Did you know that an estimated 5 million pets go missing in the United States every year? Hopefully all pet owners reading this have microchipped their pet and have them wearing contact information as identification on pets is responsible for 90% of reunions. Given that our pets are typically treated as a member of the family, we would do just about anything to get them back. If you found a lost animal would you know what to do?
The SPCA recommends the following steps:
Use caution when trying to catch the animal. Remember they are probably scared and frightened and may resist human interaction and even scratch or bite you.
Speak in a calm voice when walking towards the animal. This helps create trust and reassurance. If possible, create a barrier or attach a leash to restrain the animal.
Concerned for your safety? Call the local animal control agency or police. Stay on the scene so you can keep track of the animal until the authorities arrive.
Check for identification once you have safely restrained the animal. If there is visible identification you should contact the owner immediately. Even if the animal doesn’t have a collar, it could be microchipped. You can take the animal to a local animal shelter or veterinarian where the staff will be able to immediately look up the owner’s contact information.
Post fliers around the neighborhood where you located the animal. This is the next best option If you haven’t been able to locate the owners through ID tags or microchip. Be sure to include your contact information so people can reach you. You could also post on sites like Nextdoor.com where people within the community can help you connect with the owners.
If for some unfortunate reason you are unable to locate the owners, you will need to make the decision of whether you want to keep the animal or release it to a shelter. This decision is completely up to you and your family and you should not let anyone talk you into one course of action or the other. If you are considering keeping the pet, take a moment to read this article: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself before Getting a Pet