By Dave Melville
Losing a pet can be a very distressing time, remember, if you have lost your pet, never give up hope and always ensure you have your pets microchipped.
There are a number of things you need to do if you lose your pet -
- Report your missing pet to local police - ensure you go to the nearest police station to the location of the lost pet.
- Report your missing pet to the local dog warden - you will be able to get their telephone number from your local authority website.
- Report your missing pet to the local homeless dog shelter - if you have more than one in your area contact them all, these are very busy places and handle a large number of stray pets so it's best to go in person to the shelter(s). Also remember to ask the local dog warden which homeless shelter a lost pet would be taken to if it were to be found and ensure you visit that shelter.
- Report your missing pet to all vets in the area.
- Put up posters of your missing pet in the area, remember to put a good picturte of your pet on the posters. If your pet is insured check your policy as some insurance companies will pay for the posters to be made. Consider, also offering a small reward if your pet is found.
- Contact your local paper and ask if they will place something about your pet in their next edition, if they are unwilling to print anything then consider taking out a small ad in the publication.
- If it's your cat that is missing ask people in the are to check garages and sheds to ensure your cat has not been accidently locked in.
- If your pet is microchipped ensure that those details are up to date.
- Use social media such as facebook and twitter to spread the word that your pet is missing.
There are a number of things you need to do if you find a pet -
If you find a pet then you should either report it to the local police station or to the local dog warden (you will be able to get their telephone number from your local authority website or phone book) who will then give you further instructions as to your next steps. Each police or dog warden may give you slightly different information depending on which part of the country you live in however generally you will be given 2 options, either surrender the found pet to the police or dog warden or, after first notifying the police or dog warden, keep the pet yourself
If you surrender the pet then they will be taken to the nearest local authority homeless shelter where they will be kept for 7 days, at the end of that period if they are not reclaimed by their owners then they will be made available to the general public for adoption.
If, after notifying the police or dog warden, you chose to keep the pet yourself then you will be duty bound to retain the pet for up to 4 weeks, after that time if no owners come forward then you are able, legally, to keep that pet. During this period however you should make every effort to reunite the pet with it's owner by doing the following
- Report the pet to local vets
- Put posters up in the local area
- Watch out for missing pet posters in your area
- Check your local paper for any missing pet adverts
Please remember in the case of cats that you should not feed 'stray' cats unles you are absolutely sure it is actually stray or homeless, cats are independant and do tend to stay with whoever is feeding them. They can also stay away from their owners for long periods of time.
There are a number of websites which have been created specifically to allow both lost and found pets to be 'advertised'. We've listed these below, some of these sites do require the payment of a small registration fee before you can either post about your lost pet, or, be able to view information about pets which have been found.