FOUND DOG ACTION PLAN
Start with the ideas below in the “FIVE THING TO DO IF YOU'VE FOUND A DOG” photo.
Please take a minute to file a FOUND report with us by going to www.helpinglostpets.com/LDGA. This will generate a free flyer for you to print and share, place the dog in a FREE, nationwide database, and alert members in your area using the system. This will also allow us to place this dog’s flyer on our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages to get the word out on social media.
After you register, go to your post on the Lost Dogs Georgia Facebook page and like the page and like and comment on the post. This allows you to receive notifications if tips or leads are submitted on the post.
You can find the dog's flyer by going to:
You can also find the flyer by clicking the detail link in the Helping Lost Petsmsystem or by clicking on the detail link email you received from Helping Lost Pets.
After you register, please be sure to search the Helping Lost Pets system. We may already have the dog you found listed as LOST in our system. To search all of our listings, go to www.HelpingLostPets.com/MAP
Use these additional tips and suggestions to help you to reunite the dog you found with their family!
What you are required to do:
- Take the dog to your local shelter and fill out the necessary paperwork. The shelter is the first place people check when they lose their pet, so it's very important that you take them there. You are legally required to contact the shelter, police, and/or animal control when you find a lost pet! Depending on the regulations at your particular shelter, you may not have to leave them there. Hopefully, the dog is microchipped and the owner can be easily contacted.
- Contact shelters in the surrounding counties as well!!! Pets travel farther than we think. They may have been lost for some time, or may have hitched a ride with someone somewhere along the way. It's not uncommon for lost dogs to be found hundreds of miles from home. Ask if you can fax or e-mail your flyer to nearby shelters.
*** For a list of Georgia shelters, go to: Georgia Shelter List
- If the shelter is closed and you’re unable to keep the dog until they reopen, call your local animal control or police department. Some counties have “after hours drop boxes”. Do not take the dog to a shelter in another county – the owner will not be able to find them in the short amount of time the shelter is required to hold the dog before he/she is either put up for adoption or euthanized.
Additional ideas to help:
- If you find a lost pet at a time when the shelter is closed, take them to a 24 hour emergency clinic to be scanned for a microchip. Ask if they have a universal scanner. Some brands of microchips may not show up unless read by this type of scanner. This makes it appear as if the pet does not have a microchip – even if they really do. It would be a shame for a family not to find their pet because the microchip was missed! Shelters typically have universal scanners that read ALL brands of microchips, but a veterinarian may not, so it's best to have them scanned at a shelter again when they reopen if there was no chip read at the vet’s office.
- If the dog has a microchip, the shelter/clinic will be able to help you reach the owner.
- If you need to keep the dog in your home until the shelter reopens, keep them safely confined in a spare bedroom/bathroom or a securely fenced back yard until the shelter reopens -- secure being the key word. You probably have a four-legged Houdini on your hands, who has already escaped once! If you aren't able to take them to your own house, ask a friend or relative if they can keep them temporarily.
- If you have your own pets, keep them separate. The lost dog may have a communicable disease which could be transmitted to your own pets. You also don't want either pet to be injured in a fight -- or YOU to be injured trying to break up a fight.
- Go door to door to see if anyone recognizes the dog. Often, by knocking on a couple doors, you can find the owner or someone who can tell you where they live.
- Flyers are the most effective way of reuniting a lost pet! Go door to door and leave a flyer. (Use our 4 on a sheet template to save on printing cost)
- Social media works! Watch for comments on the Lost Dogs Georgia Facebook page under the flyer of the dog you found since people will often comment there instead of contacting you. If you “tag” yourself under the comments you’ll get updates from Facebook.
- Check your e-mail regularly (spam box too) for comments generated through the Helping Lost Pets system. We have “tweeted” your flyer on Twitter and Text alerts and e-mails have been sent to people who have signed up to receive them through our partner Helping Lost Pets.
- Helping Lost Pets – Click on the map at Helping Lost Pets frequently to search the dog being listed as lost.
- Talk to kids in the neighborhood. They spend more time outside and can often know which house a dog is from.
- More flyers! Place them in the area you found the dog, and pet related businesses such as vet's offices, pet stores, etc. Post in places where people walk, and near schools where children will see them -- kids are observant. Hang them in places where cars will be stopped long enough to read them, but also make sure they're readable from a distance. People need to be able to read your sign from the driver’s seat of their car as they’re driving past.
- Craigslist - Most people who lose a pet will place an ad on Craigslist (check under both “Pets” and “Lost & Found”), so check there for their ad. You should post an ad with your flyer too. - Many people don't use Craigslist, so don't rely on that alone.Recently the owners of a lost dog placed a “Lost pit bull” ad on Craigslist. The person who found the dog checked Craigslist, but thought the dog he found was a Boxer so he didn't answer the ad. The match almost wasn't made because many people aren't familiar with breeds or one person’s medium dog is another’s large dog, etc. Thankfully, the brown dog and locations matched up, so he found his way home. Please be mindful of this when listing the pet, as well as searching other people's listings. A picture is worth a thousand words!
- Newspaper - Most papers will allow you to place a free ad when you find a lost pet.
- A dog that’s lost will look dirty, uncared for, and thin after spending a few days outside. They’ve been trying to survive on their own. This doesn’t mean they came from a bad home, or that their owners are not properly caring for them. All pets look a scruffy when they’ve been lost and roaming the streets for a few days. The majority of lost pets have a family that is looking for them. Please help them find their family. In the state of Florida pets are considered property and it's illegal to keep or find a new home for them without contacting your shelter, and taking the proper steps to find the original owner. They don’t need a new home, they need help getting back home!
- Don’t be afraid to provide a picture and information. There are many caring people who monitor Craigslist and social media to help reunite lost pets with their families by matching pictures/locations/and other details. If you are worried about someone trying to claim a pet that isn't theirs, ask them to provide photos of the dog as proof of ownership. It’s a good idea to meet the possible owner in a public location such as your local shelter. If you are unsure whether they’re truly the owner, or have questions about the safety or care of the dog, you can surrender the dog to the shelter, and the owner can reclaim their pet after speaking to shelter staff or an animal control officer.
Returning the dog to the owner:
To make sure you’re returning the dog to the rightful owner: When someone comes forward to claim them check to make sure they're really the owner. Do they have a picture of the dog? Can they describe something about the dog that didn’t show on your flyer, such as collar color, an unusual feature, a scar, etc. Unfortunately, someone might try to claim a dog that isn’t theirs. You want to make sure that you're giving them to the right person, so they get back safely to their family! Their fate is in your hands!
After you have reunited the dog with the owner: Please use this link to update the pet’s status: Back home!! This allows our volunteers to focus their efforts to help other lost pets. We appreciate details on how the dog was reunited as this helps us gather information about which strategies are most successful. We use this to develop better methods for finding other pets and share this with shelters, rescues, and animal control facilities.
Need more help? If you have questions or we can help in any way, please e-mail us at LostDogsGeorgia@gmail.com.
Thank you for helping keep this dog safe until their owner can be found. There are a lot of ideas here; we hope they enable you to make someone very happy by reuniting them with their lost pet! ~ Lost Dogs Georgia
About Lost Dogs Georgia
Lost Dogs Georgia is an all-volunteer group dedicated to reuniting lost dogs with their families. This service is provided free to dog owners, shelters/rescues, and animal control professionals.
- Provide ideas and resources to help owners locate their lost dogs
- Offer finders of lost dogs effective methods to reunite these dogs with their owners
- Reduce the number of "strays" in shelters, decreasing euthanasia rates
- Increase awareness that often a lost dog doesn't need a new home; they just need help getting back home!