If you found a dog or cat...
- Check for a tag:
- Call the owner and confirm the animal is her/his pet.
- If the animal has a state-issued rabies tag, call the vet clinic (if listed) or go to http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/rabies/figures.html, which will give the finder the proper year & tag type and the organization to whom the tag was sold. The finder can call the number listed and ask the veterinarian hospital or animal control for the contact information. As an alternative the finder can call their local animal control, as they keep lists, too.
- Put a tag with her/his contact information on the animal so that the dog/cat does not get lost again.
- Check for a microchip: Chatham County Animal Shelter and most vets can check for microchips.
- Notify Chatham County Animal Control: The Chatham County Animal Control Ordinance requires that anyone who finds a stray animal must notify animal control within 72 hours (CCAS telephone number is 919-542-7203). Animal control will post a "found" notice on a bulletin board at the shelter with the animal's description, where and when the animal was found, and the date of posting. If the animal is not reclaimed after 5 days, she/he may be adopted or transferred to a rescue group (if there is room and the animal temperment tests successfully).
- Also Notify Orange County Animal Shelter: Especially if the animal was found within wandering distance of the Orange County line: 919-967-7383.
- NOTE: The ordinance does not require anyone who finds a stray animal to take the animal to the shelter, only to notify the shelter. It is simply a matter of notification.
- Check lost and found ads in local newspapers and on the Chatham Chatlist. The Chatlist address is: email@example.com.
- Place a Found Ad: Most papers do it for free for up to 5 days. Withhold some identifying information to help in determining whether a caller is the actual owner.
- Place flyers and posters in the area and in local Vet clinics: Include a picture of the animal if possible. Laminate flyers/posters or place them in plastic sleeves.
- Call local Vet clinics: Ask if anyone has reported a lost animal.
- Go to the CARE website (www.chathamanimalrescue.org): Check out Animal Lost and Found resources under Information/Favorite Articles and Web Sites.
- Send a recent picture of the animal: Send to the CARE respondent so that she can distribute it among the CARE volunteers, in case one of them might have seen the animal or might know the owner.
- Important numbers at a glance:
If you lost a dog or cat...
Many pet owners have experienced the trauma of a lost cat or dog at some time. To reduce the likelihood of losing your pet, do the following:
- Keep cats indoors and dogs indoors or within a securely fenced yard.
- Microchip your pet along with a providing a safety collar and ID tag. The chances of getting a pet back go up substantially if he/she has identification. Even a safety collar (these are designed to come off if caught on something) can be helpful if it comes off, because if someone finds it you will have a valuable clue as to what area your pet is in.
- Cats and dogs are often lost during moves. Transport your pet in a secure carrier, and check your new house carefully for escape routes such as torn screens.
If your cat or dog should be lost, the following steps can help to re-unite you:
- If you've not already done so, notify the local animal shelter that your dog or cat is missing. Do this immediately, as many shelters have only three to five day holding periods for strays.
- Make a flyer with the pet's picture and other pertinent information (wearing a collar, distinctive markings, sex, neutered/spayed, etc.). Offer a reward for the pet's return. Distribute the flyer around your neighborhood and to all the area veterinarians.
- Lost cats generally do not travel far from their house. Check to see if your veterinarian or local rescue group can loan or rent you a trap that you can use to catch the cat. A cat's behavior may change when it is scared, so it may not respond to its owner even if they are nearby.
- Be persistent. It is not uncommon for cats or dogs to be found many weeks or months after they disappear.
- NOTE: A number of the suggestions for finding the owner of a found dog or cat can also be followed to locate a lost dog or cat.
- Use what you find helpful. Some is not applicable, like walking and calling softy since the cat doesn't really know her... Be sure to post her on the Triangle lost and found facebook page, etc. I included links for everything. Another thought is rotating the other cats litter box outside, after uses it, if she is nearby she could recognize his scent possibly? that is if he goes back to Jill's.
- Usually when indoor cats escape outside accidentally, they hide near the escape point in SILENCE because they find themselves out of the territory they are familiar with (inside your home) and survival instincts kick in.
- Indoor/outdoor cats can exhibit the same type of behavior if they are 'displaced'. For example, chased out of their territory, afraid to pass through a certain yard because of dogs, etc., or if they are sick or injured they will hide in silence.
- Put some of her things on the porch, her litter box, food, etc. and do a thorough search around the outside of your home with a flashlight. Look even in tight spaces, in nooks and crannies and up in trees too.
- AFTER you thoroughly check around your own home, check your neighbors' homes in same manner. She is more likely very close to the escape point, if indoor-only, but if she was startled or chased, she could have ended up in a neighbor's yard too, but concentrate around your own home initially.
- Ask neighbors to check their outbuildings, crawlspaces too, in case she got locked in...better yet, search those yourself too.
- Posters and canvassing neighborhood with flyers after doing a thorough search around your home and neighbors' homes are some of your best tools. So everyone in the area realizes that she is lost and can call you with sightings.
- Don't forget to look up in trees, in case she got chased up one and is afraid to climb down.
- In addition to these tips, do the typical things like report her to local shelters, call area vets and after hours emergency vets. Send fliers with photo of her too, and go in person if need be.
- You could use Google maps satellite view and zoom out to get an idea of the roads/neighborhoods near you. Post fliers in radius around these areas.
- Sometimes using a humane trap when you have a sighting could work, if she is hard to catch. If afraid, cats usually venture out from hiding during quiet times like dawn/dusk. If you do see her, approach quietly, staying low to the ground, so she doesn't run. After searching your home area, you could walk quietly, call in soft voice, around neighborhood some. Just don't do it aggressively, might frighten her where she wouldn't come up to you. In case she is just a few houses away and disoriented or afraid to pass through a yard with dogs in it, for instance.