A lost pet is a scary thing, for both you and your beloved animal. Luckily there are some steps you can take either when you lose your own pet or find one that belongs to someone else.
Contact Animal Services and Police
There is a good chance that your pet has already been found by Animal Control/Services or turned in by another resident. Therefore, contacting them is a good first step if you believe your pet has gone missing.
Oakville Animal Services can be reached at 905-845-1551, Milton Animal Services at 905-878-7252, and Burlington Animal Control at 905-335-3030.
Other good places to call and check are vets, animal hospitals, and the police.
If you have found a pet you believe to be lost, you can bring it to animalsServices or an animal hospital/vet. If you are unable to retrieve a found pet you can report it to animal services with a detailed description.
Put out food, water, a bed/toy and an article of your clothing
The scent of these items may be picked up by a lost dog or cat, and hopefully, incite them to return home.
Get the word out
As you check the services listed previously, make sure to leave detail information on what your pet looks like as well as your own contact info. It also helps to email them a photo of your pet as well and let them know if your pet has been microchipped or not.
Putting up flyers and letting your neighbourhood know can also help a great deal.
Another great tool to use is helpinglostpets.com. It’s widely regarded as one of the best sites for reporting a lost or found pet across Canada and the U.S.
There is also the facebook page LostPetsOntario (which works together with Helpinglostpets) if you’re looking for another local option.
Instruct others on how to approach your pet
As people will either be out looking for your pet or randomly come across it, its best to let them how to approach the situation.
For most animals its bet not to call out or chase them.
For most dogs, sitting down and waiting without making eye contact is best. Throwing out a treat while doing this helps.
For cats, it’s a bit trickier, as they tend to either be very friendly or wary of strangers. The best advice is to again sit down and wait. If the cat is friendly you can extend your hand toward them and see if they respond. If not, try to stay where you are so you won’t spook it.
In all situations, it’s best to contact the owner and/or animal services and sit and wait near them when you spot a lost animal.
Don’t offer rewards
While it may seem like a standard procedure to offer a reward, it may actually not be a good idea for a number of reasons.
According to an article from lostdogsofamerica.org, while a reward encourages more people to search for your pet, it can also lead to them chasing and scaring it away. It also may encourage scammers to contact you and try to meet with you claiming to have your pet. It’s advised if this happens regardless of an offered reward or not to contact the police.
It can also encourage dog/catnapping or make others hold out of a reward. Also, it can affect the next person to lose an animal, as they may not be able to afford a reward.
Hopefully, a kind-hearted resident will find your lost pet and do the right thing by either returning them to you or contact animal services. You can always give a token of gratitude after the fact, the important thing is to try not to incite others to find or take your pet for greed.
On a final note its wise to always microchip your pet so they can be identified right away by animal services. This is not only one of the fastest ways to help your pet be returned home, but also helps prove the animal belongs to you if the need arises.