What to do if You've Lost Your Pet
In this day of social media your best resource is to get pictures of your pet and your contact information online ASAP. This means facebook, craigslist, etc. Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Cats of Wisconsin are the best places to start. Feel free to post pictures to our
facebook page, too. Then…
Lost Your Pet?
Here are some basic steps to take:
- As soon as possible, start alerting all appropriate agencies. This means law enforcement and all rescue organizations within at least a 60 mile radius. Submit a full description of your pet and
include pictures whenever possible.
- Why such a big radius? Often people pick up a pet on their way to or from work, and turn it in to a shelter quite far from where the pet was lost.
- Call these agencies often, and when possible, visit the facilites in person to search for your pet. One person's gray tiger kitty is another person's brown tabby. You might think your dog looks
like a shepherd, someone else might think he looks like a collie.
- Place classified ads. Ask local radio stations to place an ad. Place an ad on Craigslist. Put up flyers wherever you can, especially at local veterinary clinics. On Facebook, contact Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Cats of Wisconsin.
- Offer a small reward, even if it's only $20, but be wary of scammers preying on your emotions. A useful tip when filing lost reports is to mention that your pet needs daily medication.
- Search for your pet yourself, don't rely on neighbors to just keep an eye out. Especially when searching for a cat or any fearful pet, focus your searches on quite times of day, such as early
mornings or right before bedtimes. Look under porches and in outbuildings, even if the doors are shut. They might have been open, and got shut, trapping your pet inside.
- When searching for a house cat, try placing their UNCLEANED litterbox directly outside the door of escape. The smell of their bathroom often brings them home. Walk around with several
unopened cans of canned cat food, and tap on the cans with a spoon, or crack open the cans. These noises signal dinnertime to most cats and they might just come running!
- When searching for a dog, in those cases where you know the dog is in a certain vicinity, try leaving out a familiar blanket, or article of clothing like a bathrobe or sweatshirt, that really,
really smells like family, with some food, and gradually move this makeshift nest in the direction of home.
Found A Pet?
- Please, please, please do not feel obligated to keep it!
- Many people find a stray cat or dog and simply add the pet to their own furry family. There might be someone searching for this pet! PLEASE contact law enforcement or the appropriate rescue
agency. This is the only way the pet can be reunited with it's family! Please do not assume that because a pet is without it's owner that it's family does not deserve the same consideration you would
hope for if your pet were lost. Accidents happen to the best of us, and they always seem to happen the minute you take the pet's collar off!
- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE PET SCANNED FOR A MICROCHIP! We can do that here, or you can have it done at any veterinary clinic.
- Don't assume that if the pet is in less that perfect condition that it has been a victim of abuse. Cats and dogs have been known to be missing for days, weeks, or even months before finding their
way into rescue.
- Don't assume that a fearful animal has been abused. Many pets well socialized pets will become naturally wary when fending for themselves, they are animals, after all. A fearful animal is likely
just behaving defensively, and when reunted with it's owner, will display entirely different behaviors (we see that here all the time!)
- If you refuse to take the pet to the appropriate facility, at least follow the principles in the above steps to make known that you have a homeless pet in your custody.
- Ask potential owners to provide proof of ownership, such as photographs or veterinary records.