- Don't assume the animal has been abandoned. It's very possible the animal on your doorstep has a family who loves him and is searching for him.
- Look for identification. A name/identification tag can lead you directly to the owner. Rabies tags and shelter tags also have traceable numbers.
- If there are no identification tags, consider taking the animal to a veterinarian or shelter that has a microchip scanning device, so they may check for an implanted microchip. Additionally, search the animal for tattoos.
- Call your local animal shelter. You may find the phone number in the Yellow Pages under Animal Shelters, the municipal section of the White Pages or by calling your town or city hall. Give the shelter a full description of the animal. If the owners call looking for their lost pet, the group will have the information on file with which to cross-reference. If you wish to foster the animal, inform the agency of your desire to do so - most agencies are agreeable to this.
- Network and recruit your neighbors for help. Ask them if they know who owns the animal.
- Place a "Found Pet" ad in your local paper. When placing the ad omit a pertinent piece of information about the animal (i.e., white tip at the end of the tail). This will help you find the correct owner. You may also wish to ask responders of the ad for the name and phone number of their own veterinarian. Call the veterinarian and verify the information the caller supplies is correct before turning the animal over to the caller.
- Check the "Lost Pet" ads daily.
- Prepare a flyer giving only a physical description of the pet and distribute copies widely on bulletin boards in your neighborhood.
- As you travel, look for community bulletin boards in shopping centers, libraries, churches, synagogues, or anywhere else you may post a notice of general interest. Additionally, place flyers on the streets at busy intersections (you may first want to check the legality of posting on public property). As you distribute the posters, remember to look for the flyer that the owner himself, may have posted.
- An alternative is to turn the animal over to a shelter. His owner may be found or he may be placed for adoption.
A lost pet depends on you! Do for this animal what you would want someone to do for your beloved pet!
- Go to the Animal Services Center that services your and your adjacent areas as soon as possible and be sure to bring a current photograph of your pet. It is very important that you come in person to look through the kennels at least every three (3) days after filing a report. Volunteers at the centers will assist you in filing a "Lost Animal" report. The report will be kept on file for three (3) months. Animals impounded without a current license are held five (5) working days for the owner to reclaim the animals. It is essential that you continue to personally check with the agency, as only you would be certain to recognize your own pet. Do not give up too soon. Many of the animals in the centers have wandered for weeks before being rescued by an Animal Services Officer or well-meaning people may have held the animal for some time before turning it in.
- Notify neighbors and search areas thoroughly, especially in the evening as many pets become frightened and hide in the daytime. Door-to-door canvassing may provide leads as well and always be sure leave your phone number and address.
- Advertise in local papers. Don't wait for the finder of the animal to advertise. Place posters with a photo of your pet in the vicinity where the pet was lost - markets, schools, etcâ€¦, although not on utility poles. Remember though, to remove the posters once the animal is located.
- Enlist the help of children in the area. A reward may generate more interest.
- Check with veterinarians. Injured pets may have been taken to a clinic.
- We would like to emphasize the importance of personally returning on a regular basis to the Animal Services Center to find your lost pet. Do not rely on someone else. The same volunteers are not on duty everyday and the number of animals impounded and the number of "Lost" reports taken, make it very difficult for the volunteers to identify each and every animal on-site. The best chance a pet has of returning home is a loving concerned owner.
Even the most responsible pet owners can lose a pet due to unforeseen circumstances. Try to take every precaution to see that the animal is safely protected:
- License: Dogs and cats with a current license or identification tag attached to their collars are held at Animal Services Centers for a full 10 days instead of the four days (4) unlicensed strays are held. The owners are notified by telephone and via US Mail. Keep the county informed of any address or telephone number changes after you have applied for your pet's license.
- Identification Tag: Although many people are reluctant to assume a loose dog may be lost, a message such as "Help me, I'm lost" with your current telephone number and address on the tag will encourage people to contact you rather than let it wander to starve, become ill or be hit by a car.
- Confinement: There is no better protection for your pet than a fenced yard or enclosed kennel area, do not let your pet run loose. Loose animals have caused serious auto accidents, harassed and/or killed livestock and other confined animals, damaged property and have become neighborhood nuisances.
- Obedience: Many local organizations offer low-cost training classes. A well- trained pet can be a joy for you as well as your neighbors. If you are interested in classes, a volunteer will be happy to give you the telephone numbers of organizations in your area.
- Spay and Neuter: Decrease your animal's urge to wander in search of a mate. Spaying and neutering dramatically reduces and can eliminate, the attraction of males to females.
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