How to find the family of a lost pet!
So you‘ve found a loose dog or cat and scooped them up...now what??
First and foremost, we can’t stress this enough...when you find a loose dog or cat who is just a hot mess, please do NOT assume that because they’re in rough shape, that means they’ve been neglected or abused or “dumped”. Sometimes that’s true, but more often it isn’t! When dogs and cats get loose, especially low rider dogs with long and/or curly hair and long haired cats, it is amazing how quickly just being out in the elements for an extended period can transform them. They may have a family out there who cares about them very much and took great care of them and has been missing them tremendously. This is why MICROCHIPS ARE SO IMPORTANT!! Which takes us to step #1 for finding the family of a loose pet...
#1 Take them to any vet clinic to be scanned for a microchip. A microchip is an RFID implant the size of a grain of rice that is placed just under the skin between the shoulder blades, which can be scanned with a microchip reader to reveal an id # which is linked to the owner’s contact info. Vet clinics are usually happy to do it for free, just be considerate of the fact that they may be busy with standing appointments and you may wait a minute.
#2 After checking for a microchip, check Arkansas Lost and Found Pet Network to see if they’ve been posted as lost. You can try searching their posts by keyword from a desktop computer if scrolling through their timeline doesn’t reveal anything. (Be sure to at least scroll back a full week, which could be a LOT of posts sadly)
#3 If you live in the area where you found them, check the Nextdoor app to see if they’ve been posted there as lost. If you don’t live in the area but know someone who does, ask them to check for you.
#4 If the first three things don’t work, start posting them as found on social media and on Nextdoor, and submit a found post to Arkansas Lost & Found Pet Network. Be sure to keep checking the places where you post them for a lost post from the owner, don’t just assume they’ll see your found post.
#5 If online sleuthing doesn’t turn up an owner, do some good old-fashioned door knocking in the area where you found them, asking residents if they recognize the animal and know where they belong.
#6 Place found flyers in mailboxes or on doors in the area where you found them. Be sure to include a clear picture, the date found, and your contact info. The only thing missing from the hilarious example above is the date they were found! (By the way, opossums are actually pretty awesome)
Hopefully, one of these things will help you find the family of the lost pet you have so kindly taken in!
If you do have sincere concerns about returning them to their family due to the condition they were found in (again, PLEASE keep in mind that they could have been missing for some time and only came to be in that condition during that time), let the animal services agency for your area handle it, but still do take all the steps above to try to locate their owner. If you end up finding them, you can give that information to animal services for them to contact them. In Little Rock that would be the Little Rock Animal Village.
Thank you for being the someone who helps that lost baby, who many others probably drove or walked right by without a second glance, and happy hunting!!