I've lost a pet - What to do if your pet is missing.
File a report at the Shelter.
Visit the shelter during normal business hours and we’ll help you complete a lost report. Be prepared to provide detailed information and provide a photo of your pet. We’ll also ask you to tour our facility to look for your pet as well.
Please Note: Submitting a lost report does not guarantee that we will call you if your pet comes into our shelter. Unless the pet is microchipped or has a valid ID tag on its collar when found, we may not know it is your pet. We recommend you physically come to the shelter daily to look for your lost pet.
Why Pets Run Away and Where They Often Go
How far they run is just a function of how far their legs will carry them. Big strong dogs, especially young ones, can run 5 miles or more. Small dogs may be able to go half a mile at most. Most dogs are recovered well within a two-mile circle of their home, especially because they normally will never run for an extended length in a straight line no matter how strong or fast they are.
If it is an outgoing dog, it will be looking for other dogs and for other humans who are friendly and likely to comfort, feed and shelter it. Neighbors' yards and public parks are spots it will like. If it is a shy or older pet and not trusting of strangers, it will hide. Bushes and under cars are good spots.
This is especially true of cats. Friendly, outgoing and confident cats may wander quite a ways. Shy, timid cats are more likely to hide close by. Search your house thoroughly. Crawl spaces, drop ceilings, open walls, closets, etc. Don’t underestimate what small spaces your cat can get into. Also look for shy cats in neighbor’s basements, garages, etc. They may hole up in these spaces until night or when things quiet down and then come out. Also they may stay in such places until the call for food overwhelms them and they emerge. Shy animals generally do not travel far but hide well.
Keep in mind that if your pet is friendly at all, the odds are great that someone has seen your pet and taken it in. People normally will respond favorably to a lost pet. Even households who do not have a pet will often help lost animals. There are a lot of strangers who are on the side of finding and helping your pet return home.
So in many cases, someone will take in your pet. They will be driving by and have your dog jump in their car. They will be working in the neighborhood. They may live down the street. More often than not, they will not be equipped to house your pet. Their home is not set up. Their parents will not allow it. They don't want to bring a strange dog into the yard with their dogs.
People take lost pets to local veterinarians, animal hospitals, kennels, groomers, even pet stores. They take them to our animal shelter and sometimes if traveling through the area, they will take them to their own shelter which may be miles away. This is why it is so important to notify shelters beyond our local shelter.
Sometimes, and only rarely, do people try to keep a pet that is not theirs. There are neighbors, friends, children, and all the people who come to a home to service its needs that have the opportunity to see that pet. That is a lot of eyes seeing a new pet arrive.