Helpful info for owners of LOST or STOLEN pets
Sadly pets get stolen and lost every day.
Having your pet go missing is a very emotional time for you and your family, reading the following information may help you prevent this from ever happening or in a worst case scenario, you will have a plan of action to follow.
Dogs are stolen for several reasons:
- * Money. People wait for a reward to be posted, then call the dog’s owners and say they found him wandering around.
- * Dog fighting. This may seem unusual because most stolen dogs have sweet temperaments – otherwise a thief may be deterred. Unfortunately, dogs are either “conditioned” to fight by cruel training methods, or used as “bait” to train other dogs to fight.
- * Cult rituals. Although you may not think it is possible, black dogs (and cats) are at particular risk especially around Halloween.
- * Working dogs are stolen to be used for security companies.
- * Some animal rights and welfare people also say that stolen dogs often wind up at laboratories. Under a procurement practice called “random source collection”
- * Sometimes theft is no more complicated than an angry neighbour who takes your dog to the pound when you’re not around.
Tips to prevent your pet from being stolen or going missing
- * Properly identify your pet with a collar and tag & microchip. Microchips are as small as a grain of rice and are implanted under the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. This is a great way to permanently identify your dog, as the chip can be read by a special scanner. They cannot fall off like collars and last the life of your dog. If your dog is scanned and a chip is found, it can traced back to you. This not only makes it easier for you to get your lost dog back, it also proves that your dog belongs to you in the event she is stolen.
- If you change your phone number or move house make sure the microchip is registered with your new details.
- Another safety tip is to have your vet check your dog’s microchip every year when they go in for inoculations.
- Mark your pets collar with your telephone number and the word “microchipped” so if they are found people will know to have them scanned.
- * Spay or neuter your pet. This will help to keep them from wandering off, most lost pets are not neutered or spayed. It will also eliminate any resale value for breeding purposes. Unscrupulous breeders are looking for dogs to use for breeding and a neutered or spayed pet is useless to them. There are also lots of health benefits to sterilising your pet.
- * Keep your pet indoors or in a secure enclosed garden, especially when you are not at home. Your dog may become a target if they are left unattended in your garden. Remember that thieves have ulterior motives and it is highly likely that they will watch a property for some time prior to committing the act.
- * If you must leave your dog outside, lock all gates with padlocks and/or chains. Protect your animals as you would protect yourself.
- * Make sure fences, walls or hedges are tall enough and strong enough to take a dog jumping up at or over them. Also ensure they can’t easily be tunnelled under and seal any gaps in them.
- * Know where your pet is at all times.
- * Keep recent photos and written descriptions of your pets. If you had to put up a picture of your pet on a poster would they be easily identifiable from the photos you have of them? Make a note of unusual markings so that you could easily identify your pet.
- * Do not let your pet roam free outside of your house. A dog wandering outside of private property without an owner could be classed as a stray and it may be picked up and brought to the pound or, worse still, get stolen or injured.
- * Don’t give out information about your dog to just anyone. If a stranger admires your dog, don’t answer questions about your dog such as your dog’s breed, how much you paid for your dog, or where you live.
- * Don’t give custody of your dog to anyone without a proper id. Be cautious when choosing someone who will care for your pets while you are at work, in hospital or on holiday. Be clear about when the dog will be handed over and who will collect it. It might be better to use a registered boarding kennel or professional dog carer with documentation to this effect. Unless you know someone who is trustworthy that will care for your dog in your absence.
- * Maintain an up to date licence, vet card for your dog. Keep all of your ownership papers that prove you own your dog in one place. These papers would include adoption papers, kennel club registration, receipt of sale from breeder and most importantly your dog license and vet card.
- * Be aware of strangers in your area. Report anything unusual such as suspicious neighbourhood activities or missing pets to the police and SPCA.
- * Don’t let your new cat venture outside for the minimum of two weeks. Do not leave the smallest or highest window open as they will squeeze their way out, sadly far too many cats have been lost this way. Do not risk their safety by letting them free earlier, even if they look comfortable in their new surroundings.
- Take this two week period as a time to bond with your cat. It is advisable to supervise your new cat’s first few outings as cats can roam good distances, they can get spooked easily, this is to ensure she doesn’t stray into areas you don’t want her to go into. You can do help to do this by training your cat to respond to you before you let them out, ie calling their name, letting get to know when they are getting food from you, ie shaking a box, hitting the tin with a fork, or saying dinner or treats. When you first want to let them outside in a morning do not feed your cat, let them stay outside for a few minutes with you and then call them back for their food, you can make the time outside longer each time once they come back to you when you call them. Keep them inside at night time, dusk and dawn. Indoor cats like healthier and longer lives generally than cats who have access to the outdoors.
spend some time on the website Missing Pet Partnership. There is some very useful information on the site (check the LOST CAT BEHAVIOUR link under the RECOVERY TIPS tab – in fact, go through the whole RECOVERY TIPS section) about how to go about looking for a missing cat, and what not to do.
Safety outside of the home
- * You should never leave your pet in an unattended car. Locking the car doesn’t make it any safer for your pet. Besides the chance of your pet being stolen, there are possible health risks for your pet when they are left in the car. Leaving your pet in an unattended car, even for a minute, is an invitation for thieves. Just don’t do it!
- * Leaving your dog up outside a shop is a big NO NO! One owner should always stay outside with your dog. If you need to go shopping on your own leave your dog at home. If leaving your dog at home isn’t an option, only shop at dog-friendly retailers!
- * Don’t let your dog off the lead in an unsecure area until you are 100% sure they will come back to you when you call them. You should only let your dog off lead in a safe and secure area as dogs can get scared by sudden loud noises or see something to chase and they may run off on you. Dogs that are loose in a non secure area can easily be stolen, get lost, can cause damage to themselves, someone or something else or be injured especially on roads. Vary your walk times and routes.
In the event that your pet is missing or stolen.
- * Call ALL the vets in your area to report your missing pet, do not just call the vet that is nearest to you because people will generally take the animal to their own vet.
- * You need to actually physically visit all SPCA’s as well as the Animal Anti Cruelty League or any other shelter that takes in lost or stray animals. It is NOT enough to just phone them, leave pictures with places you contact or even email pictures to them. Remember, mistakes can be made, and your description of your pet may not be the same as their description. So it is very important to follow up on all leads.
- * Also, put up posters at all vets, community boards and place ads in your local paper and on all of the lost and found websites –There are also many Facebook sites that can help with distributing your lost pets’ details.
- If you live in a boomed community leave a poster with boom guards.
**If you find your pet please remember to contact all the organisations and people you have told about your lost pet so they know your pet has been found and please take down all posters and signs.**
- * Do put a photo of the dog or cat, as recent as possible. There is little point putting a picture of the dog as a puppy or the cat as a kitten when it is 12 years old now!
- * Give details of age, sex, neutered, colour, size and breed. If your dog is a mixed breed a photo is the best description you can give but please mention whether it is a large or small dog as some photos are deceptive.
- * Don’t forget to say what area (not your full address) the dog or cat went missing from and on what date.
- * Give a mobile number and an email address as the contact.
- * There is a lot of debate as to whether you should put “Reward” on the poster. The person who finds your dog or cat should be happy to return it to its rightful owner. By all means give a reward if you wish to the finder (a box of chocolates is nice!), If you do decide on a reward, you may not want to broadcast the fact as you will be inundated with hoax calls that will upset you. It is purely up to you.
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Posted on August 30, 2012, in Animal Welfare, Di's Articles, Doggy Style, For Cat Lovers and tagged cat, collar, dog, facebook, garden, info, lead, leash, lost, microchip, missing, neuter, poster, spay, sterilise, stolen, tattoo, tips, websites. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.