in Riley or Pottawatomie counties. Please call before transporting a dog from outside the Manhattan city limits to T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter.
Cats: If you find a stray
Allowing pet cats to roam is not against the law in Manhattan, Riley County, or Pottawatomie County.
Many residents have indoor/outdoor cats. You should not assume a cat is a stray if it is roaming within the Manhattan city limits. Statistically, lost cats are more likely to be found by their owners if they return home on their own than if they are brought to a shelter.
If you have located a litter of kittens, please DO NOT move them. Mother cats can spend multiple hours away from their litter hunting and might not return while humans are present.
If you believe you truly have found a homeless house cat in need, or a litter of abandoned kittens, you can call us at (785) 587-2783 for additional options. The shelter may accept stray cats that are injured and/or need medical attention. Please call first to confirm that the shelter has the capacity to accept the cat.
Manhattan has feral cat colonies and volunteer groups that provide Trap Spay/Neuter and Release (TNR).
For more information about TNR resources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Very few cats are returned to their owners once they end up in a shelter. Return-to-owner rates from animal shelters are 1.5 % to 4.5%, compared to 53% to 84% of cats that return home on their own when left alone.