Sunday, October 2, 2011

What should I do if my pet is stolen?

To find tips on how to avoid your pet from being stolen please click here.

If your pet is stolen, consider the following options. Your love and dedication are the limit!

Walk, drive or bicycle around the area your pet disappeared, calling your animal's name over and over. If your pet is trapped in a neighbor's yard or is too injured to move, it may respond to your voice, so listen carefully. Pay special attention to sheds, abandoned buildings and anywhere else your pet could be hiding. Perform this search several times throughout the day.

Talk to your neighbors and engage them in the search. Involving the neighbors by knocking on their doors is more pro-active then just posting paper in the street. You can ask questions, hand them your number, engage them to keep an eye out. This helps gage their reaction and engage them in the search.

Create and post signs with a photo of your pet that gives a description of the animal, the area in which he or she was lost and contact information. Be sure to place the fliers in your neighborhood as well as in places where many people are likely to see them such as grocery stores, pet supply stores, veterinarians’ offices, animal shelters and pounds. If possible, consider offering a reward to give people an incentive to return your pet. Don't put too much private or detailed information on the flier as you want to be able to ask pertinent questions to those that call in and filter out "coocoo" people.

Go to the animal shelter and pound often to look at the animals being held as strays. Check to see if the animal shelter or pound has a website with photos. Visits in person are much more effective as shelter/pound employees may not match a particular animal to a lost report over the phone. You are the only one who can really identify your lost animal. Visit the shelter for a minimum of ten days.

Contact veterinary clinics, including emergency veterinary hospitals. Your pet may have been injured and taken to a veterinarian or veterinary hospital for treatment.

Contact local daily and weekly newspapers to place a lost pet ad. Also, check the “found animal” section of local newspapers. Contact the media – Call the local TV station, radio station and newspaper and ask to have a web post put out about your missing pet. If you don't ask, it won't happen. Don't be shy!

Contact local radio and television stations. Many air "lost and found pets" segments.

Ask delivery people who regularly travel through your neighborhood if they have seen your pet. Your mail carrier, water delivery person, gas company employee, security guard or meter reader may have seen your pet. Ask them to be on the lookout for your animal as they pass through the area.

Contact laboratory animal departments of universities and hospitals in your area. Go to the labs and describe your animal to laboratory personnel. Post a photo of your animal in the laboratory. 

File a police report with your local police department or sheriff's office. If you suspect that your animal has been stolen, report it to the police immediately. A police report will be useful for identification purposes when retrieving your pet and will prove helpful in court if a suspect is brought to trial. If the authorities are hesitant to prepare the report, remind them that pets by law are valuable “property” and their theft is either a felony or misdemeanor under all state laws. By law, the police must take action on your complaint. Be persistent.

Post a description and photo of your lost pet on the internet at And 

You may also want to consider posting on your facebook page and/or create a dedicated page for the pet on Facebook.

Do not give up! Your pet is depending on you to do your best to try to find him or her. There are many instances of cats and dogs being found after many months. The person who responds immediately to a missing pet and expends significant energy in trying to find the animal stands a much greater chance of recovering him or her.

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