You see a pet roaming around your neighborhood or place of business or on the side of a road -- with no owner in sight. The animal lover in you can't bear to walk or drive away. Don't fret. There are things you can do to help a poor lost pet find his/her way back home.
How to Help a Lost Pet
- Approaching a stray pet. Remember, safety first. Consider the safety of yourself, the stray pet and other people. Be aware of traffic conditions and the animal's condition and behavior. Stray pets, especially injured ones, are typically frightened and may act out aggressively.
- Before approaching a stray pet, assess their behavior. Approach the pet gently and cautiously while talking in a calm voice. You can use food to entice an animal to approach you. If the pet acts aggressive, you may need to call for back-up or animal services.
- Once you've determined if it is safe to do so, try to catch the animal and restrain it with a leash. A belt or a piece of rope may be used in case of an emergency. Stray cats and small dogs are best confined in a carrier or a secure box with air holes.
- If a stray pet is injured, you need to be extra cautious as they may feel extremely vulnerable when approached. You must be prepared to cover vet costs when you choose to help an injured stray.
- Check for ID. Once you've captured the stray pet, check for an identification tag. If the pet is not wearing an ID tag, you can take the pet to your local animal shelter or to MHC's Enhanced Adoption Center to have them scanned for a microchip. Doing so would give you the pet owner's contact information.
- Determine what you want to do with the pet. If you were unsuccessful in locating the owners through an ID tag or microchip you have two options:
- Foster the pet. Keep the pet in your care and keep trying to locate the owners.
- Call Animal Services. If you cannot or are not willing to catch or keep the stray pet, call Midland Animal Services. Give as much information about the location and a description of the stray pet as possible. These pets have the best chance of survival and being reunited with their owner once they are safely off the streets and in somebody's custody.
Fostering the Stray Pet in your Home
So you've decided to keep the pet under your care until you find the owner. Thank you for saving a pet's life. Here are some things you might consider doing:
- Bring the stray pet to the vet. The vet could help treat any injuries/diseases and ensure that the pet you've taken in has all the necessary vaccinations. You want to be sure that the pet is healthy and fit to be in your household and is free of any contagious illness. Be aware that you will be responsible for these costs.
- Spread the word. Let people know you've found a pet and are looking for the owners.
- Take a good, clear photo of the pet. A photo will be extremely useful in your search for the stray pet's owners.
- Post the found pet on the internet - Craigslist, nextdoor.com, petkey.org, lostmydoggie.com, petfinder.com, missingpet.net, thecenterforlostpets.com, lostandfound.com, fidofinder.com, pawboost.com, petamberalert.com, bestfriends.com, and more.
- Post it on Social Media. Social media expands your network in and around the community so that you will have a greater chance of finding the pet's owner. You can post the pet's picture on a social media page for lost & found pets. Include a description of the pet and where you saw it to help out owners who are searching for their pet. Here are some local Facebook Pages where you can post lost & found pets:
- Ector County Trading Post
- Furry Friends Have Feelings Too
- Lost & Found Dogs, Cats and Other Pets of Midland, TX
- MASA - Midland Animal Shelter Adoptables
- Midland County Trading Post
- Midland County Trading Post
- Midland/Odessa Permian Trading Post
- Midland/Odessa Texas Lost And Found Pets
- Midland Trading Post
- Midland Trading Post
- Midland TX Rescue Dogs
- Midland Tx, Trading Post
- MOBS Midland, Odessa, Big Spring - Lost and Found Pets
- Pets Around Midland TX
- Show Me Your Pitties
- SHOW ME YOUR PITTIES....Animal Lovers United of the Permian Basin
- Speaking Up for Those Who Can’t
- The Whatever Trading Post In Odessa/Midland Texas
- West Texas Animal Advocates
- West Texas Dog Lovers
- West Texas Man Cave
- West Texas Pet Detectives
- Keeping the Pet - If you choose to and are able to keep the pet in your care, it is your responsibility to make every effort to located the animal's owners. Never assume that a pet deserves a better home just because it was wandering the streets, dirty, or even thin. Some pets wander away form home and stay missing for an extended period of time, or perhaps are sick but are being treated before going missing. Hang flyers, in the neighborhood where you found the pet, and signs at the local shelters and rescue groups, post photos on social media including the sites listed above. If you are unsuccessful in reuniting the pet to it's owner then you will have the choice to keep the pet, re-home the pet, find a rescue for the pet, or take the pet to the shelter.
- Taking the Pet to Animal Services - Taking the pet you just caught to animal services or even calling them to pick up a neighborhood stray is never an easy decision, but sometimes it is the best. It is much better for a pet to be in a shelter with a roof over their head, 2 meals a day, and access to fresh water than to be wandering the streets. Stray pets are at risk for being; hit by cars, attacked by other animals, infected with disease, or starving to death. Not only are these pets at risk, they oftentimes contribute to pet overpopulation by breeding with other pets while they are out. In addition to keeping the pet off the streets, it is also the first place owners go to look for their missing pet, which increases their chances of being reunited. If you are interested in adopting the pet if the owners do not reclaim it, let the shelter know and they will tell you when the animal's stray hold will be up and you can go and adopt the pet.
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