At VHS, we are committed to ensuring that pets find their forever home. While lost pets in general may be inevitable, there are a number of steps that can be taken to prevent this unfortunate situation from happening to you. First, always have your pet collared with identification. When someone finds a lost animal, identification can encourage them to contact you instead of letting the animal continue to wander where it is subject to injury or illness. Second, proper confinement provides the best protection against losing your pet. If you have a fenced yard but your pet can squeeze through the bars, consider chicken wire or a similar product to prevent this from happening. Third, proper obedience training can prevent your pet from taking advantage of situations in which it could possibly escape, as well as allow a potential finder to contain the animal with ease. Lastly, spaying/neutering your pets decreases and in some cases eliminates their desire to wander in search of a mate, removing some of the motivation pets have to leave home.
Please note that Valley Humane Society is unable to take in lost animals. Find your local municipal shelter here.
Found a Lost Pet?
•Look for identification. Collars and tags often list the owner’s contact information.
•If there is no identification, consider bringing the animal to a local shelter or veterinarian to check for an implanted microchip. Microchips contain all the information needed to find the owner of the animal.
•Call your local animal shelter and give a full description of the animal. If the owners call to report that their pet is missing, the shelter will be able to use the information you provided in order to match pet with owner
•Place a “Found Pet” ad in local newspapers and on local bulletin boards. When providing a description of the animal, be sure to leave out an important identifier such as the location of a scar or spot in order to ensure the correct owner is found. If the owner seems questionable, it may be worth checking the owner’s supplied information against the veterinarian’s records before handing the animal over to them.
•Check the Lost Pet sections of newspapers and bulletin boards for an ad by the owner.
•Ask neighbors and friends if they know who owns the animal.
•Turn the animal over to a shelter. Once at a shelter, the owner may be found or the animal will be put up for adoption. If you are interested in fostering the animal, most shelters will allow you to as well. You can contact the East Bay SPCA here.
Have a Missing Pet?
•Go to an Animal Services Center with a current picture of your pet and file a Lost Animal report. This report will be kept on file for three months and will allow the center to contact you if your pet is found.
•Spread the word! Inform neighbors that your pet is missing, put ads in local newspapers, place posters near where your pet went missing, and thoroughly search areas near where your pet was last seen. Offering a reward can be useful to encourage others to keep an eye out for your pet as well.
•Check with local veterinarians. If your pet was injured while away from home it may have been taken to a clinic for treatment and care.
•Check back with shelters and Animal Services every three days in order to have the best chance of finding your pet. Many lost pets are not brought to Animal Services for some time after going missing. In addition, most shelters are operated by volunteers which, combined with the large number of animals and “Lost” reports, may make it difficult for your pet to be accurately identified by anyone but you.