IF YOU'VE LOST YOUR PET:
1. Begin by thoroughly searching your home to confirm your pet is not just hiding or is trapped somewhere inside. Check every room -- look in closets and look behind, in, and under every piece of furniture or appliance in each room. Enlist the help of anyone who is home to do the same. Use things that may attract your pet as you look -- rattle their food bowl, shake a box of treats, or squeeze their favorite squeaky toy. It is very important to remember that your pet will come quicker to a calm and happy voice.
2. Next, search your neighborhood and if possible, leave someone at home, as your pet may return on its own. If your pet has identification tags, someone should be home to answer a call from a potential “finder”. Walk, ride a bicycle, or drive slowly through your neighborhood. Bring your pet’s favorite things with you -- rattle the box of treats or squeak their favorite toy loudly while calling your pet's name. It's important to stop regularly and listen for signs your pet may be near, like other barking dogs, whining or whimpering sounds. If your pet has not been found with your initial search, you must regroup at this point and get the word out!
Contact your local animal shelters
Contact the local police or sheriff's dept
Post an ad in your local newspaper(s), including the county
3. Post your lost pet information on PetRunaways.com. There is no fee, and no registration or login is required! Once uploaded, your missing pet's information will be visible to thousands of potential pet “finders”. As part of the posting process, you may choose to generate Lost Pet flyers directly from this site as well.
4. Prepare for your next search, making sure you have a flashlight with you to look under bushes, behind cars, under porches, etc. Even if you start searching during the day you might find yourself searching into the night. With your flyers in hand (and hopefully, friends or family to help) it’s time to hit the streets. In addition to the immediate area of your pet's last known location, good places to post your Lost Pet flyers may include dog parks, pet supply stores, veterinary offices, grocery and convenience stores, schools and playgrounds. Make sure to secure the property owner's permission before posting your flyers! It is also a good Idea to have proof of ownership of your lost animal. A potential finder may ask for proof that you own the pet they found.
5. Use your pet's powerful sense of smell to your advantage. Leave recently unwashed clothing or other items belonging to the family outside your front door or on the back porch where your scent may be carried. A familiar scent may be enough to bring a wandering pet home.
6. Be calm and patient. Even the friendliest and most social pet may quickly become shy and scared when lost. Your pet may run away and hide if he sees anyone, and possible even you. If someone spots your missing pet they should not chase them, as this may scare them more. Instead, the spotter should sit or kneel on the ground, talk in calm and happy voice, repeating his name and familiar phrases over and over again. Frightened pets will usually stick around, and after some time, come closer and closer. Don’t rush this!
7. You or one of your helpers should also start making phone calls. Look on Petrunaways.com under "References" for the numbers for municipal and privately owned animal control, policing agencies and animal shelters in your area. Your first calls should be to these agencies: one of them might already have your pet in custody. If possible, all of the neighboring animal shelters should be visited IN PERSON on a daily basis.
8. Network, network, network. The internet and social media was made for networking. In addition to listing on Petrunaways.com, use Facebook, Twitter, and any other media hubs available to send information and photos of your lost pet to local friends, colleagues and family members. Ask them to pass on the info to anyone they can. The more eyes looking for your pet, the better chance of a safe return.
9. Leave no stone unturned. Sadly, if your pet remains missing, you may find it necessary to research whether your pet has been found fatally injured on the road. The road crews for your local and state department of transportation (DOT) are usually in charge of picking up deceased animals from the roadside and city streets. Animal Control will sometimes do this as well. This call, though painful, may give you closure.
10. Most importantly, don’t give up! Remember that many lost animals find their way back home!
IF YOU'VE FOUND SOMEONE'S LOST PET:
1. Your own safety should be your first concern. Even the friendliest pet may bite if frightened. If you see signs of aggression or fear in the animal, and you suspect it presents a threat of any kind, we recommend you first contact your local animal control agency. Look on Petrunaways.com under "Resources" for the numbers for municipal and privately owned animal control, policing agencies, or animal shelters. You should also check with these authorities about laws or ordinances that may apply to you if you plan on temporally housing the stray or lost animal.
2. If you keep the lost animal in your care, confine the animal in a safe place, use leashes and pet carriers when walking or transporting pets, and keep gates locked if the pet is staying outside. Don’t allow your own pets or children to have direct contact with the found pet. Remember, his/her medical condition and history, reproductive capabilities, and personality are unconfirmed.
3. Write down information about the animal; include pet species (bird, cat, dog, etc.), breed, sex, age, size, color(s). Note any collar(s) the pet may be wearing and note the date and location where the pet was found. This is also a good time to take a photo of the animal if possible. Keep in mind, even pets with no visible identification may still have identification in the form of a microchip embedded under his skin that will help in tracking down its owner.
4. Phone your neighbors with the pet's description. This pet may be closer to home than you suspect!
5. Report the lost pet to local agencies and place an ad in your local newspaper(s). Most newspapers offer this service free. Look on Petrunaways.com under "References" for the numbers for municipal and privately-owned animal control, policing agencies, animal shelters and newspapers in your area.
6. Check the Lost Pets section of Petrunaways.com (as well as local newspapers and other social media). It is possible that the pet's owner has already listed his pet as missing. Carefully compare the details of the listing with the pet you have found, and if you believe the two match, contact the potential owner. Please refer to #9 below.
7. Post the pet information in Found Pets on PetRunaways.com if you don't see a match in the Lost Pets section. No registration is required, and there is NO fee for this service! Once uploaded, the found pet's information will be visible to people all over the country who have lost a pet! As part of the posting process on Petrunaways.com, you have the option to generate a Found Pet flyer to print. You may also wish to place a Found Pet ad in your local newspapers. Most newspapers will not charge a fee for this service. Be sure to check the “Lost Pets” section of the paper.
8. It's time to take it to the street. With Found Pet flyers in hand (and hopefully, friends and/or family to help) it’s time to hit the streets. In addition to the location where the animal was found, good places to post your Found Pet flyers may include dog parks, pet supply stores, veterinary offices, grocery and convenience stores, schools and playgrounds. Make sure to secure the property owner's permission before posting your flyers!
Remember: The objective is to find the owner as quickly as possible.
9. Verifying Claims Of Pet Ownership. Your search appears to be over because someone is claiming to be the pet's owner, but how can you be sure? While a rare occurance, it is possible that unscrupulous people may scan lost pet listings in order to falsely claim an attractive or expensive pet as theirs.They simply repeat the detailed description listed to identify "their" pet (see other potential scams in the section below). Since the pet's name and owner's description of him/her may not be conclusive proof of ownership, we recommend that you ask the potential owner to present one or more of the following documents in order to claim his/her pet: Current rabies tag and certificate; veterinary clinic treatment records; picture or pictures of owner and pet together; adoption paperwork; sales slips; American Kennel Club (AKC) papers, or brand inspections etc.
LET'S ALL WORK TOGETHER TO GET THESE PETS HOME!
Posting on Petrunaways.com
is an excellent way to find your lost pet or return a pet to its home. We strive to be the easiest, most comprehensive tool available for lost pet locating, however our ultimate goal is not to promote our site but to reunite pets with owners. With that in mind, we've provided a collection of other forums that might be useful to check as well. While we are not responsible for the function of the sites listed below, we are interested to know if the links are current. Please email us with problems or other useful sites at: firstname.lastname@example.org
American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Universal Pet Microchip Lookup
The Center For Lost Pets
Missing Pet Network
BEWARE OF SCAMS:
Losing a pet can be devastating, leaving desperate and heartbroken pet owners vulnerable to the manipulations of cruel scammers. By checking 'lost pet' ads, these unscrupulous people find their next victim. Here are some common scams, and also some tips on how you can help your pet stay safe.
"Pay The Reward First" Scam:
You receive a phone call from someone claiming (falsely) that they have your lost pet. This person asks that the reward money be sent to them first before they return the pet. If you refuse, they may even threaten to hurt the pet in order to pressure you into paying.
"Pet Psychic" Scam:
You are contacted by someone who says "I lost my dog several months ago and I used a pet psychic who located my pet in 1 day." This e-mail or post may be from the “pet psychic” themselves using an alternate e-mail. If you decide to use a pet psychic, ask for referrals and make sure they have a legitimate business first.
"Pet Tracker" Scam:
Someone may claim to be a professional tracker or may say they have a tracking or search dog, and for a certain amount of money they will "search" for your lost pet. In this case, be sure to ask their success rate and references for pets they have found; follow up by actually contacting the pet owners referenced. Any legitimate tracker will be happy to supply this information. There are legitimate people offering this service, but we suggest you do your research thoroughly before choosing this option.
"Truck Driver" Scam:
Someone claiming to be a long-haul truck driver tells you that they came across your pet while driving. They will often asks you to send money so that they can pay to have you pet transported back to you.
You receive a call from someone who says that they think they have your lost pet. After talking to you for a while and collecting information about your pet, they tell you they are mistaken and it's not your pet they have after all. They then give all the information about your pet to a partner. This partner contacts you and gives an accurate description of your pet (gleaned from your previous conversation), then asks for a reward before they'll return your pet.
"Airline Ticket" Scam:
Someone calls and claims that your pet somehow ended up in a different state. They ask you to send money for a travel kennel and an airline ticket and they'll ship your pet back. Again, this person asks for money first.
There are variations of the ones listed above as well as others. Be cautious; never send a reward or other payment until your pet is home safe with you. If you agree to meet someone who claims to have your pet, do not go alone to meet this stranger. To check that the person really does have your pet, ask him to describe a specific detail about your animal not advertised on Petrunaways.com or on any lost pet flyers.
KEEPING YOUR RECOVERED PET SAFE:
1. Make sure your pet wears current ID tags at all times.
2. Consider getting your pet microchipped by your veterinarian.
3. Try not to leave your pet outside unattended. If they are outside alone, check on them regularly. In particular, do not leave them outside unattended if you're not home!
4.Keep your fence secure and in good condition. If your dog is an "escape artist," don’t leave them outside. Talk with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer who can help with this behavior.