Many of the animal owners cannot be found because they are not registered, microchipped or do not have up-to-date microchip details.

Greater Shepparton City Council environmental manager Sharon Terry said it was critical for pet owners to keep their microchip and registration details up to date.

“If you’ve moved house, changed your phone number or got a new pet, your contact details may not be up to date. Please make sure to update any changed details as soon as possible,” she said.

“Nobody wants to lose their pet’s heart, but worst of all, they don’t return it right away because we don’t know where it lives.

“Council animal rangers prefer to return your pet to you directly rather than take it to the animal shelter where it could take days to locate the owner and potentially cost you money in boarding fees.”

Pet board registration must be renewed annually and all dogs and cats over three months of age must be registered.

To register a pet with the council or update your registration, visit the council’s website or the Welsford St.

To microchip a pet, contact your local veterinarian.

As of January 10, there were nearly 40 animals either missing or up for adoption at the shelter.

Lost animals or animals available for adoption can be viewed on the council website.