lost pets and found pets National Pet Register
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Find Lost Pet Guide helping you find a missing pet

Introduction to our Missing Pet Guide


One of the most devastating experiences a pet owner might have to endure is losing his or her pet. But in addition to the distress associated with the fact that your beloved companion has just gone missing, is the fact that its life might be in danger. Thus, it is of immense importance for you to be always prepared and act immediately. The only sound advice one could give to a pet owner, before the latter having to deal with a missing pet's situation, is to be always on alert and plan ahead. Preparedness is the only prevention mechanism known and is not something that you can postpone for indefinite.

Did you know that 1 in 3 pets is lost in its lifetime? Moreover, has anyone ever informed you that 90% of pets with an ID return home, while 90% of pets without are never found by their owner? The world-wide statistics on missing pets are shocking.

When your beloved dog or cat strays from home, it can be a traumatic experience for both of you. This article serves as a guide to all UK pet owners out there who wish not to experience the agony of having to report a missing pet. Just read carefully the pages that follow, keeping in mind that your beloved companion, apart from your love and attention, needs an owner that can act immediately in a crisis situation. Minimizing the chances of ever loosing your pet is our goal. Your objective should be to keep yourself organized at all times and not panic in case of emergency. Don't get discouraged! Be aware that the chances are that you will be reunited with your beloved companion again if you follow our expert advice and always keep things safe for your pet.



Be Ready - Plan Ahead


"Spot! Spot! Where are you?"

Sounds familiar? Perhaps Spot is not hiding under the bed or playing at the back yard. In fact, over an hour now, Spot is nowhere to be found! You went out to do your errands, but forgot to check whether or not your house doors were safely locked. When you came back you expected to see Spot at his usual place on the couch. But Spot was not taking his evening nap. Then you thought that maybe one of the kids took him out for a walk. You decided to do your house jobs and wait for your kids to come back with him. But when your son entered the living room from his evening jogging exercise, Spot was not following him. That is the moment you become really worried. You immediately scream his name, while looking for him everywhere in the house.

First, you begin your search from Spot's favorite hiding or nap places. But unfortunately, Spot is not in the garage, in the children's room, in the basement, playing hide and seek inside your closet space, or even near his plate waiting for you to serve him his favorite snack. Spot has vanished into thin air and you are left there panicking and thinking that he will never make it back home because of you! Your negative state of mind leads you to experience what it would feel like if you never saw him again and every doorbell makes you think that this might be your neighbor or the police to report that Spot was found somewhere dead, due to your carelessness. We hate being the messenger of bad news, but that is a possibility. Those who have experienced a similar situation, say it is awful. But, the first thing anyone would advice you, is not to panic.

This is not a situation for you to begin wishing or blaming, but of acting. When accidents like these happen, you can improve your chances of being reunited with your lost pet if you are prepared ahead of time and not only know how to act, but most importantly, act quickly! Prevention is definitely the best policy on this issue. Being aware that a pet can get lost or be kidnapped is extremely significant. Through awareness you can avoid the horrifying reality of having to report a lost pet in the first place.

This guide you are reading includes some of the best tips collected after numerous discussions and extensive research and is offered to you in order to help you react should your pet escape the safety of your home or garden. We know that you consider yourself to be a loving and responsible pet owner. This is actually the main reason why you should read this guide throughout and follow our advice. Hopefully, by planning ahead and with a bit of luck you will never have to experience such an unfortunate situation and you will continue to enjoy your pet's companionship for years to come.



Prior to the incident:


Always provide enough exercise to your dogs. Needing daily exercise, dogs are going to become anxious if they do not get it and will try to escape. Again the leash is suggested; even if your dog is properly trained to listen to your calls. Not only it is required in most areas, it is always a good idea so as to have complete control of your dog movements. There are many unexpected distractions or temptations that can make your dog excited and lead to the wrong direction. Moreover, teach your dog to come when called. You can sign up of a manner's class at your local humane society and bond with your dog in a positive way. A strong bond and good training will help you keep your dog with you in a potentially dangerous situation.

Most importantly, spay or neuter your pet! Have in mind that a spayed or neutered pet is less likely to wander off. Non-sterilized dogs and cats will often go to great lengths – some have reported that their pets have crashed through glass doors – to find their potential mate. Although this process may not be something you want to perform, it might be one of the things that can keep your pet safe.

Purchase a collar placed around your pet's neck at all times! On the collar you have to attach an identification tag (ID) that will display the pet's name and your current home and/or mobile phone number. Since your pet's chances of returning home safe are significantly minimized when it does not wear its ID tag, it is extremely important to check frequently your pet's neck and examine if its collar is securely in place.

An ID tag is a lost pet's hope to a safe reunion. But in addition to a collar you should think about microchipping your pet. Since pets can lose their collars on the streets or even by visiting your basement while chasing their favorite toy, for real security, consider putting a microchip implant to your pet and register the chip's number with one of the registries in your area. Placing a microchip is a painless procedure, where a chip the size of a rise grain is inserted between the shoulders of your pet, just under its skin. If your pet gets stolen or lost and gets dumped or found it can be identified through its microchip ID number. This is an excellent way of ensuring it will be returned home. Moreover, permanent identification (either that is in the form of a microchip or tattoo) is also useful in case you ever have to prove to a law officer that this is indeed your pet and you are its lawful owner they should return it to. Since the microchip ensures that your pet has a name and a unique number, in case its collar falls or tears off or is damaged, you can always be sure that when your pet is found you will be notified immediately.

Although some pet owners decide to use tattoos, we do not recommend them as we do microchips, but they can also provide positive identification if done correctly. The problem is that a pet tattoo is not easily read because the pet's hair grow over it and the lost animal might be very frightened and not allow anyone to inspect its fur and read the tattoo number appearing on its skin. If you decide to use the tattoo method, it is best if you select an area like your pet's inner thigh to place it, since it is less difficult for it to become invisible because of the growing hair. Please keep in mind that pet thieves (especially in dogs' cases) cut off the ear bearing the tattoo so as to destroy the chances of them being prosecuted for stealing a pet.

Additionally, since pets (like cats) tend to climb and/or hide (small dogs) in tiny and confined spaces, these collars may break or taken off by accident. In order for you to be able to check your pet's collar easily, its colour has to be distinct and not to match the color of its fur. Pet shops sell a variety of leather or rubber (elastic) collars, in a variety of colors and/or designs.

Make sure that your companion is up to date on his/her vaccinations. Animals running at large or staying at the shelter are at higher risks of being exposed to diseases. Consult your veterinarian about recommended vaccines.

Consider creating a "lost kit" in case your pet should ever run away. Also keep an action checklist in a visible location, along with the current phone numbers of emergency contacts, like individuals and organizations, you will need to call; keep a copy in your vehicle for when you are traveling.

Ensure you place in the lost kit recent and reliable colour photos of your pet featuring its figure and any unique markings or characteristics (such as scars). For your pet's photographs you have to take shots of both sides of your pet's body, as well as its face (portrait). Especially focus on any special markings the pet may carry. These photographs will be invaluable to you later if your pet is ever lost or stolen and you need to make a big publicity fuss or prove ownership in case someone adopts your pet thinking of it as stray. Taking pictures semi-annually is a must, since your pet's figure can change considerably depending on the season (e.g. age, hair loss, weight gain). Select two dates and make this procedure a common "ritual."

Also make sure you include a recent description of your pet in the lost kit, mentioning all of your pet's details (age, colours, size, weight, etc.) and any unique characteristics. Write and frequently update this short, simple, and clear, description of your pet and have it also stored in your computer's memory -along with the recently taken photographs- in order to create posters and flyers if your pet gets lost or stolen.

Make sure you have the local pet authorities' phone numbers on your "emergency contact list" of your telephone catalogue and check them frequently for any updates. Your list of emergency contacts should include: local councils and shelters, veterinarians and emergency veterinary clinics, the microchip or tattoo number that you pet carries and the reported registries, the local police department's and RSPCA Centres, local pet shops, groomers, training facilities and businesses.

Extremely important is for you to develop and keep a copy of a recent local street map along with this emergency contact list and your lost kit. In case you need to coordinate a search unit, this map will be the first thing you will need to distribute to your search unit's members. Your friends may be eager to help you out, but they might not be familiar with the area you live. Additionally, you can always rely on it to pinpoint the exact address where your pet was last seen and provide the necessary details to your local animal control agencies.

Again we stress that should avoid letting your pet roam free if you cannot rely on his/her recall. You have to keep in mind that pets are not eager to appear when you call their name in case they are frightened. Thus, guard your pet in your house, terrace, patio, porch and/or garden. Try not to allow your pet to run free in the neighborhood whether or not you believe that there is danger; it might not find its way back! If a pet roams in an unfamiliar area or gets scared its chances of ever finding its way home are particularly limited.

Always maintain your windows, doors and garden fence to keep your pet safely confined. This is particularly difficult when one deals with an animal that can pay a visit to the house's roof or climb the branches of the tree across the street chasing a bird, like a cat. If you own a dog, especially if its house is located outside, frequently check your gardens's fence, in order to be sure that there are no holes on the ground near that area, through which your dog can escape and run loose.

Consequently, whether you are a cat or a dog owner, you have to teach your pet, while it is still young, to listen to your voice when you call its name. Although difficult, it is possible. Do not hesitate to consult your areas pet training experts.

Do not leave your pet unattended in the car/van and always keep the lease on your dog or transport your cat in a safe carrier suitable for such use.

Do not leave your pet under the responsibility of a child and be wary of strangers expressing an interest in your pet.

Remember! Your pet is your responsibility. Do not leave your pet to be watched after by friendly strangers.

Finally, keep in mind that over the years there has been evidence that pets are stolen or are killed by malicious, sick individuals. Moreover, pedigree pets may be stolen to serve an order. Thus, before having to deal with any unfortunate event, register your pet to the available services of your area. In most cases registration can be completed online and you will save precious time if something actually happens!


Your Pet is MISSING


"Spot is gone… Is there any chance I can bring him back?"

Yes, there is. Although finding a lost animal often seems to depend on luck, it is luck you can help make. There are no guarantees, but there are things people who found their pets did that made a difference.

Only those who have had a pet can truly appreciate the satisfaction and the shared pleasure this companionship can bring. Pets are, to million of people, the most fascinating of non-humane associates, the most fun to be with, to watch and be watched by, in a friendship between equals, pursued on a basis of mutual respect. But in case your beloved dog or cat strays from home, it can be a terrifying experience for all concerned and a really dangerous one for your pet, since it has to survive now on its own in unfamiliar territories, subject to hazards such as traffic.

It is a terrible feeling to find out that your beloved pet is missing because you forgot to close the door behind you or you neglected to check the fence. Whatever the situation, the important thing remains for you to find your pet. Do not panic! Try to remain calm, since panicking will not help Spot return home sooner. Follow the tips and ideas of this rescue guide and you will increase your chances of being reunited with your beloved companion again soon.



After the incident:


A. Search your property thoroughly


DROP EVERYTHING and LOOK EVERYWHERE you can! The first 48 hours are crucial for you to find your pet and your search to have a happy ending. The point is to look in EVERY nook and cranny; every possible hiding place; every possible space. Don't assume that your pet would never crawl into some tiny space; especially if its size is considerably small, since small animals can go practically anywhere!

Think like your pet and look for clues! Do you remember any sounds or events just prior to your pet's disappearance that could account for either running towards or running away from something? These could have been, for example, a loud barking or a new pet in the house or the neighbourhood. Clues of your pet's whereabouts can be physical evidence like pet hair, paw prints and animal droppings.

Don't assume that your pet is not where you just looked because it did not respond to your voice. Most pets when experiencing dangerous situations will try to become invisible and may not respond to your calling. Bring an edible goodie or favorite toy so as to attract your pet's attention and keep looking!

B. Walk around the local area


Before leaving the house, grab the leash or carrier so as to contain your pet when found and a flashlight to assist your search. If your pet is too afraid to come to you when you locate it, it may be forced to hide again if you do not put his leash on or place it in its carrier as soon as you are able to catch it. Without a flashlight you may miss your pet hiding in a dark corner.

Get in touch with your friends, who will be willing and able to assist your search and form a rescue unit. Friends and/or family can accompany you during your neighborhood search, or to the animal control centres you will visit in case your walking search does not pay off. Having more people in your team can assist you in dividing the clinics and shelters and simultaneously visit more agencies expediting your search and thus increasing the odds of finding your pet sooner. Don't ever think that informing your friends is not a wise strategy. This is your pet's life at stake! Let them assist you and you can always count on friends and relatives to ease your fears and reduce your stress. Especially the ones who also are pet owners can better understand what you are going through and may have some good ideas you should listen or offer suggestions that can help your search. Rely on them to handle this crisis and do not exclude them. You need them there and so does your pet.

Gather up as many people as possible to help you search and do other tasks, such as making and distributing flyers.

You certainly cannot do everything or be everywhere at once, so act as a manager and assign responsibilities and roles to all search participants. Depend on others to be your eyes and ears. The longer you delay the actual search, the less likely you are to find your pet. Divide sub-units and assign team leaders. Let your search participants coordinate their own search sub-units and ask the unit (group) leaders to report back to you the outcomes of their team's search on a regular basis.

Make multiple copies of street maps of the area where your pet was lost and highlight the surrounding areas. Distribute these map copies to everyone who is participating in this search hunt you are leading.

Provide all searchers with your phone numbers and phone numbers of people (i.e. an adult family member) who can keep track of their search outcomes. It of vital importance that those looking for your pet can reach a real live person to give any crucial information and report their team's progress. Any lead can be valuable, so do not overestimate your own ability to handle all the information you will receive. Act as a leader and coordinate those helping you.

If your house search does not pay off, begin searching the area around. Walk the streets surrounding your house, visit your neighbours' garden, search those old buildings of your area, check roofs, trees, parked vehicles, etc. The key is to investigate any possible hiding place as soon as humanly possible. If trapped, your pet needs your immediate assistance.

Visit and talk to your neighbours. Let them know that your pet is missing. Particularly if your pet was lost while roaming outdoors, try to inform as many people as possible residing close to the perimeter of your pet's usual route. Distribute your pet's description along with your current phone numbers and ask residents to inform you immediately if they spot your pet. In case they are not at their premises when you pay them a visit, leave a note securely attached on their front door. Request them to search their houses, roofs, gardens, garage spaces, etc. Ask them to call you back to report any sightings. Moreover, ask them to be on the alert and notify you if they hear sounds of pet fights, barking, pet's cries or meowing.

Offer to those neighbours you rely on the possibility of participating to your search. The more people are looking for your missing pet, the better!

Talk to pedestrians and everybody you run across; the postman, paperboy, children, parents waiting at the school bus stop, school crossing guards, neighbourhood crime watch groups, refuge pick-up crews, joggers, etc. Give them the written description of your pet and your phone number as well.

Literally, ask everybody you come across if they saw or heard anything unusual in the neighbourhood you lost your pet and carefully write down every response. Useful information might include strange vehicles, work crews, people or activities. Pet fights are also an important lead. Get detailed descriptions of everything and ask for them to pinpoint the exact location.

Keep a list of the people you speak to and visit. Don't forget to write down the responses of the people calling you back in order to inform you of their search results. Do not forget to keep them updated of any changes or developments in relation to your pet's search.

Do not travel alone. Take a friend or family member with you while walking or driving.

Do not hand out your name or address. Due to scam artists and other criminals existing in our society, it is never a good idea to publicise that information.

Don't forget to bring a powerful flashlight (even during daylight hours) and check all those dark places, since injured or frightened animals tend to hide. Frequent places to look for your scared companion are storage sheds, garages, trash cans, dumpsters and under cars.

Even if your initial search does not lead you to a happy reunion hug immediately, continue searching your neighbourhood on a daily basis. Walk or drive through your neighborhood several times during the day, if possible. If after the first couple of hours of your pet hunt does not end happily, the time has come to inform the individuals, agencies and organizations that can assist you find the missing pet through their extensive network.

C. Use sounds and scents


While walking or driving through the streets make some noise. Shake a bag of your pet's favourite treat when calling their name, squeak their beloved toy, or use any other familiar noises that your pet would instantly recognize. Have all the members of the search team calling your pet's name.

Don't forget to stop frequently, be quiet and listen for noises that your pet may be making in reply to your calls. Even if people look at you strangely like you have escaped from a mental institution, this is not reason enough for you to stop searching and calling your pet. Your pet's life might be in danger and you should invite people to join you and not asking you to terminate your search because of the peculiar noises you are making.

Place some familiar smells outdoors and attract your pet's nose. Place its favourite toys, its bedding or even some of your dirty cloths (e.g. sweaty gym clothes) outside your house. Empty the contents of your hoover back outside. Particularly for cats, a good idea is to place outdoors their litter box.

In case the weather allows you to, you can also place other family pets outside and crate them in as safe and secure area. The familiar scent of your pet's friends can guide the missing animal back home.

Some people decided to go out during the night when the streets are quiet and search for their pet. If you decide to do so, please take someone with you. It is not wise to wander the dark streets all by yourself.

D. Speak to the right professionals ASAP


Contact and visit IN PERSON your local animal shelters, animal control agencies and humane societies (i.e. public and private shelters, rescue groups) within a 20-30 mile radius (for cats) and a 50-60 mile radius (for dogs) of the area you originally lost your pet. Report immediately that your pet is missing and provide them with its microchip or tattoo ID number. You should know that all stray animals picked up within a town/city's limits go to the local city shelters where they are held for a short period so as to give to the pet-owner the chance of being reunited with their lost pet. The time your area's shelters will take in lost, stray, or surrendered pets from any resident of the region they serve, varies by community, city or county. Thus, you should be familiar with their limited admission practices well in advance and keep their contact information handy and updated.

CHECK YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER(S) AND RSPCA CENTRES DAILY! It is extremely important for you to visit IN PERSON these shelters and it is extremely helpful if family members can take turns visiting other animal control agencies, as well as vet clinics, so as to check the pets found or treated recently. Be sure to check all of the shelter's areas, including the infirmary. Also be aware that pets may be housed in another pet's section, depending on number of animals found.

File a lost pet report with every shelter within the 20-60 mile radius of your home. To find the shelters covering your area, check your phone book. If there is no shelter in your community, contact the local police department.

Provide these agencies with an accurate description and a recent photograph of your pet. Don't forget to give to each shelter, clinic, or other type of organisation you visit your phone number! Also, befriend the employees.

Even if your first visit does not lead to a successful outcome, you have to continue checking back daily. Going back increases your chances of finding your missing pet, while minimizes the odds that your pet is being given to another family or even euthanized because nobody recalled it. When you visit each animal shelter, find out their holding periods, so as to be aware of the time you have to claim your pet. It's better to know in advance than having to deal with something definite later. You only get one chance at this, so be aware and be there!

Call your pet's veterinarian and report your pet's disappearance. He/she can also report the missing pet's description to other vet doctors of your area and can also publicize its disappearance to his/her clients. You may also display posters of your missing pet at the veterinarian clinics of your area.

Be proactive and inform your area's veterinarians yourself! The more veterinarians are informed that your pet has gone missing the better chances you have to find it again. A simple but effective idea is to fax and/or e-mail the "lost pet" posters and flyers you will create to your local veterinarians' offices so they will post them in their premises and their clients will know who to call in case they see or find your beloved companion.

Call the veterinarian offices during the day. After closing hours call veterinarian emergency clinics. Ask them if a pet was injured, found and taken to the vet offices or clinics for treatment. In case they have taken in or treated any pet that even remotely fits the description of your own, visit the office immediately! Descriptions do not always match, so better be sure than sorry!

If you live near a border between towns/cities/counties/, then you have to report your lost pet to both areas' animal centers and increase your chances of finding your pet.

Keep in mind that if you own an indoor only pet, the chances are that it is near by hiding, but has gone into a protective mode. Usually, previously indoor pets that become stray are found within a 3 house radius of the owner's home, hiding and living under a deck, porch, or in heavy bushes. This is often up to 7 weeks after they went missing and owners have stated to have called and looked those areas but without receiving any response from their pet. The reason pets do not respond is an instinctual behavior of protecting themselves. One encounter with a neighbor's angry looking dog might trigger this kind of non-response tactic. So, we encourage you, especially if your missing pet is a cat, to think close and belly crawl with a flashlight to check all nearby hiding places. Search even those you have ALREADY visited and try calling its name again and again! Moreover, keep in mind that while large dogs might be able to travel further in just a few days, small ones tend to stay close to a towns area in quest of food. Frequently, stray dogs are found near restaurants etc.

If you think your pet has been stolen contact immediately the local police station to report the crime.

Report your missing pet to other local authorities (i.e. warden, city council).

By calling local shelters, wardens, local rescue groups, veterinarian offices and clinics, pet clubs, and the police, you are expanding your search and consequently your results.

If you are away from home when your pet was lost, look in the local phone book (e.g. Yellow Pages). Call veterinarians as they often keep a list of animal or rescue centers of their area. You can request this list and use it as a starting point during your search.

Most importantly, do not forget to submit your pet's recent photos, despite all the details you are able to provide. Descriptions tend to be misleading or in the missing pets cases can easily be interpreted wrong. Clear photographs of your missing pet are considered to be a great way to show an animal's appearance since different adjectives can be used to describe the same pet.

As difficult as it may be, you have to check if your pet has been killed on the road or been invlocved in RTA. Unfortunately, lost pets sometimes get hit by cars. To find out if your pet has suffered such an unfortunate event you have to check with your local department of transportation. Its crews usually pick up dead animals from the roadside and city streets. You might have to call around and find out which agencies provide this service in your area. Be sure to find them all and check with them daily in case they find your pet's dead body.

Arrange to visit their offices and speak with their employees. Befriend them and leave a photograph of your pet and your phone numbers so that the road/refuse crews can be on the lookout for it and inform you directly. They even may allow you to post your "lost pet" flyers in their premises so as for their employees to be informed.

Expand your search by asking individuals like postal workers and delivery people if they have seen your pet around. Always hand out a flyer of your lost pet's picture and your current contact telephone numbers.

You should also try to can go request from local post offices, utilities or delivery service managers to post a flyer in their break rooms so that their workers will be informed about your missing pet. Florists or other businesses that offer delivery services would also be good places to distribute your flyers.

Enlist anyone who is willing to help! It may take some time before you are reunited with your pet, so take advantage of any offers.


E. Create a publicity fuss


It is extremely important to post MANY flyers displaying your missing pet's photograph and your current telephone numbers.

Make sure you have your mobile phone charged up at all times or your Landline phone has a working answering machine to record messages when you are home. If you want, write on the flyer that calls are welcome 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Leave a voice welcoming message and ask the callers to state the date, time, and location, where they may have seen your missing pet, as well as their full names and phone numbers so you can reach them later.

Post these leaflets within a 2-mile radius from the area you lost or last you're your pet.

According to recent statistical data, flyers or posters produce overall more "finds" than anything else.

Depending on your budget make as many leaflets/flyers as possible. You can ask friends and family to help you out with the printing and posting process. They may even volunteer to increase your initial available amount.

If you own a computer, you can use it to create the posters and flyers immediately after your pet's disappearance.

Have flyers printed including recent colored pictures of your pet, the last place the pet was seen, the date it disappeared, if it was wearing a collar and what was its colour, if it has a microchip implant, whether it is a pedigree or a feral, its sex, age, weight, its fur color, some of its markings, if a reward is offered, and your home and/or mobile phone number. It is better to include more than one telephone numbers. Those calling will always be able to reach you.

DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME OR ADDRESS ON THE FLYERS & POSTERS!



If you want to offer a reward, do not state the amount on the posters/flyers. A reward is not essential, but it may motivate someone to kidnap your pet after it has been rescued.

Make sure you expressly state that the reward will be given only after your pet is safely returned.

Always withhold at least one important piece of information, like one of your pet's identifying marks and/or characteristics, so that you can later verify that the person calling you and claiming to have found your pet has actually rescued your companion. Additionally, you will be able to identify possible scams.

Post the flyers in your neighbourhood and distribute them door-to-door to local residents' houses and friends. Distribution of flyers is probably the most effective strategy in recovering your lost pet. Get quickly the "lost pet" information in front of everyone you can think of!

Provide friends, especially those residing close to the area you lost or last saw your pet, with a number of posters and flyers and ask them to post them in their neighborhoods and distribute them to residents and friends. This tactic increases your chances that someone who has actually seen your pet or has found it and taken it in sees your flyer stating your contact information.

Place flyers and posters at waist level on telephone poles, street light poles, sign poles, and trees in prominent locations, like traffic juctions. Start posting your signs in the area your pet was last seen and expand outward from there.

Post flyers at eye level in places like veterinarian offices, shelters, pet shops, training facilities, grooming salons, beauty shops, grocery stores, convenient stores and other businesses that are willing to help you out.

Keep a list with the places you have posted your flyers and try to pass by frequently and examine if your posted flyers are still there. If not, replace the ones that are missing or damaged.

Consider getting the local media involved, especially if the pet has an unusual story. Newspapers, local television and radio stations can advertise your search and some will place your ad, post your flyer and broadcast your pet's disappearance for free. Make the ad large, noticeable and catchy!

Place a description, along with your lost pet's picture, in your local newspaper's "missing" or "lost" pet section.

Check daily the "found" pet section of your local newspapers and other publications. Newspapers usually publish these advertisements for free, for anyone who reports that has found a lost pet, and keep them running for a short while so as to increase the possibilities of the owner to see the advertisement and communicate with the person who has found and rescued the animal.

Visit the pets "lost and found" webpages and post your pet's recent color pictures and its description so as to alert as many people as possible. Publicizing your missing pet's photographs, along with any information regarding its disappearance via the Internet, can create the necessary fuss and in most cases you can be reunited with your pet sooner than expected.

If your search does not end in a couple of weeks, publicize that you are continuing looking for your lost pet. Neighbours may assume that after a period of two weeks either the pet is found or the owner has given up. Remind them that you are still searching, with a follow-up flyer that states PET STILL LOST/MISSING.


F. While you search


Keep a supply of flyers and posters in your car to hand out to people.

Keep a map of all sightings, as well as a distribution record of flyers and a list of areas and websites already searched (including the number of times they have been searched). Keep a notebook with the names of the people and the places you have contacted or visited and the exact date (record even the exact time frame you spoke with someone). This way you will know who to call again first and what each individual or agent has already told you.

Most importantly, keep looking! The best chance you have of finding your lost pet is to continue searching your neighbourhood, your local web directories and your area's animal shelters. Lost pets often turn up in animal shelters some time after they are initially reported missing.

DON'T GIVE UP HOPE and WE WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK!


G. Be cautious


Avoid being taken in by scams. Do not send money to people claiming to have your pet in another area or even town. You should be aware of possible money scams. A person may call you claiming that he/she has found your pet, but is out of town now and would like you to send the money and he will see to your pet's safe return. This type of scam has been reported a number of times. This person does not have your pet. What this person is after is your money reward. Keep in mind that the type of people that you want to receive calls from are pet-lovers. Not pranksters and people interested only in receiving the reward you are publicizing.

Thus, we repeat: Do not provide any rewards until the pet is back safely into your arms!

When you search DO NOT search alone. Bring another adult with you. Whether it is night or day, always take someone along. Be extremely cautious especially if you are searching unfamiliar areas.

NEVER invite the person claiming to have found your pet to your home or office, unless you are sure you know them well.

When a person calls you claiming that he/she has found your pet, use the information you did not publish to check that person actually has your pet. It is important to remember NOT to give out all the identifying features of your lost pet. If the person calling cannot describe these special characteristics or marks to you, then he/she does not have your pet. Be always cautious!

There are dangerous people out there that prey upon victims by using the "found pet" story as a ploy. Thus, when it is time to meet someone expecting to be reunited with your pet, never go alone. Always ask a friend or a family member to join you and suggest a public place for you to meet (e.g. the local police station).

We strongly advise you to avoid publicising specific monetary rewards, as this might trigger potential thieves to steal your pet and request ransom in order to return it. Direct the reader's attention to other issues (i.e. this pet is blind, it is the sole companion of an old lady who has it as her guide, it has a heart problem and needs immediately a specific type of medicine, etc.).



The return of your pet


Once reunited with your pet, of extreme importance is for you to find out what circumstances allowed it to get lost and perform all the necessary changes to prevent a similar event from reoccurring.

Regardless if your pet was rescued by a loving stranger, a friend, an animal shelter or yourself, you have to inform your neighbors and friends that your and their search can now officially be concluded. The people that have stood by you all this time deserve to be informed that your pet has now safely returned home. They should know that they can now end their search efforts and celebrate with you the happy news. Share them! Call the people that have helped you reach this happy ending and thank them for their assistance, time and effort.

Don't forget to visit to all the places you have posted your flyers and collect them, since now there is no reason people should continue searching for your adventurous pet. Call all the professionals that have assisted you and inform them that your pet is again home. They will be happy to hear the happy news!

Of course, always remember to keep a collar and a current identification tag on your pet at all times, even when it is sleeping peacefully on the couch. It takes only a minute of carelessness for a pet to escape your attention and it is much easier for someone who finds it to return it back to your loving arms if its identification tags are in place. Ask your local veterinarian about pets' micro-chipping techniques. This unique ID number can be your pet's ticket home!

Finally, keep in mind that pets do not want to "run away" or "stray." They usually attempt to investigate new places and find themselves trapped, get lost if they are away from their familiar territory, become ill or injured and creep away to a quiet dark place. But they rarely voluntarily leave your home. Thus, it is imperative that when a pet turns up missing an aggressive search has to begin immediately.

We all here, at the UK Pet Register, hope you will never have to bear such an incident. However, in case your pet goes missing, we wish you a successful outcome and sincerely hope that your pet returns safely to your loving arms as soon as possible.



© UK Missing Pet Register.