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What to do when you have lost your pet

Don't give up your search even when you have little hope left! Animals who have been lost for months have been reunited with their owners. Your goal is to get the word out as fast as possible as far as possible.
"The way a pet is found is by leveraging yourself through the eyes and ears of other people," explains real-life pet detective John Keane, founder of Sherlock Bones, a pet-finding service headquartered in Walnut Creek, California. "Successful pet finding is advertising."
Additional Specific Tips
Indoor-only cat Outdoor-access cat
Immediately, or as soon as you possibly can, do the following:

The things listed can be done in any order.

If it is night time and you can not go to SACC or the Central Brevard Humane Society then work on the flyers or go through your neighborhood.

If you do not have access to the internet, make the calls to the newspapers and or vets offices, go to the shelters.

Just do as many of these things as soon you can. These are NOT in order of importance.

**When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.

Be wary of pet-recovery scams. When talking about your pet to strangers, offer no information, but ask many questions, and carefully answer questions posed to you. When talking to a stranger who claims to have found your pet, ask him to describe the pet thoroughly before you offer any information. If he does not include the identifying characteristic you left out of the advertisements, he may not really have your pet.

Be particularly wary of people who insist that you give or wire them money for the return of your pet.

Also, do not go alone to meet someone who says they have found your dog/cat.

Begin the search for your pet immediately.

Get the word out to as many people as possible.

Go to The County faclity in Melbourne for Brevard County. Found pets are held 5 days and then the facility may adopt the pet out.

Use the Internet

Make and distribute flyers

Contact the Media

Go to the Central Brevard Humane Society - they accept stray pets that have been found.

File a lost pet report with every shelter within a sixty-mile radius of your home.

Contact the Animal Emergency Veterinary Hospital

  • Call them, fax them, e-mail them, go there and leave a flyer. Contact all emergency clinics in the area.

Clicking on the line items above will give you Brevard specific additional details, links, phone numbers, and samples for each line item.

Begin the search for your pet immediately.
Don't wait a few days hoping he'll return on his own.

  • Begin looking for your dog by circling around your block, then gradually widen the circle to include neighboring areas.
  • Be sure to have a friend or family member wait outside your home in case your dog returns to your building doorstep.
  • Walk or drive through your neighborhood several times each day. (Particularly early morning and evening times).
  • Search in the direction your animal often travels with you or the direction in which he often sees you depart. For example, do you usually turn right at the end of your driveway? When you take him for a walk, which direction do you usually walk?
  • Check all local parks, dog runs and any of your dog's favorite places throughout town.
  • When you call them, tell them you have their favorite treat. (Sammy, come get a cookie!).
  • It is sometimes helpful to bring along another pet, that the lost pet likes, with you.
  • Did you recently move? Your animal may be trying to find his way back to your old home! Check with the current tenants at your old home and ask them to keep an eye out for your lost animal.
  • Do not sit at home complacently waiting for someone to call you because your pet is wearing collar/tags and/or is microchipped/tattooed. Tags can get caught and pop off collars, as can collars get caught on a fence/bush/etc. and be pulled off. People may have tried to grab your dog/cat and accidentally pulled off the collar. Some people will remove collar/tags when turning a dog/cat into a shelter. Of course cats lose their collars. Scanners are not perfect, and neither is the person doing the scanning. Many organizations do not necessarily scan a dog/cat,and they may not have a scanner that 'sees' your brand of chip. People consistently miss tattoos. Shelters rarely check for them.
  • Keep tag/chip/tattoo information in an easily accessible place along with current pictures of your pet, so you are quickly ready to start the search for your pet. Know the procedures/policies/assistance available from your tattoo/chip registry. Inform them immediately when you find your pet is missing.
  • Inform your vet immediately the pet is lost. We are assuming s/he is wearing a current rabies tag from the vet.

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Keep your telephone manned 24 hours a day in case someone calls about your pet. Leave a message on your recorder at home, or have someone at the phone to let callers know that youíre out looking for the dog and to leave a name and number if theyíve found him. If the dog is located, itís best if they stay put and you go and get the dog - rather than risk it getting loose again. Hopefully your pet's collar has ID tags attached which will make it easier for someone finding your pet to call you.
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Get the word out to as many people as possible..

  • Tell your neighbors: Speak to your neighbors...even those who don't live on your street and whom you don't know. Show them a picture. Tell the children!
  • Tell your mail person and delivery people. Tell meter readers (water and electric), sanitation engineers, cable repair people, road crews and construction workers, florists, farriers (if your dog is out in the country with someone, farriers can help to keep open eyes on farms and ranches that may have dogs not visible from the road).
  • Inform your vet immediately the pet is lost. We are assuming s/he is wearing a current rabies tag from the vet.
  • Contact local Rescue groups
      Many groups are breed specific and some are mixed breed. Notify them that you have lost your pet and ask them to please contact you if they hear of an animal fitting your pets description. Make a follow up call a week or two later, if you have not found your pet.
  • Contact pet supply stores (put up lost cards at Pet Smart, Pet Co, Pet Supermarket); groomers, boarding kennels , professional dog walkers, and dog training schools.

    list of any?

  • Call breeders in your area and ask for their help--they can pass along the information to any local or state wide breed clubs. Send a flyer to them. After calling these places and people to alert them of your lost pet, mail them "Lost and Found" flyers containing your pet's description and photo. After that, visit these facilities as often as possible, and/or make daily follow up calls to each facility.
  • Contact any agencies, organizations and services that deal with recovering lost pets, such as Petfinders (1-800-666-5778).
  • If your pet is tattooed contact National Dog Registry ( 800-637-3647 / 800-NDR-DOGS), Tattoo-A-Pet (800-828-8667/ 800-TATTOOS), I.D. Pet, Inc (800-243-9147 / 203-327-3157) and American Pet Association (888-APA-FOUND).

    If you found a pet with a tattoo there is a code to follow which will let you know which registry to call.

    Starts with:Call:
    NDRD-two letters-National Dog Registry
    TNYA and one letterTattoo-A-Pet
    X and two lettersI.D.Pet,Inc.
    Two lettersAKC Companion Animal Recovery
    APA-American Pet Association

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    Contact your microchip company, make sure your contact info is up to date. Many times a microchipped pet is not returned due to a 'dead end' when it comes to finding the owner.
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    Go to the County Shelters every 1 or 2 days, this is EXTREMELY important!

    Click on SACC for directions to the County Shelter in Melbourne, or NACC for directions to the County Shelter in Titusville. Both are kill facilities so check OFTEN! Either one of these shelters will be where your pet is taken if picked up by animal control, or perhaps by a well-meaning person who finds your pet.
    • Look in every pen/run (inside and out) for your pet. Keep in mind that you may not recognize your pet immediately, as he may be thinner or dirtier than usual.
    • Ask about the animals in quarantine sections not open to public viewing: RO (Rabies Observation, your pet may have bit the animal control officer under stress), Isolation (for instance if your pet was hit by a car or has been bitten by another animal or behaving oddly), vet area (perhaps your pet has been hurt and is receiving care), etc.
    • Fill out a LOST* report, be very descriptive** with your pets physical appearance, bring and leave a photo, if you have one.
    • Make a specific request that the FOUND reports are looked at, this is not done without you asking.

    *Altho your pet is listed as LOST, do not depend on that to be sure that your pet will be identified if s/he is brought into the animal shelter.
      Be sure to describe** your pet clearly;
    • gender (male, female)
    • color
    • approx. weight (small, med and large are not enough)
    • describe the pets ears (on a dog are they are flap type ear, a standing up type ear)
    • type of tail
    • when your pet went missing
    • where the pet was last seen
    • breed, but this in not always reliable enough which is why you need to be specific in your description.
    **When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.

    Go to the Central Brevard Humane Society They do not have the stray animals online, you need to go and look for yourself to be sure someone has not brought your pet there. Call them and ask if anyone has reported your pet as found.
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    Use the Internet If you do this, keep track of where you post your pet. Although you may post your phone number, there are times when people who read your post will reply with another post and not call you. You will want to go back to the places you have posted your lost pet to see if anyone has replied.

    • Post to
    • Check the shelter online photos at Dogs, Cats and Other pets This should NOT be a substitute for going to the shelters and looking in person. Most pets do not get pictures. The breed identification on the available software is limited and may not be accurate.
    • Facebook: If you lost your pet and have a Facebook account, change your profile photo to one of your missing pet.
    • Search and post to Craigslist
    • Go to Missing Pet Partnership site for ideas and help.
    • Other online resources are listed here
      ** When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.
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    Make and distribute flyers

    • Click here for help in making flyers, samples, what to say and not say, and how to post them.
    • Keep some flyers in your car to give to those who walk their dogs in your neighborhood and at the local parks. Give one to other dog/cat lovers you happen to run across. Give them to anyone with a dog in their car, especially if that person has the same breed as yours. Dog lovers are happy to help keep an eye out for a lost or stolen dog.
    • Hand out/show your flyers to meter readers (electric, water), cable service people in the neighborhood, mail persons, sanitation engineers, anyone else that may be around that can could possibly see your pet.

      If you do not have a photo make the flyers up anyway, with the intent of replacing them with new flyers once you get a photo available. Remember where you have put these flyers, you will have to revisit each flyer, one to be sure it is still there, two to remove it when you have your pet home with you.
    **When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.
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    Contact Media

    • Contact Florida Today
    • Contact radio stations

      (any one have some phone numbers we can put here?)

      Call in when they are having the Swap and Shop type programs, they may air your lost pet plea!

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    Go to the Humane Society at 1020 Cox Road in Cocoa. They accept strays from people who have found animals. The animals are held for 5 days (same as the county run shelter will do) and then they are temperament tested. If the animal does not pass the test the animal will be destroyed. It is imperative that you go in person. Their website is at
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    File a lost pet report with every shelter within a sixty-mile radius of your home. Check the shelters in person - donít rely on their recordings or even a person answering the phone - they get busy and make mistakes. Be able to provide these agencies with an accurate description** and a recent photograph of your pet. Notify the police if you believe that your pet may have been stolen. List of Shelters
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    Contact this veterinary hospital. Call them, fax them, e-mail them, go there and leave a flyer. Contact the vet clinics in a wide area around the lost site. Talk to the staff to see if they've received reports of animals being found. Also contact all emergency clinics in the area.