It can happen to anyone: your dog or cat gone missing in a split second. It’s a scary prospect, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel helpless. We have found several pets following the tips and suggestions below; we hope they will help you as well.
Report your pet as missing.
Log on to www.petfinder.com and list your pet as missing (go to Classifieds>Lost Pets); you can also add a picture. Petfinder.com will allow you to sign up to receive an email if an animal matching the description of your pet is posted on their site. Your pet may be posted as found or as available for adoption. (Some finders do not want to turn an animal over to a shelter that euthanizes unadoptable animals. Shelters have no choice but to euthanize unadoptable animals when their facility is full.) All “no kill” organizations in this area operate with foster homes or board animals at small, private venues.
Petfinder.com also has a list of shelters in the area, which you can contact with details/photo of you missing pet either by phone or email. Some shelters may list the pets they receive on the website, but please remember that they are always very busy and may not have an opportunity to list your pet on their website right away. REMEMBER YOUR DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PET MAY BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE PERSON THAT LOGGED YOUR PET INTO THEIR SYSTEM. So if you have time you may want to check the shelters by physically going to them. Ask a friend or relative to help you.
Your pet may also be at a shelter closest to the home or work place of a finder. We cannot emphasize enough the need to visit your local shelters as often as their staff recommends. A list of local shelters is provided at the end of this document.
Important information when trying to locate your pet
Please provide the following:
- Where the animal was lost. A minimum is state, county, city, and street name, with cross streets. The name of your housing development is not enough.
- When the animal was lost. Please give the date, and a general time of day, if known.
- A description of the animal, including color and markings.
- Include age, sex, and approximate size and/or weight
- Indicate if the animal was wearing tags or was tattooed or micro-chipped
- Provide your pet’s name
- Indicate whether or not your pet is approachable by a stranger or whether they should notify you first
- Indicate whether your pet is spayed or neutered; if a cat, if he/she is cat declawed.
- Describe your pet in detail. Giving a breed or species name is not enough. Not everyone knows what a conyer looks like and or what color you mean when you say a dog is blue or a cat is red.
- Provide a picture of your pet (this is VERY HELPFUL).
- Contact Information. Include your name, email, telephone numbers, and the best time of day to reach you. You may also want to include another person if for some reason you are not available.
- Whether you offer a reward.
- The circumstances of how your animal was lost can be very helpful. For instance, if your dog was frightened by fireworks, he may have spent quite a while running. If your animal mats easily, or likes to roll in the mud, that may help.
Dealing with shelters
When you contact shelters, get directions to their facility and find out their policies on coming to check for your pet. The receptionist will page for a kennel attendant to accompany you to the holding and adoption areas. Shelters also have an isolation area for animals under the doctor’s care; ask them to check this area as well. Bring a picture or vet records so that they can check these areas and confirm your ownership. The shelters want to make sure they are pairing lost pets and their owners; not falling victim to someone trying to get their hands on a highly adoptable animal by claiming they lost a pet matching the description they provide.
Plan on visiting local facilities as often as their practices suggest in order to avoid euthanasia or adoption of your pet. When you make your phone call to get this information, make an official lost report as they recommend. Don’t assume an email or fax is the most efficient way to communicate your need to shelter staff. Make sure you update your lost report weekly with the shelter.
Check with local police or animal control officers in your township. You may also want to check with animal control officers from adjoining townships.
Also check with other area S.P.C.A.s. The animal may have crossed the county line and may have been taken to another shelter.
Enlist community resources
You can also check local vets in the area, as well the local after-hours pet emergency clinics. Leave flyers with your pet’s picture and your contact information, including a telephone number; also post these flyers in high traffic areas like telephone poles, pet store windows, groomers, grocery stores, schools (kids are sometimes more observant when it comes to animals), etc. Make sure they are visible and easy to read from a moving car.
Ask family, friends, and neighbors to help you search for your pet as soon as you realize your pet is missing. Also speak with people who walk dogs in your neighborhood. Walk, bike, drive, or jog through your neighborhood every day and more than once to find your missing pet.
Give your mail carrier, garbage man and pizza delivery drivers a copy of your lost pet poster. These carriers travel your neighborhood 6-7 days a week.
Finally, you can place an ad in the local newspaper – be sure to also check them for someone locating your pet in the Lost/Found Section.
What else can you do?
If you lost your pet away from home, it might be best to return to the site where you were separated at quiet hours and try locating them then. Be sure to stop, be quiet and listen for faint cries from your pet. If they are frightened they might remain in hiding. Bring a flashlight with you. If possible, bring someone with you for safety reasons.
If you have lost an indoor cat, it may help to leave his/her litter box outside to help them find their way home. You may also set a humane trap in a protected area near your home such as under a porch or in bushes. You may be able to borrow one from a local animal control officer, rescue group or shelter. Put an article of clothing with a favorite family member’s scent on it over the trap and make sure the only food and water you put out is in the trap. Indoor cats do not travel far. Check the trap often.
Unfortunately, you may also want to check with the local sanitation department. If the animal is dead, they may have been notified to remove the body.
List of shelters and organizations — call to make a lost/found report
PAWS Adoption Center
100 N. 2nd Street (at Arch)
Philadelphia, PA 19106
PSPCA ACT FOSTER PROGRAM
111 West Hunting Park Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140
The Morris Animal Refuge
1242 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147
Camden County ANIMAL SHELTER
125 County House Road
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Delaware County SPCA
555 Sandy Bank Road
Media, PA 19063
Montgomery County SPCA, Abington
1006 Edge Hill Road
Roslyn, PA 19001
1059 Sweifford Road
Perkiomenville, PA 18074
Montgomery County SPCA, Conshohocken
19 E. Ridge Pike
PO Box 222
Conshohocken, PA 19428-0222
Women’s Humane Society Bucks County
3839 Richlieu Rd, PO Box 1470
Bensalem, PA 19020
Bucks County SPCA
1665 Street Road P.O. Box 277
Lahaska, PA 18931
The Chester County SPCA
1212 Phoenixville Pike
West Chester, PA 19380
Humane Society Berks County
1801 N. 11th Street
Reading, PA 19604
Additional useful resources
www.craigslist.org – You could list your pet in the Lost and Found section and in the Pets section. Check CraigsList daily for found pets and pets for adoption
http://zachalert.org Zachalert is a dedicated group of volunteers in our area that can assist you in your search. Reach out to them and utilize the recommendations contained on this page.
http://www.petrescue.com/library/find-pet.htm -for search suggestions
www.catsinthebag.org -Search suggestions about missing cats
www.lostapet.org Information about how to search based on animal’s behaviors
www.fidofinder.com -A directory of lost dogs
www.911parrotalert.com -Information on lost and found parrots all around the world and offer support and guidance to members
www.petharbor.com – File lost report and create lost posters for your missing pet.
www.missingpetpartnership.org -Helpful suggestions and they have additional information about hiring a pet detective. Do this immediately after your pet goes missing.
www.BucksCountyAds.com -You can place a lost and found ad for free.
*** BE SURE TO REMOVE YOUR PET ONCE IT IS LOCATED **
***PLEASE MICROCHIP YOUR PET***
*** PURCHASE A COLLAR WHICH INCLUDES AN ID TAG***
***HAVE PICTURES TAKEN OF YOU WITH YOUR PETS***