Looking for a lost pet
It is extremely stressful if your pet goes missing. The key is to be as quick as possible and to look in the obvious places first.
1. Start close to home. Thoroughly check, inside your home and make sure to look in every hidey-hole, cupboard and drawer, washing machine, dryer, everything, in case they may have found a new, warm place to sleep and then been accidentally locked in.
2. Scour the outside of your house, including the back yard, the shed, under the house, anywhere there may be a space.
3. Place some items that smell of home (unwashed clothes, favorite toys, the litter box) outside your home to help them home through their acute sense of smell.
4. Ask your neighbours if they have seen your pet. Ask to check their yards, sheds, in and under their houses. Then recruit your neighbours to keep an eye out or even to help you look.
5. Collect your pet’s information so that you have it on hand and you can begin to circulate it. Write a detailed description of your pet including – breed, color, size, age, collar, council tag number, microchip number, name, phone number and/or address that you engraved on its tag.
6. Start walking the streets and talk to everyone. Carry their favorite food, rattle a biscuit tin and call their name. They may stay hidden if frightened or injured so carry a torch to check dark hidey-holes.
7. Phone your local veterinary clinic and also any other veterinary clinics in the area and alert them. Missing and injured pets are commonly taken directly to veterinary surgeries. Vets are a usually a good source of specific local information, so ask for any recommendations of other places that you should look and contact.
8. Phone the microchip database company who keeps the record of your pet’s identification details. Check that the contact details such as your phone number are current. Advise them that your pet is lost.
9. Phone your local council ASAP. If your pet has been lost you must notify your local council within 72 hours and if your animal is found you must also let council know that your pet has returned home.
10. Contact the council pound and all the animal shelters in your city with the details of your pet and ask them to record your details so they can get in touch with you if they find your pet. Call back regularly.
11. Do not depend on phone calls to ascertain whether your pet is in the shelter or pound. Other’s may describe the look of your pet differently to you and may miss it. Go there yourself and ask to look through the pens. Visit every few days as State laws vary as to how long an animal has to be kept before it can be re-housed or euthanized.
12. Widen the search with a “flyer” with the description of your pet, a recent photo, your contact details and the date. Then photocopy and distribute this as far and wide as possible- letterboxes, local shops, schools, supermarket notice boards, vet clinics, animal welfare shelters and council pounds. Keep one marking on your pet a secret so that if someone rings, you can ascertain that the pet is indeed yours or not.
13. Place advertisements in Lost and Found in the local and large newspapers and check the found sections daily.
14. Phone breed clubs of your breed as they often ‘rescue’ dogs of their particular breed from vets and pounds.
15. Phone radio stations. Many love to help as it is a wonderful good news story when they are found.
16. Utilize the web. Twitter and Face book can help quickly distribute information about your lost pet. There are also specific lost and found pet registers to help reunite pets and owners.
17. You can even employ a company like Petsearch www.petsearch.com.au they are a business dedicated to reuniting lost pets and their owners.
It is a very traumatic time when a pet is lost and everyone wants a good result so utilise your friends and family as speed is the essence. If your pet has been lost you must notify your local council within 72 hours and if your animal is found you must also let council know that your pet has returned home.
Author Dr Kristen Steele
Pets that are missing -If your pet is ‘lost’ and you do not know if they are alive or dead, this can be one of the most challenging situations to respond to.