The Dutchess County SPCA understands how frightening it can be when a beloved pet is missing. So many animals are brought to our shelter and are listed as strays because they aren’t wearing a collar with tags. They may never have had one, or the collar may have come off. Either way, without identification, we can’t locate the owner and return the animal to it’s rightful home, so we often spend a lot of time finding a new home for an animal that may already have one. And you run the risk of never seeing your beloved pet again.
As the saying goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, we offer the following tips:
- Always make sure that your pet has some form of identification. Name tags, tattoo, or microchipping all dramatically increase the chances of pet being returned to you if it becomes lost.
- If you have had your pet tattooed or microchipped, make sure you keep your contact information current with the tattoo registry or with the microchip company. Make sure you register with the company that made the chip, which will be the first place contacted if your pet is found. Microchips do NOT contain your contact information, just the chip number.
- Photograph all pets to keep on file and update the photos from time to time
- During unusually busy times such as the holidays or Halloween when lots of people are visiting your home, keep your pet safe and secure in a closed bedroom
- If pets are afraid of loud noises, keep them secure during thunderstorms and 4th of July.
To list your pet or search for your pet online try the following sites:
First and foremost, remember to STAY CALM and don’t give up hope. Losing a pet is frightening, but many mistakes can be made and time wasted if your actions are not thought out with a clear head. These guidelines are designed for quick, easy reference and are listed in the order you should proceed.
- START THE SEARCH IMMEDIATELY
- Do not hesitate to ask for help from family, friends, neighbors, etc.
- Working in groups of 2 or more, start searching around the area the animal was last seen
- Distribute pictures of animal and/or detailed description: name, breed, color, sex, markings or tattoos, weight, collar or tags
- Don’t forget children on bikes can cover a large area
- Cell phones will help to communicate with others in the search party
- Try different times of day or night. Cats are more active early morning and at night. Dogs may be active anytime and may tend to run farther. Also, dogs may burrow into self made dens and cats may climb trees.
- DO NOT CHASE AND NEVER YELL AT THE ANIMAL! Establish contact by calling and whistling. Be cautious, however, about calling your pet across a busy road. Remember- stay calm. Attempt to stop or slow traffic, keep your own safety in mind
- Bring a flashlight for evening search. Carry a leash or slip collar and carrying case to catch the animal and prevent escape
- Systematically extend the search to surrounding areas. Drive through the neighborhood while calling calmly
- Bring canned pet food warmed in a microwave to entice your pet. The warming intensifies the aroma.
- Place Hav-a-Hart traps in areas where your pet may have been spotted or regularly visits
2. CONTACT AND/OR VISIT DAILY
Humane Shelters, Emergency Veterinarians & Animal Welfare Agencies :
- Dutchess County SPCA, 636 Violet Avenue, Hyde Park, NY 12538 (845.452.7722, Ext. 403)
- Ulster County SPCA, 20 Wiedy Rd, Kingston, NY 12401 (845.331.5377)
- Putnam County SPCA (845.520.6915, 24-hour hotline )
- Columbia/Greene SPCA, 125 Humane Society Rd, Hudson, NY 12534 (518.828.6044)
- Animal Emergency Clinic of the Hudson Valley, 84 Patrick Lane, Poughkeepsie, NY (845.471. 8242)
- Animal Emergency Clinic of the Hudson Valley, 1112 Morton Blvd., Kingston, NY (845.336.0713)
- VCA Animal Specialty and Emergency Center, 1285 Route 9, Wappingers Falls, NY (845.632.3200)
- Animal Control Facilities: Phone numbers are usually listed under local government offices in blue pages of phone book
- Hudson Valley Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, 15 Barnes Drive, Poughkeepsie (845.392.4849
- Animal Welfare Agencies:
- Mid-Hudson Animal Aid, 54 Simmons Lane, Beacon, NY 12508 (845.831.4321
- Animal Rescue Foundation 54 Simmons Lane, Beacon, NY 12508(845.831.5161)
- Local Veterinarians
Contact immediately — some facilities euthanize within 5 days
Do not underestimate how far an animal can travel in a short amount of time. Your pet’s appearance may change through weight loss or matted and dirty coat. Also, someone else’s interpretation of your description may vary greatly. Collars can be broken off and your pet may no longer be wearing tags. Everyone who knows the animal should help visit these places in person, repeatedly.
Also call your Local police, State Troopers, County Sheriffs: Remember- DO NOT USE 911 to report your missing pet. Phone numbers are in the blue pages of your phone book.
3. PREPARE FLYERS
- Use clear photograph if available
- Give detailed descriptions of above photograph
- Mark the date the animal was lost
- Write “ REWARD” at top of flyer, but not an amount
- Note if animal needs medication
- Always list phone number(s) so people can call. Tear tags listing phone number are very easy to make and convenient. Be sure someone will answer 24 hours a day
- Make words LARGE and Easy to Read
- Flyers printed with inkjet printers will run if they get wet. Save these for indoors
4. POST FLYERS
- Always ask permission to post flyer. Bring your own tape and pushpins and post the flyer yourself.
- Post at professional pet places: Veterinary offices, Animal Hospitals, Emergency Clinics, Feed Stores, Groomers, Kennels, Pet Shops and Dog Training Schools
- Post at general places: Community bulletin boards, shopping centers, places of worship, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, post offices, laundromats, trees or telephone poles in highly trafficked areas
5. HAND OUT FLYERS: In your local area all day long, especially to people who travel regularly through your neighborhood, like:
- Mail Delivery Persons ( also UPS and FEDEX drivers )
- Meter Readers
- Newspaper Delivery Persons
- Police and Fire Departments
- Department of Highway Workers
6. PLACE ADS
- Newspapers ( both local and slightly outside the area )
- Radio Stations
- Local T.V. Stations
– Other Sources
- Dog Breed Rescue Groups ( most shelters have a listing of phone numbers )
- Petfinders ( 1.800.666.5678 ) www.petfinder.com
KEEP SEARCHING!! Many pets can disappear for months and still turn up.
Once you have found your pet, please remember to notify everyone of that fact, and please remove all flyers previously posted.