Friday, August 14, 2015

Research Q of the Week: Posting Lost Dog Info on Facebook (8/14/15)

Question: Is it appropriate for the city to post pictures on social media of dogs we have found and are impounded at our kennel? It might help us located their owners faster.

Answer: If the city thinks it would be helpful, that is certainly a permissible use of social media.

Activity intended to find the owners of lost pets has become popular on social media sites like Facebook. By reuniting wayward furballs and their families the city could see a savings in boarding costs and staff time devoted to taking care of the animals.

Your city will want to consider potential pitfalls too. Staff time for posting and removing photos as well as how you would handle multiple people trying to claim the same animal are things to consider in advance.

The city should have a policy that describes the general types of information it will share on social media regardless of whether you have animal control facilities or not. Other common examples of content shared on social media include notices about city meetings, community events, public works projects, job openings, and pictures from happenings around the city.

For more information on this topic, including sample policies, check out the League’s memo on Computer and Network Loss Control.

Written by Amber Eisenschenk, staff attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: or (651) 281-1227.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information.

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