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What To Do When Your Pet is Lost

Protect Your Pet

  • License your dog (and cat in areas that require cat licensing). Make sure all your pets wear identification. When a pet is identified, shelters attempt to notify the owner by phone or mail.

  • Check your local shelter for holding times. Keep your pet current on all his/her rabies vaccinations.

  • Keep on file your pet's license number, rabies certificate, complete description and a photograph.

When Your Pet is Missing

  • Start searching immediately all the areas of your house, yard and neighborhood - several blocks in all directions.

  • Enlist the help of neighbors, their children and the mailman. Show them your pet's picture.

  • Visit surrounding animal shelters. A personal visit is better than a phone call. Ask the shelter staff to check their records for dead animals picked up.

  • Post signs in the neighborhood, at the local market, in area schools or any public place that will allow you to post a notice. Include a description of your pet, his/her name and your phone number.

  • Run a "LOST" ad in the local newspaper classified section. Run it several times.

  • Check the newspaper daily for at least two months for a "FOUND" ad.


People may keep lost animals several weeks before turning them in to a shelter. A lost pet can wander the streets for weeks or months, SO ... KEEP ON LOOKING in the neighborhood, in the papers and at the shelters.


Present proof of ownership, license number, rabies certificate, photograph or description and AKC papers (if available).

  • You will be required to renew expired licenses or rabies certificates.

  • You will have to pay impound and boarding fees.

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