Lost cats and dogs – what to do

This information is from Erin Childress, a volunteer with Lost Dogs of Texas, pet@scofieldridge.org

Lost cats – most of this information for dogs also applies to cats. This site http://www.lostcatfinder.com/ has good information for cats. Pet Detective Kim Freeman has a great book that people have said is very helpful. Her Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/LostCatFinder

Lost dogs –
These tips are for someone who has lost a dog and who has received an email from HelpingLostPets with a link to this page. If you did not complete their form, go to HelpingLostPets.com to report your lost dog.

For lost dogs, please start by downloading the UPDATED copy of your flyer from the links sent to you in email. (We often update your flyer by cleaning up the photo or correcting information at your request. You should check this link to make sure you have the latest version of your flyer.)

Sometimes people find dogs and try to sell them on FaceBook or Craig’s List. DO NOT CALL BEFORE READING THIS.

If you see your dog for sale take a screen shot of the ad and be sure to include the URL of the ad and all the numbers at the bottom of the ad so that it can be traced, in case the ad is removed. DO NOT call that ad yourself. Get someone who can call and NOT be emotional about it, and can pretend to want to buy the dog. They should ask no questions at all, just want to buy the dog. Do NOT tell them you are the owner.

DO NOT go to meet anyone ALONE EVER. Take back up. Notify the police BEFORE you go. BE SAFE!!

Sorry to sound alarming, but I work with Lost Dogs of Texas and this is a message we want to get across. Too many times we get contacted after the seller has removed the ad and refused to answer calls because the owner called to ask for the dog back.

Warning! Please beware of scammers. PEOPLE OR COMPANIES MAY CALL YOU SOLICITING MONEY TO FIND YOUR DOG. You will be paying for a false sense of security, as they will not do all they promise. Report these contacts to abuse@helpinglostpets.com

The following is from one of our experienced volunteers. It is her personal list of suggestions of what you need to be doing to find your dog. Please read through this several times. Go to all the links at the bottom and read that information too. Try to do as many of these things as possible. I know it is overwhelming, but dogs are found after months and sometimes these actions are the reason. Please feel free to contact LostDogTX@gmail.com if you have any questions.

When your dog goes missing…

First thing to do is put all your DIRTY laundry out on the back porch. Your dog does not have to be able to get to it, just smell it. The scent can help them find their way back home. Put out food and water and the dog’s bed on the front porch.

Then go WALKING, not driving, especially if your dog is small. Walking leaves a scent trail that can help them find their way back home. If you have another dog, take it walking with you to leave a stronger scent.

If your dog is chipped, call the micro chip company and be sure all your contact information is current and correct. If you don’t have your chip number, contact the facility where the chip was implanted.

They should be able to give that number to you.

Put a sign in your front yard, like a for sale sign that says LOST DOG.

There will be an option when you download your flyer to print a single flyer on the page or 4 to a page. You will want a few of both.

Post Flyers

Take the smaller flyers and go door to door in your neighborhood, and speak to an adult in EVERY house. Make a list of the houses where you need to go back until you speak to an adult there. Attach a flyer to the door with a rubber band if no one answers, and keep going back, until you speak to an adult. That could be the one person with information, or even holding your dog.

Post the larger flyers everywhere. Check the flyers you posted every day to be sure they are still up. If they are being taken down, put up more. If you notice a pattern in a certain area where they are being removed, it MIGHT mean that someone is trying to keep your dog. So if you notice that, put up twice as many flyers and watch them more carefully. The more flyers you keep putting up, the sooner a possible dog thief will be discouraged and give up.

Take flyers to every business in the area and ask if they will put them in their window, such as fast food places, convenience stores, gas stations, groomers, hair salons, nail salons, any and every business.

Take flyers to pizza delivery places and ask that all the drivers be given a couple of flyers and any other delivery businesses. Give flyers to the mail carrier, and any UPS driver you see in the area. Give flyers to the trash collection driver, and newspaper delivery person.

DO NOT put anything inside a mailbox or attached to a cluster mail box, because that is illegal, and you could be charged First Class postage for every flyer; postage due. Instead, use the newspaper receptacle or leave the flyer on the door if no one is home. Use a rubber band to attach it to the door knob.

Ask any nearby schools if they can put flyers in the administration office. Children are great at remembering dogs.

Get on Google maps and type in “veterinarians near (your address)” Write down the names and phone numbers of all the vets /clinics in the area. Call them all and ask for an email address where you can send them a flyer. Make a note next to each one the date you sent the flyer and keep that list. Go back and expand the area and do the same thing again. If your dog is not home in a week or so, send them all the flyer again and make a note of the date again. Keep doing that until your dog is home.

Put ads on Craigslist in Lost & Found section and in Pets section every few days. Check those sections daily for a found ad. Also check ads for dogs that need to be rehomed. It is illegal to sell animals on Craig’s List, so people get around this by calling it “rehoming” and charging hundreds of dollars.

Share your Lost Dogs of Texas flyer on every lost pet Facebook page you can find. Post on any internet community site that allows lost pet postings, such as NextDoor.com. Make the flyer your profile photo. Check your ‘Message Requests’ folder often in case people try to message you.

Messages from people who are not your ‘friends’ will usually go into the “Message Requests’ folder, instead of your inbox. (Click on “message requests” at the top of the message box and then “See filtered Requests.”)

Shelters sometimes get the gender, breed, or other details wrong in their online listings. Even if your dog has a microchip, don’t just call, but GO TO the shelters in your area AT LEAST every other day. Ask to see EVERY dog they have including the sick dogs that are sometimes in another area. GO TO the shelter SO OFTEN that every employee there knows your dog’s name when you walk in the door.

GO TO the shelter so often that every employee there would recognize you in a Walmart 50 miles away and know your dog’s name.

Instruct everyone that is helping you to NOT call or chase your dog. This will prolong your search. If they see your dog, sit or lie down (no eye contact) and gently toss out tasty treats to lure your dog in.

You can take the smaller flyers grocery stores and leave them on cars. Don’t put them under the windshield wiper, because often those aren’t noticed until a person is in the car, and most won’t get back out to get the flyer. Instead, tape it to the driver’s side window, just above the door handle. Go to churches during the service and put on cars, or go before or after the service and hand out to people in person. Always post your flyers where people gather, such as the mailbox area at apartment complexes or laundromats.

Put a large flyer on your own car window and make your car a rolling billboard: http://www.missingpetpartnership.org/recovery-tips/how-to-tag-your-car/

File a lost report with the local shelters and rescues.

How to make the best most eye-catching poster

What if you see your dog?

Please read why Rewards are NOT a good idea
http://lostdogsofwisconsin.org/2013/04/15/we-dont-recommend-offering-a-reward-for-your-missing- dog/

Leave a trail your dog can follow