When your pet goes missing, IMMEDIATELY do the following (all tasks should be completed or started within the first 24-48 hours):
CONTACT THE AREA POUND(S) AND ANIMAL CONTROL AND LOCAL VETERINARY CLINICS: If the animal could have travelled to neighboring RMs, contact the pounds for those areas also. Stay in contact. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. Animal Control Officers capture roaming domestic animals, take them to impound facilities for a specified period of time (some only have 72 hours). If unclaimed or rescued, animals are euthanized. A list of those contact numbers can be found here. Contact your vet and other local vet clinics to let them know your pet has gone missing in the event they are turned over to them.
POST/PLACE ADS: Place or post ads in the Lost Pet Classified section of discussion forums & area newspapers. Visit Brandon and Area Lost Animals on Facebook. BALA’s admins will repost, so it is seen by supporters on their newsfeeds. If you do not have access to Facebook, ask a family member or friend to post for you. BALA is a volunteer group with a wealth of knowledge that can help you be reunited with your lost pet.
WRITE IT DOWN!: Create a list of the places you are putting signs & posters. They MUST be taken down if the animal is found, to give other lost pets a chance for an effective search. UPDATE signs and posters every 2 weeks with "STILL MISSING" & current date. Write everything down in a journal, indicate times, dates, names and numbers of all endeavours, calls, contacts and information.
POSTERS AND SIGNS: Place posters on the boards at Vet Clinics & Pet Supply Stores, in addition to locations around the area your animal went missing. Give one to the mail & newspaper delivery people, refuse collectors....anyone who spends time regularly in the area. Create a sign with a large photo of your animal, key words & a contact # that is large enough to read from a moving vehicle. Please note, some areas may have by-laws with restrictions concerning signage. Check with your local by-law department for more information.
DOOR TO DOOR: Directly speak to people in the area your pet has gone missing, and areas where the animal may have ventured. Give each person a poster, and records names, numbers and addresses. Many people will provide valuable information about your pet when you speak to them directly. Many do not realize that the information was required or valuable. These people may also be in contact with neighbors that are away, and may come home to find your pet living on their property.
REWARD OR NO REWARD? Consider offering a reward only if your pet is friendly. Rewards are NOT recommended for shy and timid pets. You do not want people pursuing an unapproachable pet, which is not likely to be caught but will be bolt further out of the area if pursued, and possibly injured. All posters & signs should indicate "DO NOT CHASE", as any pet will run away if chased, and may run into traffic. If your pet is unapproachable, also indicate "DO NOT APPROACH", "SCARED", "WILL BOLT".
KEEP AN EXTRA SET OF CAR KEYS, COLLAR, LEASH, TREATS, PHONE, POSTERS, BOTTLE OF WATER, PEN & PAPER with you at all times. Consider having an extra key in a magnet box on your vehicle.
CREATE A COMFORT SPOT FOR YOUR LOST PET: When searching for a lost dog or cat, place the pet's crate, bed, toys, food dish & water dish in a spot that he/she may find. Monitor daily. Keep the food & water replenished. This might be set up outside your home, or if lost away from home, close to where the pet was lost, or at a location where you suspect your pet is roaming.
What to do if you find a lost animal:
Please be aware that if you find a pet you legally MUST turn the animal into your local animal impound to give the owners an opportunity to reclaim the animal. Many pet owners may have already been in touch with their local animal control and/or impound facility. If you wish to adopt the animal, should a home not be located, ask the impound facility to contact you if the animal is not reclaimed. Animal impounds are designed to hold animals for owners to reclaim them, but can be at risk of being euthanized if the owners do not come in the allotted time period. Please call the corresponding Animal Control and Impound contact information provided here to file a report or to have the animal picked up by Animal Control.
Visit Brandon and Area Lost Animals (BALA) on Facebook and post a description of the animal, location found, and contact information for owners to call you. You may also private message BALA through Facebook to provide additional information such as tattoo numbers, and any additional information not suitable for publishing. If the animal has a tattoo, this can lead you directly to the vet clinic where they were spayed or neutered and hopefully to an owner. You can also report sightings of roaming animals, indicating description, location and direction travelled. These sightings can prove to be valuable in helping a pet owner track their pet’s whereabouts.