Return to Home

Formerly known as Return-to-Owner (RTO), Return-to-Home (RTH) is the process of returning a lost and found pet to its home, where it is safe with its owner.

More often than not, stray animals are actually lost pets with families who miss them. This means that the first priority is to return the lost pet to its rightful home.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina left thousands of pets displaced with no way to return home. Dr. Gary K. Michelson recognized that microchip technology could easily solve this market failure. So, he decided to act by creating Michelson Found Animals Foundation, the first free national microchip registry. Our mission is to keep pets and people together. 

The Michelson Found Animals Foundation solidified its commitment to returning pets to their homes in 2019 when Gina Knepp was brought on board. Gina’s role at Found Animals is to expertly guide communities through the process of implementing best practices to raise their RTH rates while reducing overall expenditures.



National Shelter Engagement Director, Michelson Found Animals

Previously serving as Animal Care Services Manager for Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, California, Gina increased the live release rate from just 20% to over 90% through the development of new RTH policies and robust community engagement programs. In fact, those community partnerships and relationships with Sacramento’s residents and businesses have resulted in making Front Street a household name. Serving the city limits of Sacramento, with an animal intake of 12,000 critters per year, the State’s Capitol shelter is now a vibrant hub of activity, energy, and success.

Community Resources

More Resources

Funding Opportunities

Are you a U.S.-based government animal shelter or 501(c)(3) rescue that handles lost/stray/at-large dogs and cats to elevate Return to Home (RTH) within their community and seeks funding? Check out all these fundraising opportunities supported by Michelson Found Animals and find out how you can raise more funds for your cause.

Latest News

Check out this recent episode of The Best Friends Podcast, where Gina Knepp talks about strategies that can help you get more pets back home more quickly.

Inspiring education: The Jacksonville Humane Society used tips from Gina Knepp on how to educate their summer campers on pet loss prevention. Check out their creativity here to inspire your own practices.

Success Stories

After being lost for over a year, Piper was reunited with her family within hours of her microchip being scanned by Arizona Small Dog Rescue in South Phoenix.