Lost pet animal pounds and shelters logo, lost dog, lost cat, lost pet

If you do 10 things to find your lost pet, what are the consequences if you should have done 30?

Applicable to any U.S. area -- Applicable to some International areas

Who -- What -- Where -- Why -- How

Applicable to any U.S. area --  Applicable to some International areas

    I.   Lost Pets - attitudes, issues, beliefs
   II.   Where lost pets go; animal behaviors; statistics; problems
  III.   Which facility may eventually get your pet and why
  IV.   How to search for a lost pet - Section IV-a You are here
              Section IV-b      Section IV-c      Section IV-d

        Section IV tips:
Be sure to read all pages of Section IV.
          There are many comments within comments that could be
most-important for getting your pet home. Section IV-b, for example,
          tells you why a search map is vital; Section IV-c covers intake lists
          and the issues of human error; Section IV-d covers tips on sound recognition.

.  Example Search Schedule, Simplified
  VI.  How to change the lost and surrendered pet system

Our information has been carefully checked many times, from many angles; however, laws change, facilities change, numbers change, situations change.
Everything you read here about the lost pet impoundment system can be verified or proven erroneous as you work to find your pet; you will find tips here on how to verify information as you learn how to accomplish a serious search.
We encourage you to verify verify verify.

In this 4-page section:
A multitude of hidden tips. Your pet needs one. But which one?

Some information in this report is difficult to cope with and not for the faint of heart; plan for an efficient search; it can take weeks or months to find the lost.

Although this document is written mostly in reference to dogs and cats, the principles can be applied to other critters as well. Use your best judgment regarding your particular lost pet and conduct your search accordingly.

printer friendly page for all of Section IV How to Search for lost Pets

Because you are likely most-anxious to get started,
we have included a list of things you can do to find your pet. 
> > > > > > >

However, because the devil is in the details,
please also read all of the information below as soon as possible.


This is page IV-a;

return to top to click on additional Section IV links,

or go to bottom and continue to page IV-b


Read all info posted on this website.

See Section
V when you're ready to simplify your search schedule.

. Overwhelming Details? Important: Do not let these details overwhelm you. First, read through all info. Keep an open mind. Get a solid understanding of the wide area around where your pet was lost. If, for example, you live in a city of 300,000 people, you will likely have other cities nearby as well as suburbs. Minneapolis, Minnesota has over 300,000 people; the greater-metro area has over 3 million people in about 176 separate municipalities in our immediate 7-county metro area, all within reasonable distance for search efforts. This document will give you details on how to accomplish necessary search tasks in your own area, whether a large, complex urban area, or rural community.

2. Tough But Not Impossible. The efforts required to find a lost pet make worrying about that lost pet just that much more painful. Still, finding the lost is not impossible. There are many things you can do to find your pet, and most can be done with a modicum of effort.

3. Other Pets. In the meantime, if you have additional pets still at home, be sure to keep them lovingly confined, and provide them with proper current identification. A collar with tags, plus an implanted chip are recommended. Also keep a good, clear photo of each pet, showing the entire body, not just a face shot.

4. The impoundment system. In order to help a lost pet get back home, it is important to understand the impoundment system (animal control) in your area. The information in this document can be applied to almost any impoundment system anywhere ... both in the U.S. and to some greater or lesser extent, other countries. The reason this can be true is because most communities struggle with large numbers of strays ("large" in this context meaning numbers of stray and unwanted animals compared to the numbers of people in a given community and the budget available for animal control). This results in similar problems no matter where the strays are, and because similar things happen to strays, no matter the location.
     This report, then, will attempt to describe these details for you, so that you might make your best effort to get a lost pet back home.
     First, it is suggested that you simply and quickly read through
this document, all pages, to get an idea of what you are up against. Brace yourself, since if it is your pet that is lost, this will not be a comfortable read. Once you have finished reading, sit back, decide what you are and are not capable of doing, and make a plan. The more you do, the better chance of your pet's return. Since there is no way to know exactly what you need to do to be successful, try to not neglect any area, if at all possible. Continued below ....

Reminder 1: Pounds and shelters are required to keep animals only 5 days,
although some keep them longer.

Reminder 2: Veterinarians have confirmed that even a small pet can travel indefinitely at 3 miles per hour, so that in 8 hours, your pet could travel 24 miles. Even so, some pets,
especially cats -- and also those pets lost away from home -- tend to stay in the area as long as they possibly can waiting and hoping to be found.

Reminder 3: Some pets can be found quickly, others may take weeks or months to surface. It is important to not give up too soon.

5. How to limit your search labor

a. Plan well.
As you begin your search, you can limit much long-term labor by planning well. Things you can do that will make your search easier down the road include:

b. Keep excellent records. Keep good, controllable lists of places to contact, with their phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses, as well as names of persons you have spoken with. Also keep short notes about your discussions with them.

c. Poster supplies. From the moment you start your search, carry a goodly  supply of posters and bulletin-board cards with you so you can post them immediately whenever needed; as you see posters have been taken down or bulletin boards have been cleared, repost them. If you make a habit of carrying a card or poster or two with you when you go to a grocery store or elsewhere, you won't have to run back to your vehicle or home to get one. Continued below ....

     Poster tips:
There are many sites on the web for automatic poster-making. Simply search "lost pet poster" to find them.

Take a few minutes to search through various sites to find your best poster example and method.
Text on your poster must be large enough to be seen and read from 10' away, from inside a car, in one quick glance. Use large limited wording; use a good clear photo of the entire animal, if possible.
Once you have your poster made up, print it on 11x17" posterboard or cardstock at your local copier center, print shop, office supply store, etc. (they should be able to enlarge it from 8-1/2 x 11" up to 11x17" for you)
4) For outdoor postings, if you cannot afford lamination to protect the poster long-term, tape clear plastic over the entire poster, front and back, with no leakage areas. 
Indoor posters of smaller size may be adequate.
Bulletin Board cards. Visit your local grocery store and ask for a supply of bulletin board cards. Six or eight should do. Take the cards home and write your lost pet information on each one. Paste these up on a sheet of printer paper, two across, totaling the six or eight cards on one sheet. Then visit your copier center and make plenty of copies on cardstock. Cut them apart for bulletin board postings.

d. Email. If you use a computer (as opposed to reading this from a printed copy), first of all, email everybody you know with information about your lost pet. Set your email up in poster fashion with your complete contact info. Ask everyone to email everyone they know. Hopefully, this will set in motion a "viral" email campaign designed to get the maximum number of people looking for your lost pet (this may not work in some circumstances, depending on animal, species, area, etc).

As people email you, keep their email addresses in an email mailing list. Also keep a list of email addresses of facilities and businesses you can contact by email on a regular basis.

As you visit agencies, ask for their email address to add to your list, and ask them to add your email address to their email address book to ensure any email you send them down the road will be received.

If you have a good bulk email program available, that can be most helpful. Then once a month or so, send a reminder email to everyone on your list, and ask them to make sure your poster is still on their bulletin board, if appropriate, or simply let them know you are still looking. You may also set up an email notification, whereby you will be notified if your email is opened by the recipient. An unopened email could mean your email got caught in their spam filter.

Set your email up similar to a poster, with a photo of your pet included (keep in mind that some security program setups will not allow your photo to be received, however, so your email should be designed around that problem and should include a clear description of the lost pet).

e. Plan your visits with or without email. Once you have a good, workable email list in order, then you can determine who is not emailable. Those which you cannot send email info and reminders to are the facilities to call or visit, instead.

Section IV continued ... see "Click to continue" link below

Plan to start collecting names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, website addresses, and chat locations online right at the beginning of your search. With no computer, an alphabetical cardfile with one card per agency in one section and one card per important contact person in a separate section can be helpful to keep everything in easily-accessible order.

Click to continue How to Search - Section IV-b ....

Link to animal-pounds.com

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Additional keywords: animal pound animal shelter dog pound
 impoundment facility county pound city pound
humane society spca humane shelter neighborhood search
police pound sheriff department animal control spca humane society
lost pet blog lost pets blog

Questions people frequently ask:
I've lost my pet; now what?
Help me find my lost pet?
What if my pet gets lost?
Where can I find lost pet rescue?

Study this site carefully;
one little detail may be the one that brings your lost pet home.
animal-pounds.com is most-comprehensive in scope,
 and has the in-depth info you need.

One little piece of information may be the one you must have.
Here you'll find information on what happens to pets in pounds,
how animals are killed (euthanized) in pounds and shelters,
how to find out what happens to animals in pounds,
as well as how to find lost cats and
how to find lost dogs.


This website lost pets info is now available in book form:

Book pricing here

Pet Products:

Pet Training

Edible Supplies

Online Catalogs

  and D.O.



List of
Where to search:

Animal pounds
Animal shelters
  Humane Society Shelters
  No-Kill Shelters
City Offices
Police facilities
Police Departments
Sheriff facilities
Sheriff Offices
Veterinary facilities
   Highway Departments
   Sanitation Departments
   Breed Assoc.
   Pet Shops
   Research labs
Leave posters with all

Other areas to check:
Lost and Found listings
Pets For Sale Listings
Bulletin boards
Craig's List online
Found posters
Breeder wanted ads

Other things to do:
Create email campaign
Offer a reward
Put up posters
Place Lost ads
List on Bulletin Boards
Post on Craig's List
Human interest articles
Contact TV news
Contact Radio News
Get on chat sites online
Recruit wide-area helpers

At home/neighborhood:
Keep shelter available
Keep food/water out
Keep on visiting area
Search area regularly
Call pet's name often
If cat located, live trap
Doorknock & leave info
Recruit neighbor help
Recruit kids

Keep on looking, for
   days, weeks, months

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You can limit much long-term labor by planning well.

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animal shelters and pounds can be located using these methods; lost dogs and lost cats and other lost pets too
Your efforts will pay off. Keep your lost pet search going while studying this website's information.


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Take care of home and all facilities. Once you have those areas covered, then start tackling all the other projects, using Section V to guide you.