The Florence Dedman Foundation and Animal Shelter


Dedman Foundation of Fort Benton
2400 High Street - Box 1282
Fort Benton, MT 59442
(406)-622-5657

If you Lost an Animal:

Please follow these steps:
  1. Depending on where the pet was lost, contact the Fort Benton City Police at 622-5494 and/or the Chouteau County Sheriff's Dept. at (406)622-5451 to report your missing pet.
  2. Call the Shelter at (406)622-5657 and report your pet missing. Do not wait a few days and see if the pet shows up first. After 96 hours in the shelter, the animal is the property of the Dedman Foundation and will be available for adoption. Many an owner has come to the shelter only to find their pet went to a new home. Adoptions are final. New adoptees of unclaimed strays will not be contacted to return a pet if the real owner shows up. As a general rule, once your pet has been missing overnight, please call the shelter as soon as possible.
  3. Come look at the animals. It is not possible in many cases to confirm a pet's identity over the phone because no two people describe an animal the same way. One picture is worth a thousand words. Be sure and tell a staff member the purpose of your visit because sick or injured animals may be at a vet clinic or in a room not visible to the general public. Dogs may also be outside on break in the dog runs. If your pet is not there, make sure you fill out a lost pet report at the desk if you have not already done so. Please bring us a picture of your pet. We will notify you as soon as anyone calls or brings in any possible match. After your initial visit, we recommend shelter visits 2 to 3 times a week in order to view all strays received or check the pictures and daily admissions via this site. Most pets are found within the first week, but reunions may occur at any time. Our longest term dog reunion is two months although we know of some as long as 12 - 18 months. Don't give up!
  4. Call the local newspapers - Fort Benton River Press at (406)622-3311, Big Sandy Mountaineer at (406)378-2176, Great Falls Tribune at (800)438-6600 and ask for the Classified Department. Policies vary with the paper, but most will run a free missing ad.
  5. Post pictures of your pet at convenience stores, telephone poles, grocery stores, local veterinary clinics, and the post office near the location where your animal was lost.

We encourage you to confirm with us once a week for a few weeks that your lost pet is still missing, then monthly for up to 4 months. Our answering machine is on during the evening for your convenience or you may email us via this site. Please give both the pet's name and your name when you call or write in case we have more than one animal with the same name or in the case the person who called in the lost report has a different name than you. We keep lost pets on our active list for 3 months, or even longer if you request.

It is equally important to notify us when your pet is found. Keeping our lost list current facilitates match ups. We handle many lost/found calls each month. Follow-up calls are extreamely time consuming, so please be considerate of our time.

Once your pet is safely home please take the proper precautions to prevent a recurrence. All dogs and cats need a collar with current i.d. Both can be purchased at the shelter. Collars without tags won't help us find you. A rabies tag alone is often insufficient also, i.e. if your vet clinic is closed, we won't be able to access the owner information until the next working day. The same applies to a city license tag. Also many vet clinics do not keep owner information on file once the tag is outdated. Many pets with collars and/or only rabies tags are unable to be returned to owners. We electronically scan all impiunded animals, and offer microchipping services by appointment.

If you Found an Animal:

Follow these instructions:
  1. If the animal is within the Fort Benton City limits, you may call the City Police at (406)622-5494 to pick the animal up and take it to the shelter. If the animal is outside the Fort Benton City limits, please be advised that the Chouteau County Sheriff's Dept. will not transport any stray animal unless the animal is chasing livestock, or has bitten someone. You may bring the animal in yourself, after contacting the County Sheriff's Dept. and reporting a stray animal. The Chouteau County Sheriff's Dept. phone is (406)622-5451. If you are bringing an animal in after hours, the Sheriff's Dept. will make arrangements for someone to meet you at the shelter. Also, if you contact either the city or county law enforcement, please be sure and give a very specific location where the animal was found.
  2.  Call us at 622-5657 or email us via this site to report a "Found" animal. If you leave a message on the shelter answering machine, be sure and tell us how to reach you. Speak slowly and clearly. Many reports are left without names or phone numbers on the machine after hours, thus we have no way to facilitate a match up. Do not "wait a few days to see if it finds its way home". The pet may be killed or injured. Call us first. The owner may be sitting by the phone this moment just waiting for your call.
  3. Next you must decide what to do with the stray. There are several options. You may keep the animal at your house, while we look for the owner. If the animal is within the Fort Benton City limits, you may call the City Police at (406)622-5494 to pick the animal up and take it to the shelter. If the animal is outside the Fort Benton City limits, please be advised that the Chouteau County Sheriff's Dept. will not transport any stray animal unless the animal is chasing livestock, or has bitten someone. You may bring the animal in yourself, after contacting the County Sheriff's Dept. and reporting a stray animal. The Chouteau County Sheriff's Dept. phone is (406)622-5451. If you are bringing an animal in after hours, the Sheriff's Dept. will make arrangements for someone to meet you at the shelter. Also, if you contact either the city or county law enforcement, please be sure and give a very specific location where the animal was found.
  4.  If you keep the animal with you, the next step is to call the local newspapers including the River Press at (406)622-3311, the Big Sandy Mountaineer at (406)378-2176, and the Great Falls Tribune at (800)438-6600 and ask for the Classified Department. They will run a free "Found" ad. Also, please read the lost and found sections in these papers in case the owner has placed a lost report.
  5. Found pet postings at the convenience stores, telephone poles, and mail boxes closest to the location the animal was found are quite successful.
  6. Please call us when the matter is resolved. We like to know when you returned the pet, lost the pet, placed the pet, or kept it yourself. This helps us keep our files current. The answering machine is available after hours at the shelter for this purpose or you may email us.

Please help us help you. Protect your pet with proper I.D.

Good luck. If we can be of further assistance, please call us at (406)622-5657