All pet owners fear the possibility of a lost pet. Pets may be lost for a variety of reasons including running away from home, running in a strange place if frightened, or theft. Some steps you can take to increase the likelihood of getting your pet back include:
1. Make sure your pet is wearing an identification tag with current contact information at all times. Getting your pet microchipped in addition to tagging him will significantly increase your chance of having your pet returned to you. The microchip needs to be registered with current contact information to be effective.
2. Have a current photo of your pet. Your pet may look different as an adult from what it did when it was a puppy or kitten, so take many pictures as it grows into adulthood. Be sure to get any distinguishing marks or scars in the pictures.
3. Contact your local law enforcement, impounds & animal shelters as soon as you discover your pet missing. Email or drop off “missing pet” posters as soon as you can.
4. Contact your local radio stations. The more people who know about your missing pet the better. Somebody may have spotted the pet but didn’t know who to contact about it.
5. Don’t forget Facebook! Social networking websites are a great area to post a picture & details of your missing pet. It’s amazing how many pets are found & returned home just because someone saw the pet on Facebook.
6. Talk to all your neighbors. Go several blocks in all directions & pass out posters with the pet description & photo. Post it in local restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores & any other place that will allow it.
7. Go to the impounds & shelters to actually see the animals for yourself. Don’t rely on another person contacting you. IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU SEE FOR YOURSELF!
8. Don’t give up!
A special note on house cats: Quite often the cat is frightened and hiding very near your home. Frightened cats usually do not respond to calling them during daylight hours. Wait until a couple of hours after dark, then go out calling. Walk for several blocks in all directions, constantly calling. If possible, leave a garage or porch door open a few inches and put food in that area. Consider getting a humane live trap if your cat is normally very skittish. Lost and Found
If you find a pet.
You probably have a good idea of what to do if you’ve lost your pet. Check with the shelters & law enforcement. Contact local radio stations. Put up posters. Place an ad in the “lost & found” classified. But do you know what to do if you find someone else’s lost pet? Most people don’t have a clue. Take some time to think about it. Your preparedness and quick, caring action can save an animal’s life.
*If an animal is wandering the streets, take him into safety (without putting yourself in danger). It takes just a minute for a cat or dog to be run over by a car.
*Look for tags. If the animal has a tag with his owner’s phone number, make the call for a happy reunion. A dog with a city license can quickly be traced by your county’s animal control agency. These lucky animals have a ticket home.
Notify the Authorities
*Report the lost pet to your county’s animal control agency – in Northwest Minnesota, this is usually your local police or sheriff department. Also report to any animal shelters or humane societies in your region, even if they are not in your county. If you take the animal to your animal control agency (again, usually sheriff or police department), his chances of finding his owner or a great new home are better than you might think.
*If you would like to keep the animal, ask to adopt if he should not be reunited with his family.
Your Responsibly (if you decide not to turn the pet over to authorities)
*Notify local radio stations & newspapers to give the owner a chance to locate his lost pet.
*Take the animal to a shelter or veterinarian to have him scanned for a microchip.
*Put up posters with the animal’s photo throughout the neighborhood, grocery stores, veterinary offices & restaurants.
*Check the “lost” ads in the paper & listen to the “lost & found” announcements on your local radio stations.
*Ask people in the neighborhood where the animal was found if they know who owns the animal. Don’t forget to include mail carriers, meter readers, trash collectors & children if they know the animal.
*Look for posters & fliers that may be describing your “found” pet.
*Submit a quality photo to both your local animal control agency & area humane societies. Post on social media.
The Bottom Line
A lost, frightened animal is depending on you. Do for this creature what you would want someone to do for your pet.