When discussing lost pets with most pet owners the usual response is,”my pet is always by my side and won’t go missing”. Clearly we hope that is the case.
Sadly we know that every day an unimaginable number of pets go missing, in a number of ways.
Did you know that a male dog that isn’t fixed is more likely to follow his “urge” to roam? Or that a pet found missing without a tag or microchip could be at of quick adoption, transport to another area, or worst case euthanasia?
Consider these scenarios that could be how a pet goes missing:
- You’re at work. A fire or other emergency occurs at your house. The emergency personnel or even a friend gains access to open the door or window. Your pet, frantic, slips out.
- You’re driving with your beloved pet with you. Just for errands or on a trip. You’re involved in an accident and your pets slips loose.
- You’re home. Your landscaping company or repair person opens a gate and fails to secure it properly. The next time you let your pet out into your yard they ship out of the gate.
- Your area is hit by a major storm and your home is destroyed. Your pet is nowhere to be found.
- You’re on vacation and have left your pet in your home with a pet sitter or friend. They are unfamiliar with some of your pet’s habits. Before they know it, as they open the door to take them out your dog hears a loud noise or sees a squirrel and bolts out the door. Their grip on the leash wasn’t tight enough to pull them back.
- Your unneutered male dog “following his urge” takes an opportunity that presents itself to seek out a female dog. He’s on the run and suddenly lost.
As you can see, there are so many real life scenarios that can have you end up with a lost pet.
If your pet went missing (or even stolen from your yard which occurs more than you’d think), how likely is it that your pet would be found and you’d be reunited?
Lessons Learned … Post Katrina … or Have We?
Wikipedia’s report on Hurricane Katrinia references that “As of September 20, 2005, 6,031 animals were rescued and 400 were reunited with their owners. An estimated 600,000 pets were killed or left without shelter as a result of Hurricane Katrina.”
Steps have been taken to improve post Katrina emergencies with the 2006 passage in Congress of the PETS Act (Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act). This Act requires pet evacuation plans to be in place for locales to qualify for FEMA funding in the event of a disaster.
Disasters can occur on the massive level of a Hurricane Katrina or a single household emergency such as a fire when a family may or may not be present. Should an emergency occur a pet could not only be at physical risk due to the disaster, but go missing during the response efforts.
“Katrina” pets prompted many to get involved in the rescue movement, and many pet owners proudly refer to their pets as Katrina survivors.
Should an emergency occur how assured can you be that your pet to be reunited with you?
While improvements have been made, we still don’t have ONE integrated site for lost and found pets. In fact, there are scores of “buckets” of lost and found pets via microchip company sites, Facebook pages, etc. The site HeLPing Lost Pets is hoping that other sites will work with them to unite any/all efforts into a comprehensive database!
The site HeLPing Lost Pets is hoping that other sites will work with them to unite any/all efforts into a comprehensive database! All missing and found pets listed with HelpingLostPets.com are located on a map with the approximate location of where they were lost or found. Disasters, even smaller scale ones, often overwhelm local shelters causing pets to be moved to other facilities. Sometimes hundreds of miles away. The map at HelpingLostPets.com allows pet owners to find their missing pet, weeks and months after the disaster, regardless of where in the country the pet is actually being cared for.
The American Red Cross offers valuable info about your pets should an evacuation be necessary, including the tip that you have a sticker at your home indicating the number of pets you have and that “If you must evacuate with your pets (and if time allows) write “EVACUATED” across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.”
Learn about safety steps for your pet on on Pet Safety page.
Preventing lost pets in the first place.
- Spaying and neutering your pet can help reduce their drive to wander.
- Tag and chip your pet to improve their chances of being reunited if lost or separated.
- Keep a color and tag on your pet. Keep your dog on leash, unless you are absolutely certain they will return to you under ANY circumstance. Many dogs that like to run may follow their hunt and instinct more than your command.