Lost & Found
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PET IS LOST
First and foremost, it cannot be stressed enough that your pet must have
identification. Even if you’re pet is kept only inside your home or your fenced backyard (which is what most of us do), you never know. Accidents happen; animals slip by your legs or a gate isn’t latched properly and your pet is gone in a heartbeat. Microchipping is good, but should not be the only identification your pet has. Not everyone that finds your dog will have the equipment to read it. It is also possible for the chip to move through the animal’s body and no longer be in the spot the technician/reader expects it to be. Make sure your dog has identification tags attached to his collar whether he’s microchipped or not! And, be sure the information on the tags is current. Old phone numbers will not help your pet get home.
Lost Pet Packet
Everyone who owns a pet should put together a “Lost Pet Packet” to have handy in case of an emergency. No one wants to lose a pet, and certainly no one plans on it happening, so being prepared ahead of time will help calm the situation. There are certain items you should collect and put in your packet, and most of these must be updated regularly. This is also something that you should show your pet sitter, dog walker, housekeeper and baby sitter in case something should happen when you’re not around.
- Have a current photo of the pet. It is even a good idea to have a photo that includes you or another member (the owners) and pet together. This will help identify you as the owner of the pet, as well as aid in finding the pet.
- Write out a description of your pet while looking at him. Note all scars, markings and features that would aid in the pet’s identification. Remember that everyone may not be familiar with your breed of dog so a good physical description is very important.
- Make a list of names and phone numbers of local veterinarians, police departments, radio and television stations, animal shelters, humane societies, rescue groups & locator groups (i.e. the Lost Pet Registry in KC) so that information will be readily available. You may find much of this information on our website.
- Make sure you include a copy of your pet’s current vaccination records.
You THINK your pet is missing…
The first thing to do is to MAKE SURE HE’S REALLY MISSING! Check all areas of the house, both inside and outside; the yard, the car and check with every member of the household. The animal may have been closed in a room, in a closet, in the basement or the garage, the washer & dryer, the false ceiling, etc. He may be hiding under a bed or other family members may have taken the pet for a car ride to the store or for a walk. I know someone who found her cat in the freezer one morning (alive and well, don’t worry) because her housemate had gone to the kitchen for a drink in the middle of the night and didn’t notice the cat had quietly climbed into the freezer when he opened it to get some ice.
If you don’t find your pet anywhere…
1. YOUR PET IS MISSING – Get organized and act quickly! Get your Lost Pet Packet out to speed the process. Sometimes hours can make all the difference. Animal Control facilities and Animal Shelters may only be required to hold stray dogs for a limited period of time.
2. MAKE CALLS – Call the resources you have listed in the Lost Pet Packet. Ask the shelters for their procedures in handling lost pets. Describe your pet with a physical description as well as breed type. Don’t forget to ask neighbors, mail carrier, garbage collector, school children, and “dog people” in the area about your missing pet. You should also contact local resources such as KC Pet Connect, www.kcpetconnect.com, 913.538.5739 or 800.213.8350 and the Lost Dog Registry, 816.333.0020. They accept information for both lost and found pets.
3. GO DOOR TO DOOR – In addition to putting flyers up in the area, go door to door and start talking to people. You’d be surprised at how many animals can be tracked because people saw them wandering the streets. It may at least be helpful in pointing you in the right direction.
4. PUT A SIGN IN YOUR YARD – Place a yard sign in front of YOUR house, with a photo of your missing pet and your contact numbers. People who find a dog will often walk or drive around the area, trying to find the pet’s owner.
5. BE AVAILABLE - Make sure there is someone home to take calls or that your cell phone is turned on, the ringer volume is turned up to the maximum volume, and within reach so you are less likely to miss the important call when it comes.
6. DISTRIBUTE YOUR FLYERS – Give flyers to the people listed in your
Lost Pet Packet. Post them in the usual places; on telephone poles, street signs, etc., but even more importantly you should make sure to post them in local supermarkets, stores, gas stations, community centers, town halls – anywhere a group of people can see them. Check with neighborhood schools to see if they have a posting board – children walking to and from school may see your pet. Don’t put every detail about your pet on the flyer (or in any ads you place). Leave off a few details so you have something to ask about if someone calls claiming to have your pet.
7. PLACE ADVERTISEMENTS – Daily and weekly papers in the area where the pet is lost are a good source. Keep advertisements running for as long as possible. There are also Internet services that will post a lost pet ad for you as well. Remember to check all “found” ads.
8. USE SOCIAL MEDIA – Post a photo, a written description of your pet, your pet’s name, your contact information, where your pet was last seen, etc. and ask your friends to share and re-post the information. You never know who might ultimately see your Facebook of Twitter post.
9. VISIT – Make sure to go in person to the local humane shelters and Animal Control facilities every other day. Sometimes people may not recognize your dog from the description given so calling may not be adequate. Take several flyers for their lost & found bulletin boards. Sometimes they do not have the time to check the description against the animal received. You should also ask the person at the front desk if the only animals they are holding are those available for public viewing. They may be holding other animals in “the back” that aren’t out for the public to see for one reason or another.
10. CALL – Although this may seem morbid, it is a good idea to check with the responsible parties that handle dead animals at least once a week until your pet is found. It is important not to wait too long because the people might not remember where they picked up a dead animal on the road.
11. WHEN YOUR PET IS FINALLY HOME – Make sure and notify the people you have contacted so that they can stop looking. Take down all flyers and stop running ads. This is a courtesy that should not be overlooked.
12. IMPORTANT – If someone calls to collect a reward, NEVER MEET THIS PERSON ALONE. Be sure that someone attends the meeting with you. And, never send money to anyone before you have your pet in hand. If you receive a ransom demand, CALL THE POLICE! They will direct you. Do NOT take the law into your own hands!