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Lost Pets: What to Do When Your Pet Goes Missing

Jun 30, 2015 10:22PM ● Published by North Hills Monthly magazine

By Becki DiLucia

The dog days of summer are upon us, and many of us will be spending time outside with family and friends and pets. While you celebrate this Fourth of July, or any event that includes fireworks, realize that these can be very scary for pets and many will escape through open gates and loose screen doors. No matter how or when it happens, the key is to act immediately to increase your chances of getting your pet back home.

In recent years, the Internet has become a powerful tool for bringing lost pets home. Animal Friends’ LostMyPet.org provides additional numbers and contact information for local police and animal control facilities. Additionally, sites such as craigslist.org allow you to post information about a lost pet. Be sure to check emails and postings on the sites regularly. Social media posts and groups on Facebook have also become a popular way to share information about lost pets.

Contact your local police department, animal control facility and all animal shelters in the area. Check with the animal control facility daily and ensure they have contact information for you. It is important you know the holding period for dogs is three days and there is no holding period for cats, so time is of the essence.

If your cat has wandered from home, chances are that she won’t go very far. Because of this, it is critical to let neighbors know that she could be hiding in any number of small spaces. You should ask them to check, or request permission to check, any space that looks large enough to shelter your cat, and even those that don’t look large enough. This would include areas under porches, and sheds and basements that have unsecured openings to the outside.

Creating a large, brightly colored flier with a description of your pet, a photo and contact information is essential. This flyer should be posted and/or distributed in highly trafficked areas where your pet was most recently seen, such as at intersections.

If posting is not permitted in public areas, search for community bulletin boards which allow them, or ask business owners if they would be willing to display one of your fliers. Door-to-door distribution of fliers or handing out fliers on the street in the area where your pet was last seen is time-consuming and labor intensive, but it may be one of the only ways to get the word out. Tell as many people as possible that your pet is missing, and be prepared to go and get your pet at a moment’s notice.

Preventative measures that you should take before disaster strikes include making sure that your dog or cat has an updated identification tag and is microchipped. Animal Friends offers low-cost microchipping services at all of our low-cost vaccine clinics for only $20. Visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org/Vaccine for dates and times.

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