What to Do If You Loose Your Pet

March 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Milton Project

by Milton Project Volunteer, Marie Regina Rodriguez

Losing a pet can be a very devastating thing for most pet owners. I have actually met some people that were glad their animals ran away or got loose but the animal was probably just as happy. But for the majority of us this can be a very stressful situation.

Over the years I have read many articles on what to do if you lose your pet. Even though the articles have been very informative I have yet to see one that is thorough and covers all the bases. So that is what I am going to try to do through this article along with giving you the contact numbers for various agencies.

I remember once having construction done on my house. I told the workers that if any of my cats got out during construction that they would not be paid and I meant it. Of course you know it, one of my cats discovered a little hole left in the wall and decided to see what the outside world looked like. I was crazy, hysterical whatever you can think of. Immediately I did the following things that I now recommend to you.

1. The most important thing you can do is what I would call kinship to networking: Tell everyone and anyone you know your pet is missing. Make as many fliers as you can, and I mean hundreds if necessary. Get out there and walk your neighborhood and give out a flier to every person you meet. Put a flier on every door you can as far down as you can. Call your local groomers and pet sitters. I pet sit on the five islands almost 365 days a week, 3 times a day. If something is out running about, believe me I am likely to see it. Give them a flyer.

2. Talk to your mailman and give them a flier.

3. Ask you local grocer or convenience store owner if you can post a flier on their window.

4. Call your local police department. The Tybee Island Police Department has its own Animal Control Officer by the name of Doug Broom. He is one of the best Animal Control Officers Tybee has ever had and he can be contacted by calling the TIPD at (912) 786-5600. If Doug is not on duty then the dispatcher will take a message and put it in a log book that is looked at by all the officers and Doug. Take a flier to them. The number for the Islands Precinct is (912) 898-3252 and take a flier to them.

5. Call Chatham County Animal Control at (912) 652-6575 and call the Humane Society at (912) 354-3515 and take a flier to them. Also take the time to actually go down there and look for your pet. The Humane Society is on Sally Mood Drive in Savannah and Chatham County Animal Control is a totally separate building located directly behind the Humane Society. Keep in mind that these people are taking care of a lot of animals and it should be really up to you to go down and take a look. Here is a great example why. When my mother lived in Tampa she put her dog out to potty while she was getting ready for work. Unbeknownst to my mom, the lawn man had left her side gate open and her dog ran away. A neighbor down the street didn’t know the dog belonged to my mother and had Animal Control come pick him up. My mother called Animal Control and asked them if they had a Welsh Corgi and they told her no. If you don’t know what a Welsh Corgi looks like, it is the dogs owned by the Queen of England. She called several times more and on the 2nd day decided to go down there and look herself.

Now keep in mind the Animal Control building in Tampa is the size of a football field with fenced in areas as far as the eye could see. We started walking up and down looking at each pet kept there, it was heartbreaking. About halfway down the building we found Charlie. The reason they kept saying that they didn’t have him was because he was labeled a CHIHUAHUA. In all the 20 plus years I have been in the vet business I have never seen a Welsh Corgi the size of a Chihuahua, but long story short he was reunited with my mom. So what does that say? What might look like one thing to you, might look like something else to another person.

6. Call the local vets closest to your home – Ours are Wilmington Island Animal Hospital (912) 897-3300, (formerly known as Bremer Vet Clinic) and Islands Veterinary Clinic (912) 897-1121. Even contact some vet’s such as Central Animal Hospital (912) 234-4772 or VCA (912) 355-8898 because some people on the island’s use these vets, too, and take them a flier.

7. Call the Savannah Morning News Classifieds Section – They offer to put “Losts and Founds” in the paper at no cost to you.

8. Post it directly on The Tybee Times Facebook page, or email The Tybee Times at thetybeetimes@aol.com – We’ll send out a Facebook post, and a local e-mail blast describing the pet and other details.

9. Call the local rescue organizations that can be found on the web. Sometimes a found animal is given to a rescue organization in the hopes they can find it a home. Thanks to Michael Bodine, the cities IT Support Specialist/Yorkie Owner/Dog Lover, the City of Tybee’s web site has added another feature to help you communicate with your government representatives on Tybee Island. The forums are accessed from the navigation menu at the left side of any page at http://www.cityoftybee.org. Before you can use the forums, you will need to go to the “Register for an Account” screen, where you will create your own login name and password. You will be required to give some sort of verifiable identification, as the intention of these forums is NOT for anonymous input, in order to keep discussions at a reasonable level of moderation! Once you have established a login, you can then use it to post your input to any discussion. Initially, there will be a forum hosting discussions about Lost & Found items. There has been a lot of demand for a centralized place to go look for lost items or to announce found ones, as well as one for lost pets. If you find or lose something, be sure to stop by this web page to see if someone else has lost or found it! This forum, at least, will forward all posts to the City’s Facebook page as well, so you will be able to view the posts there. Items on Facebook can scroll off the bottom of the first page of postings very quickly, and not everyone has a Facebook account. For these reasons, we recommend that you visit the forum on the City website in any case, just to make sure everyone sees all posts. Even before any official announcement, and in cooperation with TIPD and Animal Control Officer Doug Broom, this forum has already helped to reunite two lost pets with their owners!

10. Look on http://www.petfinder.com. If you can afford it, hire findtoto.com. Their number is 877 738-8686 and they will call up to 10,000 people in your area where your dog was last seen with a message that says, “This is a lost pet alert from your neighbor (your name) who lost her dog…” A description and last seen information, along with your contact info is provided. Prices start at $85 for 250 calls.

Hopefully this article has been helpful to you and you’ll never need this information! By the way, my cat (now deceased) was finally found 3 or 4 days later. He had been hit by a car and thank goodness only had a road rash on his shoulder and shredded nails from being drug down the street by a car. He was hiding in the bushes of a house across the street and a few doors down. My mother and I had gone up and down the streets everyday calling him for hours and for some reason this day he decided to answer us back. He was quickly scooped up and carried home. We were happy and crying, he was happy and hungry, and the workers were happy to get their paychecks.

Numbers Tybee/Wilmington Island Pet Owner Should Know:

Tybee Island Police Department                 912 786 5600
Island’s Precinct                                       912 898 3252
Chatham County Animal Control                 912 652 6575
Humane Society                                        912 354 3515
Islands Veterinary Clinic                             912 897 1121
Wilmington Island Animal Hospital              912 897 3300
Central Animal Hospital                             912 234 4772

For more information visit The Milton Project on the web.

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