A lost pet is always stressful for a family. However, what do you do if you find someone else’s precious doggo or kitty? Finding a pet doesn’t have to be stressful for you or the lost pet. By following a few simple steps you can help the pet and its owner have happy reunion.
Be Cautious of Aggressive Animals
First, never attempt to approach an animal that seems aggressive. If the animal appears aggressive or runs away, you should call animal control or the police. Animal control personnel have the tools and experience to safely capture animals of every disposition. You will need to provide a description of the animal along with the location or direction of flight. Also, if the animal is injured, it could cause the animal to be especially aggressive.
Use Common Sense
A wandering cat or dog in your neighborhood could be either a stray or lost pet. Either way, you must first safely capture the animal to help. The best way to catch the animal will depend on the circumstances. However, always ensure your safety and the safety of the animal. If the animal does not appear aggressive, approach carefully and speak in a calm voice. Offering food is a great way to coax the animal since the poor thing may be hungry. Remember the animal is probably frightened and may run away, which could be very dangerous if you are near a busy street. Don’t let your eagerness to help override common sense.
Check for ID or Contact a Local Shelter
If you are successful and capture the cat or dog, show some hospitality by providing fresh water and food along with plenty of reassuring words. Next you need to determine if the animal is a stray or a lost pet. If the animal has an ID tag, then the mystery is solved and all you need to do is contact the owner and arrange the happy reunion. See Jethro’s story and how his ID tags helped him find his way back home!
However, if the animal doesn’t have an ID tag, the next best step is to bring the animal to a local animal shelter. Animal control or the police can help with transportation to a shelter if you cannot. Don’t delay, because the local animal shelter is often the best place for an animal without an ID tag. Most shelters possess the necessary tools to scan for microchips, which can help to quickly identify the pet and its owner. Many owners also contact local shelters when a pet is missing, so shelters are often the best way to reunite families and their lost pets. The shelter will also be the best place for stray animals since they can help find a forever home for the animal.
How to Find a Lost Pet’s Owner
After transporting the animal to a shelter, you can still help reunite the pet with the worried family by taking these steps:
- posting flyers in the neighborhood where you found the animal (with a photo if possible)
- using social media and websites that list lost and found pets (don’t forget the photo)
- checking community boards and “lost” pet flyers
- posting on craigslist or local newspapers/community news flyers
If you make contact with the owner, you can direct them to the shelter where you brought the lost pet. However, if you find the owner while the animal is still in your possession, make sure to verify that the person is in fact the owner. All pet owners will have photos of their furry family member that they can show you before you transfer the animal.
Helping a lost or stray animal is definitely a good deed. Use common sense, be careful, and rely on professionals to help you be a hero.