Important steps to take if you’ve lost OR found a pet:
Join Austin Lost and Found Pets Page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/austinlostandfoundpets/
Search and post there, using the following guidelines…
Include all of the information in the picture that you can.
If you do not live in the neighborhood where the animal was lost or found, let the admins on Austin Lost and Found Pets Page know. We will find someone that does to create a post on http://www.nextdoor.com for you.
Put up signs in the area – at least cover all of the major intersections within a mile or two and the entrances/exits to your neighborhood.
If you’ve FOUND a pet in Austin, file a “Found Animal Report” with Austin Animal Center online – http://austin.spotreporters.com/reports/new?service_id=5579f05447199e0be4000074 — by calling 311 or via the 311 app immediately.
If someone claims that it’s their pet, make them show proof – vet records, pictures of them WITH their pet, etc. Do not withhold a picture of the found animal from your posts. That’s a HUGE waste of time for everyone involved, as there are hundreds – if not thousands – of missing pets in our area. You can also withhold a unique detail from your post, but ALWAYS put up a picture.
There are plenty of ways for an owner to prove ownership. Make sure your post says you will require proof that it’s their pet. This ALWAYS cuts down on – and often completely eliminates – false claims from people trying to steal other people’s pets to keep, sell or use for dog fighting.
Bring a lost pet flyer to the shelter. 311 does not keep Lost Animal Reports, but they will still let you waste time making one. If the shelter doesn’t find a chip in your pet or the information is not up to date, you will not be contacted by them, so bring them a flyer so they know to be on the lookout.
Take the animal to your nearest vet, 24 hour emergency vet or to one of the Banfield clinics located inside of PetsMart to get it scanned for a microchip – a free service, which can save you a lot of time and the animal’s family a lot of heartache.
Make sure they scan THE ENTIRE BODY!!! Chips often migrate, but many veterinarians and vet techs still don’t know this, so make sure they scan from the tips of the ears to the tip of the tail.
If the chip is unregistered, contact one of the admins on Austin Lost and Found Pets Page. We have found the owners of hundreds of animals with unregistered chips.
If you’ve LOST a pet that’s chipped, call the microchip company immediately to make sure that your chip information is up to date and to let them know that your pet is missing.
You can also register your pet’s chip FOR FREE here: http://www.found.org.
Leave something outside your residence that smells like you. Dirty laundry works best – socks, shirts, blankets, your pet’s bed, etc. – the dirtier, the better. Often, lost pets SMELL their way home.
Check the Austin Animal Center (and other nearby shelters) online and in person daily, if possible. Found animals are only held for 3 days and then they are up for adoption, and many cats are released back to the street where they were found. Checking the shelter every day and understanding the information online may be inaccurate can save you from a lot of heartache. GO SEE FOR YOURSELF!!!
IF YOU’VE LOST A CAT, also check out http://www.missingpetpartnership.org/recovery-tips/lost-cat-behavior/
Austin Lost and Found Pets will do everything we can to help you. Please contact one of our admins if you have any questions or need any assistance.
Thank you and best wishes in your search!
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.