Dog theft is nothing new. Perhaps you heard the recent story about Lady Gaga’s dog walker being shot and her dogs stolen. Since the pandemic started nearly a year ago, dogs have been hard to come by since everyone wants some comfort during lockdowns.
Purebred dogs can be stolen and sold for a considerable sum of money. Smaller dogs could be stolen to use for bait in the dog fighting ring, and the list goes on.
But let’s say your dog hasn’t been stolen-he just escaped the back yard or you dropped the leash on your walk and he took off. What should you do?
1. Contact local animal control, animal shelters, vet offices and rescue groups. The Humane Society of the United States recommends you visit as many of these shelters daily as you can.
2. Contact your vet and the microchip company. If there’s no name on the pet’s collar, the rabies number could be the key in identifying your pet and getting him back to you. Make sure the microchip company has your current contact information.
3. Enlist an army to help you search. Give them a flyer with a picture of your pet along with your contact information. They can post flyers or ask people they meet if they have seen your pet.
4. Petfinder advises putting large letters with “LOST DOG” or “LOST CAT” at the top of the flyer so it can be seen by motorists. Describe your pet in simple terms so they know what to look for. For instance, black and white long-haired cat or brown dog with a white patch on his forehead.
5. Ask delivery drivers, mail carriers, and neighbors if they’ve seen the pet.
6. Look in alleys, in trash, bushes, small sheds; places the pet could go to escape bad weather.
7. Drive around and call your pet by name.
8. Some pet owners have had results by putting out some of their clothing, especially where the pet has been sighted. There are stories of searchers arriving to find the dog sitting on the owner’s jacket.
9. Utilize social media. Many localities have lost and found pet Facebook groups. (There are three groups with similar names just in the Roanoke Valley.) Search those groups and also post a picture of your pet along with the contact information. Make sure it’s a post that can be shared.
10. Contact your vet or local rescue group and ask to borrow a humane trap to capture your pet.
Don’t give up! We’ve all heard heartwarming stories about pets being reunited with their owners months or years after they went missing.