Finding Your Lost Pet
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PRINT a LOST OR FOUND PET POSTER (Must have Adobe Acrobat to view/print)
Include a photo on your poster if possible. Digitize for online distribution and faxing purposes.
If your pet is not wearing identification (collar, tags, microchip, tattoo) when lost, the finder will have no way of knowing that the pet is yours and your chances of being reunited are significantly diminished. This means that it is important for you to be extra aggressive and persistent in your efforts to locate your lost pet.
Immediate and targetted activities can significantly increase your chances of success. In our 'mobile' society it is not unusual for people to commute or travel 100+ miles per day. Often, when animals are picked up by local government workers (police, street crews, etc.) they are only held locally for several hours or a day. They are then relocated to a metropolitan or regional shelter or humane society facility. You should contact your local municipality immediately to notify them of your missing pet. At this time you should also find out the procedures followed by your municipality.
Notify your mailperson, bus drivers, and others who frequently travel throughout your area. Call veterinary clinics, animal control, shelters, and follow up frequently.
Go to as many of these, and other places that you can, IN PERSON, to post/distribute flyers. In your flyers, include your first name and contact information (phone #(s) and email addresses, but not your last name or street address); the breed, age, color, sex and call name of the pet; the location and date of the disappearance as well as the time of day the pet disappeared, any unique identifying markings/marks, that a reward is offered (if there is) but, not the amount. If you have a digitized photo or can have your photo digitized, add a photo to your flyer, it will significantly aid those trying to help you locate your pet. Try to use high contrast paper and utilize fonts and design to make your piece 'stand out'.
Enlist the assistance of friends and family.
If your pet is found by a 'commuter' the more quickly you begin your search, the more likely you are to contact them before they leave the area with your pet. Do not wait for your pet to come home 'on his or her own'. If your pet has 'run off', assume that he/she will not be coming back, without your assistance.
The more quickly you can begin covering the most logical areas and the more tools you can use, the better your chances of finding your lost pet. What does your pet like? What might he/she have been attracted to? Were there any organized events or attractions that might have attracted your pet? - a lake, a pool, dumpsters with food, picnics, reunions, playgrounds, etc. Who is responsible for the area? (i.e., parks department, state DNR, public works, etc.) What event organizers might you might be able to contact? (i.e., Boy/Girl Scout troops, company picnics, reunions, etc.) Immediately visit surrounding area businesses and other locations where people congregate to ask if anyone has seen your pet. Using a map of the surrounding area, immediately identify the 'prime' areas to visit. Begin your search from the exact location the pet has been lost and work in a circular pattern, widening your radius as you search. Restaurants, businesses with outdoor lunch facilities, playgrounds, etc. are often pet 'magnets'. Again, take a photo and flyers with you as well as extras for anyone willing to help with distribution. Incorporate your knowledge and experience with your pet when targetting your efforts. Does your pet like water/swimming? (ponds, lakes, etc.) Is your pet drawn to children? (playgrounds, schools, parks) Is there a restaurant/outdoor eating area that your pet might be drawn to?
Widen your radius as time goes by as much as is possible (100 miles or a 1.5 - 2 hour drive, at a minimum), plaster pet shops/pet supply and feed stores, veterinarian offices, groomers, boarding kennels, dog parks, grocery stores, minimarts, gas stations, etc. with flyers w/a clear photo. If you have the ability to make flyers available online, via ftp, as email attachments, or through faxing, it may help you cover more ground, more efficiently. Especially, if you can find businesses, friends, volunteer contacts, etc. to print and post them in cities within the outlying areas of the radius you wish to cover.
Place ads in the local/regional papers (especially community-type newspapers). Some offer this service free of charge. Check the found listings in these same papers religiously. Call all the shelters/rescues within this radius, FREQUENTLY. If possible, take or send a photo/flyer to these organizations. Visit this comprehensive list of Midwest Humane Societies and Shelters to locate organizations in your region. Other shelters and Humane Society listings and directories, worldwide, can be found on the DogInfomat's Shelters & Advocacy Pages.
You can shorten or extend your parameter, but analyze your region/area considering commuting, highway proximity, parks and attractions/events that may have drawn visitors from outside the immediate area, the date, day and time (i.e., a weekday or weekend can affect the flow of people in and out of an area).
REMEMBER, your BEST line of defense against LOSING your pet PERMANENTLY is to ALWAYS make sure your pet has on his/her collar and tags securely in place BEFORE you let him/her out of the door. Make sure your pet's ID tag includes your current phone number and that your pet is wearing his/her license. Additionally, write your pet's name, your name, and phone number, with a permanent marker, directly on the collar. Microchipping and tattooing are highly recommended, permanent, solutions that can help asisst in the identification and return of your pet. There are several advantages to using one, or both, of these permanent identification methods. Please read Keeping Your Pet Safe, for further information.
LOST & FOUND
BirdBoard.Com - Lost & Found
Pet Harbor - A network with a searchable database of shelter animals. Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control posts the animals at their facility here.
Hugs for Homeless Animals - Lost & Found
There are hundreds of large classified type services online. Unfortunately, I have found many of them do not stay operational long term. Therefore, with a few exceptions, I have discontinued listing direct links to them. You will find some of them listed in the Google Directory under Pets - Lost and Found
SHELTER & RESCUE LISTINGS
Hugs for Homeless Animals, Worldwide Shelter & Rescue Directories:
Directory of US States
The DogInfomat's Shelter & Advocacy Page lists several shelters by location
including a Midwest Shelters Directory, Minnesota Shelter Directory, and
The Breeds Sections contain many links to national and international rescue organizations. Go the the Alpha Index of Breeds to locate the section for your breed.
IDENTIFICATION & TIPS
AKC Companion Animal Recovery Program - Permanently ID'ed Dogs Only
Finding Lost and Stolen Pets Lisa Messmer
"How to Find a Lost Cat or Dog," Pet Action League
2007 Lost/Found Listings
2006 Lost/Found Listings
Recently Closed Listings
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin
Midwest Rescue Directory
Submit a Lost/Found Pet Listing
Finding Your Lost Pet
Keeping Your Pet Safe
Online Newspapers by State (offsite)
Directory of other MPN sites
Midwest MPN HOME
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