Stray Animals

VTH Policy #PtHand906

Implementation Date: 5/10/2016

Date of Last Revision: 6/2019

Next Review Due: 3/2023


Reviewed by VTH Administrative Team: N/A

Reviewed by VTH Board: 5/10/2016


Reviewed by Legal Counsel: N/A

Reviewed by Biosecurity Subcommittee: N/A

Subject to modification by the VTH Director without approval.


All animals admitted as strays to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) will be evaluated and scanned for microchip. If the owner is not found, the animal will be released to the appropriate authority and shall not be released to the finder, VTH faculty, staff or students.

Strays needing medical attention shall not exceed $250 in cost without Hospital Director’s approval.The VTH does not provide or facilitate any foster arrangement for unowned animals. Stray unowned animals must be physically transferred to the appropriate authority. 

In the event that the appropriate authority refuses to pick up a stray animal that has been presented to the VTH, the refusal must be submitted in writing (FAX or Email) and a copy of the refusal placed in the medical record.

If the refusal pertains to non-self-sustaining status (bottle feeding) of kitten(s), a found report will be made with the appropriate authority and the kitten(s) shall be transferred to Cattails Feline Rescue.

If the refusal pertains to any other reason, a Found Report will be made with the appropriate authority. In these cases, a proposal for disposition must be approved by the VTH Director or their designee and will be evaluated on a case by case basis. 

Failure to transfer animals to the appropriate authority or Cattails Feline Rescue, without prior authorization,may result in legal action against the person diverting animals from the appropriate authority.

If euthanasia is deemed appropriate by ER personnel, a report must be made with the appropriate authority and document in the patient record.


Patient care costs should not exceed $250 without Hospital Director approval. 

Callers inquiring about bringing a stray animal to the VTH should be provided the appropriate contact information for the county from which the animal originated and encouraged not to bring the animal to the VTH unless it is injured. Callers should be advised that any animal that is presented to the VTH as an unowned animal will not be returned to the finder.
Animals admitted to the VTH as a stray will be scanned for microchip and evaluated per the ER staff’s discretion. After evaluation, the animal will be transferred to the Primary Care Service to make arrangements for pick up by the owner or appropriate authority.

Procedure (if applicable)

  • If a call is received regarding a stray animal, the caller should be encouraged not to bring the animal to the VTH unless it is injured. When possible, the caller should be provided the appropriate contact information for the county the animal was found in and encouraged to call that agency to arrange transfer at their earliest convenience. Municipality contact information is attached.
  • Client Services and ER Staff are expected to discourage finders of healthy animals from presenting them to the VTH.
  • Persons presenting a healthy animal to the VTH should be encouraged to present that animal to the appropriate agency at their earliest convenience. 
  • If the animal is received by the VTH for assessment of any kind (including microchip check) it will be admitted and transferred to the appropriate authority and will not be released to the finder.
  • If a stray animal is admitted to the VTH, it will be registered in the Health Information System on the stray account and charges entered appropriately.
  • If an injured stray is presented to the VTH:  
      • Evaluate patient to determine if immediate medical treatment is necessary.
      • Scan for microchip,
           o If owner identified, contact owner. If owner wishes to continue treatment the patient will be  moved to the owner’s account and the owner will be responsible for             charges.
           o If owner is not reachable or is non-responsive to VTH communications, treat as appropriate, and the VTH Director’s Office will execute the Abandon Animal                 policy in consultation with the clinician on the case. 
    o If no owner is identified, the animal will be classified as unowned.
  • Provide medical treatment.
  • Transfer patient to Primary Care for continued patient care until discharge.
  • Primary Care will arrange for discharge and physical transfer to the appropriate authority.
    o If the appropriate authority is not reachable or agreeable to discharge/transfer arrangements, the refusal for transfer to that agency must be received in writing with the reason for refusal stated. Make a found report with the agency, and contact the VTH Director’s Office to determine appropriate disposition and to arrange for transfer of the animal to a private party.
    o Transfer of an animal to a private party will result in the animal becoming the financial responsibility of that person(s).
  • If the appropriate authority is not reachable or agreeable to discharge/transfer arrangements ANDthe animal is a non-self-sustaining kitten (bottle feeding), receive refusal in writing and make a found report with Appropriate Authority. Contact Cattails Feline Rescue by calling 309-532-7169 
    or 309-962-3079 to see if they have space available.
  • In the event that the animal’s owner is identified in a period of 10 days following admission to the VTH, the animal must be returned and financial responsibility reverted to the owner.

Definitions (if applicable)

Appropriate Authority: The contact person or entity identified in the county protocols worksheet

Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH): The collective clinical services of the Large Animal Clinic, Midwest Equine, the Small Animal Clinic, and the Veterinary Medicine South Clinic.


Keywords:stray, admitted, microchip, scan, appropriate, authority, finder, foster, unowned, own, patient care, euthanasia, rescue, Found Report, refusal, evaluate, discourage   Doc ID:124334
Owner:Jenny C.Group:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created:2023-02-24 12:14 CDTUpdated:2023-02-24 12:27 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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