With the frigid cold temperatures in Colorado right now we all really need to help those lost cats and dogs find their way home. There are so many resources available but people get in a panic and don’t know what to do first or where to turn.
It’s a four pronged approach according to the pet lovers at Pooch & Claws, Colorado Lost & Found Pets and Colorado Springs Pet Alert Facebook pages. They call it the “Standard Four” and give a link to that list to all people who have lost or found a cat or dog (or any other animal) who posts to their Facebook pages.
Four things to do when you have lost or found a pet.
Whether you have lost a pet or found one, there are four tasks you should do right away. We learned some since posting this, and added one other task that seems vital.
- File a report with the Humane Society. Some shelters allows this to be done onlie, but YOU should also go to the shelter. The shelters will often keep a list of animals not for public view. It also give you a chance to go through their found/lost reports that are not usually online.
Metro Denver Alliance
List of Pet Rescue Shelters by City
City and State Roads (deceased animals): This will vary by city and county. Check with your shelter for how your area handles deceased pets.
Add yourself to the pet harbor email list: Check all the shelters in your area by going to Petharbor.com This is a site that can search a broader area, but should not replace going to the Humane Society/Shelter closest to where your pet was Pet harbor.com will allow you to search at shelters within a 200 mile radius of your zip code. You can request to get notification on new pets coming in. (They also offer a service to send out postcard flyers to a certain zip code)
- Check/Post to Craigslist this is a place a lot of people go to when a pet is lost/found. Craigslist can be tricky.
When Posting: Be clear if you have FOUND a dog. Post in Lost and Found or in Pets, or both. Include a picture. We know there is concern about someone claiming a dog that is not their, but leaving a picture out makes it tough for the people who are sincerely trying to find their pet. There are other ways to confirm ownership.
When Searching: Some people will post “LOST DOG” when they FOUND a lost dog. The breeds can be wrong — we have seen a cattle dog listed as an American Bulldog before. They can also leave very vague posts– e.g. “i found a dog-call to describe” Same with cats.. you might not even know what “kind” of alley cat you own see Pooch & Claws article on identifying cat breeds here. NOTE: There have been some cases where dogs have been found being rehomed on Craigslist, so please keep an eye on all areas of Craigslist.
- Have the pet Scanned for a Microchip. You can do that at Petsmarts, vets offices or humane societies. If you have lost your pet, contact the company as they can often send out alert (there might be a fee). Home Again, is most common microchip company. If you have a pet now, get it chipped, register the chip and always update the information if you move or change numbers.
Some good insight from someone who lost their pet: “One problem we had that we didn’t know we had: Home Again never put our contact information in their system. When I called to alert them that we had a missing dog, they couldn’t help. I didn’t have the ID number, so Gilbert had to go back to his hotel room to get it and then make the call. Check to see that the chip is registered! And make certain the second point of contact has the ID number.”
4. Flyers, flyers flyers.. really post flyers, lots of them. Not everyone is online. This is the most important step. Let people know you are missing you pet. Unfortunately, some people will not call the Humane Society, and may not activiely look for you, but if they see a flyer they may think twice about keeping your pet. Additionally, if one person in the family has decided to keep your pet, but someone else see the sign they might act on getting your pet back.
Missing pet flyer resources:
- Helping Lost Pets
- Dogington Post
- Missing Pet Partnership
This is considered the plus one after you have done the first four items. Remember scent! Dogs and cats see the world with their noses. If you are missing a pet put something with a familiar scent in the area where they were lost, so they can track the scent and stay near by. For cats, we have heard litter boxes suggested and their beds, for dog we recommend a blanket or tshirt (worn by someone they dog is bonded to). Put these in an area with water, and check back at varying times. If your pet was lost in a larger area, trying strips of a blanket spread as sort of a bread crumb trail.
Here are some links with a little more information:
Tips on How to Find a Lost Dog
Lost Pet Tips
One user suggested this. We think it is a brilliant idea (though be careful putting something in a mail box is against the law…maybe in the door instead. “I always drop flyers in mailbox of the surrounding neighborhood. I’ve gotten many missing cats back that way. Print out 4-6 copies of your cat with picture and contact info per sheet of paper then cut them and put them in the mailboxes around your area. Time consuming but effective.” Another tip if it happens to be near Halloween, make small flyers of your lost pet and put them in the trick or treat bags.
FINALLY, you may be considering keeping or rehoming the pet after searching for the owner, there are laws that cover this, please ready the Colorado Springs Lost Pet Alert tips here.
Find and “Like” the Lost & Found pets page nearest you.
Colorado Lost & Found Pets Facebook Pages
- Colorado Lost & Found Pets – Denver & the whole state
- Colorado Spring Lost Pet Alert
- Pueblo Lost Pet Alert
- Colorado Emergency Animal Lost & Found (This page is activate in case of floods, fires or other disasters that affect our four legged friends.
There are several pets currently missing in Douglas County and we have added those in the slide show. Please take a look and check the Facebook page(s) for updates.