by Gigi McWhirter
Just like a human, when an animal is lost, the foremost thought in his or her mind has to be, “I wanna go home.” And much like a lot of people, they cannot just pick up a phone or ask directions to get them there. Keep in mind that animals don’t only get displaced by getting out of the yard or escaping through an open door or gate. They can also be the victim of a natural or not-so-natural disaster, such as a house fire, crime or car crash.
Here are a few things you should do if you discover your pet has been separated from you:
- Search the area within one-half mile of your home or where the incident occurred. Expand the search area as days pass. (Editor’s note: My own dog was found 10 miles from home)
- As you are going through your neighborhood or area, ask kids, their parents, other adults, mail carriers and service agents (like the cable installer or trash collector) if they have seen your pet. Give them your name, number and description of your pet so they can keep an eye out. Tell them to also call local animal control agencies and advise them that they have found your pet and where the animal can be picked up.
- Call all area animal control agencies and let them know your pet is missing. Give a thorough description of your pet. Once your animal is found please call the agencies back – this is important – and let them know you have been reunited. If you have not found your pet within two to three days, visit all the shelters in person. Even though shelter personnel work hard to identify found animals, a pet without ID tags or a microchip can be hard to match up with varying descriptions.
- If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip company immediately and make sure that your contact information is up to date. Also offer them a secondary contact, should you be unable to answer the phone. Some microchip companies send out mass emails and faxes to several agencies and vet hospitals to make staff aware of your missing pet.
- By far the quickest way to get your information out, is to use social media! Tag all of your friends, and ask them to share – not just “like” your information on their pages. We have had more “love connections” because of Facebook posts than any other public announcement source. Use Twitter, Facebook, CG Chat, Instagram, and any other source you can think of.
- Place an ad in your local newspaper. They may run the ad at no charge, but remember it may take a few days before it actually prints.
Agency Contact Phone Numbers: (for the Casa Grande area)
Casa Grande Animal Control 520-426-9300
Pinal County Animal Control
Eloy Animal Control
Valley Humane Society
Most of these agencies have phones that go straight to voicemail. Make sure to leave a detailed message that includes the following:
- Your name.
- Your pet’s name.
- Your street address.
- Your telephone number.
- A secondary contact name and phone number.
- The area the animal was last seen.
- A detailed description of the animal, including breed (don’t just say, “mutt.” Say, “It looks like a poodle,” for instance), gender, color and the color of the collar it was wearing.
- Microchip number, or if you don’t know the number, tell them it has a chip.
REMEMBER: It is up to YOU to get your animal’s information to all the sources.
I hope you never have to use any of this information.
Happy Tails to you!