In-depth help finding your lost pet is here; just take an
evening studying this site to find a wealth of details your pet needs
you to know.
Who -- What
-- Where -- Why -- How
HOW TO SEARCH FOR A LOST PET
Applicable to any U.S. area --
Applicable to some International areas
Lost Pets - attitudes,
Where lost pets go; animal behaviors; statistics; problems
facility may eventually get your pet and why
How to search for a lost pet - Section IV-a
You are here
Section IV-c Section IV-d
Example Search Schedule,
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, continued:
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.
This is page IV-b;
read to bottom and continue to page
click here to go back one page
1. When you visit a pound or shelter,
make notes about the facility -- how
large it is, whether there is a bulletin board, how many and what kinds of intake lists they
have, whether they allow access to all areas and what those areas are, and
whether there is a particular person there whom you feel you can trust to keep
an eye out for your lost pet. If you do not feel you can trust, then flag that
facility as one you must visit personally.
NOTE: (this paragraph is repeated in E-2 Intake Lists)
A possible blockade to your search is
that you may find that a local agency will not allow you to read through
their listings of dogs and cats brought in to the facility. This can be
pretty important, since looking through their lists yourself can help
you spot errors, note an animal that has already been through the
facility that may be yours, locate an animal on the wrong list, etc.
Sometimes you will not be allowed to view such lists because an agency
(which is not a city pound) may consider the list their private
property, not open to the public. But this can also happen because many
times such lists exist only on their computer systems. In such a case,
you are at the mercy of the agency employee or volunteer to search the
list properly, carefully, and adequately. Worse, many facilities keep
lists available for only 30 days. If you have lost your pet some time
ago and you want to review back listings, and if your pet has already
entered and left a facility more than 30 days ago, there will be no way
for you to know and no way for you to find out. In such a case, we
strongly recommend continuing your search, setting yourself a schedule,
a determination of those things you will and will not do, and giving
yourself a deadline as to when you will stop searching. Then do the best
you can, and if you do not find your pet within that time period, simply
accept it. Since many pets are out wandering on their own, or taken in
to a temporary home, for some months or even a year or so, please do not
give up too soon. There is, in fact, an excellent chance your pet is out
there and needs you.
Some facilities will not allow you to view certain
animals. For example, if you are helping a friend by searching for their
pet alone, you yourself may not be allowed to see new animals brought
in, ill or injured animals, or dangerous animals,
whereas the person who lost the pet may be allowed to view them. Private
facilities do set some of their own rules, and you and I are obliged to
2. Recruit helpers whenever you can.
Don't be shy about asking for help.
If someone says "no", or doesn't bother doing anything after saying
"yes", well, how bad can that be? While you may get plenty of no's, you are bound to get enough yes's, too. Hand out batches of
posters or bulletin board cards and ask people to help you keep them
posted in grocery stores, etc. Ask the same of people in the area in
which your pet was lost.
Every poster someone else is willing to put up
is one more you don't have to worry about. When you go to pounds and
shelters ask other visitors whether they come in often, and if they do, give them some posters and ask if they will
keep looking at that facility for you and if they'll put some posters up
elsewhere, too. Make a note of this on your records ...
and if possible, get info so you can keep in touch with them. Ask them to post in their
own neighborhood, at work, at the
grocery store, etc. Do not rely on any one person though ... ask everyone, in
hopes that you will end up with at least one helpful person for each
Postings and other help. Ask people wherever you call, wherever you
go, if they would put up even a single poster for you in their own
neighborhood, office, grocery store, laundry, apartment building. If they'll
do more, all the better. Will some of them make phone calls? Search out good
email addresses for agencies? List on Craig's List and then keep on top of that
ad for you? Often, you will find other pet lovers who will help long-term. Ask children in
the area of loss to keep an eye out for your pet; leave a poster with them. Door-knock if possible, and ask neighbors, parents of the kids, apartment
managers, store workers, etc. to help, and to put up posters.
Ask all of these people to ask
friends, neighbors, co-workers if they will put up a poster or two
wherever they happen to work or live. Be sure to convince them how
important distance can be, since most people do not
understand how far little pets can get even on their own. Continued
below; please scroll down ....
Ask others to link to this website lost pet info;
ask them to visit;
ask them to let friends, family, neighbors know about these documents.
Spreading the word about how extremely difficult it can be to find a
lost pet may help pet owners keep tighter control of the animals they
This, in turn, can help cut down on the numbers
of pets killed each
4. Success in Numbers.
There is success in numbers.
If you can find, say 5 people to help you, and each of those five people
can do 5 little things a day every day ... that's not so bad. And with 30 days
in a month, we're talking 750 items done every month~! If
you can make it even easier by using ongoing email lists in a bulk mail
program, then 100
emails a month can be done at the click of your mouse and cut down on
the labor significantly. With vets, pet shops, humane shelters, city
pounds, etc., you may end up with several hundred on your email list
that you should send an email to every other week, or every month or so.
Also see Section V for search simplification.
5. Get printing help. Printing posters and bulletin
board cards can be time-consuming and expensive. Some people
may not mind making a copy or two for you ... so when you speak with people,
hand them a poster and outright ask if they can make more copies to post? Again,
the worst they could say is "No". If they say no, ask if
they'd take a few more posters from you to post. With anyone who seems
willing to do "a lot", keep excellent records
so you can keep in touch, keeping a handle on what others might be doing
for you. Try to eliminate overlap with their efforts, to cut down on
C. TYPES OF ANIMAL CONTROL
As mentioned earlier, there are different kinds of
animal control, with some municipalities
having no regulations regarding stray animals, and therefore, no animal
control. Most do control
the stray animal population. When a municipality does provide some sort
of animal control, the type depends on what the larger city, county, or
smaller municipality has
decided on. (see Section III, item F for comparison details). The choices may
1. Having their own impoundment facility (animal pound) and hiring
their own employee animal wardens;
2. having their own facility, but contracting out to animal
control wardens who are not employees;
3. contracting with another facility such as a veterinary office,
private kennel, individual animal warden, another city’s pound, or a humane shelter.
4. When a private animal control warden is contracted with to pick
up strays, sometimes that warden decides where to bring the animals;
sometimes that may be controlled by the contract; sometimes that private
animal warden may contract with several municipalities and may or may
not house the animals in the warden's own kennel.
5. Sometimes animal pickup is left to the city police or sheriff’s
office; sometimes police or sheriff's office will deliver directly to a facility,
sometimes they will call a contracted warden. If state patrol does any
animal pickup, then if an animal
ends up running on a Federal freeway and needs to be picked up, that would be up
to the state patrol or possibly the county. Where the state patrol brings the animal, would
depend on what the state has arranged, such as using a county or city
impoundment facility or one of the others listed in this section. In rural areas, sheriff’s offices
would usually be in charge and responsible in their county, if in fact
they pick up strays at all.
D. HOW TO FIND POUNDS AND SHELTERS
or shelters work together in some way to aid strays and unwanted pets,
some do not. You must find out who does what.
1. Get city, municipal, and county information from your local phone book
and record the phone number and address of each municipality or county in your search list.
In some cases, you may find animal pound information within a city or
county listing, in other cases, you will have to make a phone call and
ask about animal impoundment.
2. Get a good local map which
lists all municipalities in your area. Compare this list with your phone book
list. The phone book, of course, will list phone numbers; however, you
may find that some minor municipalities are missing in the phonebook
listing. Use the local map listing to catch those missing municipalities and then dig around to find
their phone numbers.
3. Call every single
municipality and county and ask who handles animal control for them and ask for the phone
number. Call that phone number to be sure both the number and the information
are accurate. For what information to ask for, continue reading all
pages of this document.
4. To find Humane Societies, look through all local phone book
yellow pages under "Animal Aid and Welfare", "Animal Pounds", "Animal
Shelters", "Dog Pounds", "Humane Shelters", "Humane Societies",
"Shelters". There may be other areas to search in your yellow pages,
depending on how your wide-area phone companies choose to index.
5. To find no-kill Shelters, look through all local phone book
yellow pages as above. However, many shelters do not list in phone
books. Watch for bulletin board ads, look through your newspaper
listings especially in the Pets For Sale section, where shelters will
frequently list animals for adoption; check online newspaper listings,
again especially noting the Pets for Sale section.
Section IV continued ... see "Click to continue" link below
Click to continue How to Search - Section IV-c ....
Cleaning and D.O.
2004, Copyright cT2, inc., Box 7164,
Minneapolis, Mn 55407
All rights reserved
Questions or comments,
If you find a broken link, please email . Thank you!
Additional keywords: animal pound animal shelter dog pound
impoundment facility county pound city pound
humane society humane shelter neighborhood search
police pound sheriff department spca animal control humane society
lost pet blog lost pets blog
Study this site carefully;
one little detail may be the one that brings
your lost pet home.
Most-comprehensive in scope,
has the info you need.
This website lost pets info is now available in book form:
Book pricing here
Where to search:
Humane Society Shelters
Leave posters with all
Other areas to check:
Lost and Found listings
Pets For Sale Listings
Craig's List online
Breeder wanted ads
Other things to do:
Start an 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
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
Keep on looking, for
days, weeks, months
Petago pet products catalog
are different kinds of animal control