By Dan Krosse
IT’S A STARTLING STATISTIC, BUT ONE OUT OF THREE PETS WILL GO MISSING IN THEIR LIFETIME! THAT’S 10-MILLION ANIMALS EACH YEAR. SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR PET GOES MISSING, OR IF YOU RUN ACROSS A MISSING PET? LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK.
BEFORE YOUR PET GOES MISSING
Doing a little work now, before any pet goes missing, will save you a lot of worry and heartache in the future.
Don’t forget the basics. Every pet should have a microchip, wear a collar and have an easily readable tag with their name, phone number and address. These are MUSTS!
As importantly, upload a photo today to lost.petcolove.org. Five minutes on this website and you can upload your pet’s information and have the peace of mind knowing that your uploaded photo will be shared in a national database. What’s special is that this database will use facial recognition technology to determine whether your lost pet is being housed at a nearby shelter or with a neighbor in the community. And it’s completely free!
“Our goal is to keep pets where they belong – at home, with you,” said Petco Love President Susanne Kogut.
IF YOUR PET GOES MISSING
As traumatic as it can be to lose a pet, taking immediate
action could help bring your pet home faster. First, search the neighborhood. One out of 10 cats are found with a neighbor. So don’t hesitate to knock on doors – and be sure to bring a photo to show. Get the mail carrier involved!
Make flyers and put them up around your neighborhood. One thing to keep in mind when searching, is your pet’s personality. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS),
“A confident, outgoing pet may have made new friends, while a shy or easily scared pet is more likely to be hiding somewhere or staying clear of strangers.” You may need to walk and scan your neighborhood several times to finally find your lost pet.
If you haven’t already uploaded your photo to lost.petcolove. org – do it now. As soon as it’s uploaded, the database can scan area shelters and a neighbor who may have uploaded a lost pet – to see if there’s a match.
Don’t forget to post your pet’s photo on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Nextdoor. The posts are shared, and the reach can grow exponentially
ANOTHER TIP FROM THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE US
If your pet is microchipped, be sure to notify the microchip company so your pet can be flagged as lost.
The next step is to contact your area animal shelters. Remember that your dog or cat doesn’t know where the county line is – so the HSUS recommends filing a lost pet report with every shelter within your county and even neighboring counties. Many times, people will take a pet to a shelter in another county, simply because it’s where they’re staying on their visit. It’s important you make time to visit shelters in-person.
Unfortunately, there is no centralized system, so you will have to be diligent in your shelter search. “In the Tricounty area alone, we have five animal shelters, 21 rescue groups, 34 lost & found Facebook pages and groups, 80 vet clinics, 34 pet stores and feed stores, and the list goes on,” said No Kill South Carolina Chief Project Director Abigail Appleton, PMP, CAWA. “In-person searches, combined with online outreach is really the best recipe for success.”
Never give up hope. Animals lost for weeks, even years are found every day.