Found Pet

Jun 23, 2024   ComfortAtHomePetServices   Pet Safety

As a pet parent, you know too well the fear of a pet getting away from you, so when you see a pet out running, your instinct kicks in and you want to help them.  While this is a good thing, knowing the proper way to help is paramount in returning someone's loved one back into their care. Please note that it's illegal to keep or give away a found animal without exhausting every effort to find the animal's owner!

The first step is to realize this dog is confused, frightened and in survival mode. DO NOT CHASE! Running up to a loose dog in that state will only cause the dog to run from you, even if they're your animal or you know their name and are familiar with them.  If you see a loose dog near you, sit or lie on the ground, speak in a soft, high-pitched voice and toss treats in the dog's general direction. Do NOT throw treats directly at the dog! If you cannot safely approach the animal or if it runs away, a humane trap can be set up near the last location seen.

If you are able to safely approach the dog, contain them with a leash or fenced yard for their safety.  In a pinch a belt or rope can be made into a slip lead until a more suitable leash can be attained.   Now that the pet is secure, check for ID tags.  If you're lucky enough for the dog to still be wearing their ID, immediately call the contact information listed on the tag. If the dog doesn't have a name/phone number-based ID, but does have tags, look for a rabies tag or dog license tag. If you find either of those, call the veterinarian on the rabies tag or county where the license is registered, and they will pass on your contact information to the owner. 

If the pet isn't wearing an ID, get the pet scanned for a microchip at the local animal shelter, veterinary clinic, animal control or police department.  If the microchip is registered and up to date, the owner's information can be accessed by the microchip database.

Notify all animal shelters, veterinary clinics, dog wardens and police departments that you've found a dog.  If you are unable to keep the pet while trying to find the owner, you can either take it to your local animal shelter or call your local animal control or police department. If your animal was found and taken to animal control or a rescue, there could be fees associated with the return of your animal. This is because the animal control or rescue has kept your beloved pet fed, sheltered and in a safe environment.

If you are able to hold the dog while seeking their owner, still contact animal control and local police departments to let them know you are holding a found dog.  If someone has lost a pet, they will notify animal control and police departments. After notifying the proper authorities, place Found Pet fliers around the area.  Include a brief description of the animal but leave off specifics, as you will need something for the owners to verify it's their pet.  

Utilize the Internet. There are hundreds of lost pet groups on Facebook that are specific to certain areas of your city! The owner of the found animal may have posted to one of the popular Facebook groups looking for their pet! The best groups to try locally for dogs are Lost and Found Dogs-Pittsburgh, PAReuniting dogs with families Pittsburgh area and Lost Dogs Pittsburgh. For cat inclusive or specific groups, try Lost &Found Pets in PittsburghPittsburgh Pet HelpersLost/Found Cats Pittsburgh and Lost and Found Cats Pittsburgh, PADownload the app PawBoost, it's free and you can view, share, and report lost & found pets. You can also choose to get notified when a local pet is lost or found near you and contact the owner or finder with helpful information.  

If you find a cat with a tipped ear, they are NOT lost. Outdoor cats, and even well taken care of feral cats, will have clipped ears to show they have been spayed or neutered and are loved and belong to someone. 


Following the above steps, while keeping a cool mind, will help you reunite a loved pet with its family!

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