Celia Haddon - Cat Expert

Understanding animals through their behaviour

WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR DOG.

Do not give up too early. Some people have found their lost dogs months later and hundreds of miles away. Droopy, a beagle, was restored to her family in December 2002 having been missing for five years. She had disappeared from the back garden in May l998 -probably stolen. She turned up as a street stray in Birmingham but was identified because of the microchip. Netty, a two year old Lab was swept off the Seaton seawall into the sea in mid Feb 2005 and seemed to have drowned. Yet six weeks later she turned up in Downderry, Cornwall, a mile away. Nettywas tired and hungry but still had her dog tag on the collar.

Ben a collie Cross went missing on April 4 l995 in Swindon, Wilts. He turned up 40 miles away at  The Dogs Trust at Newbury, Berks, a few hours later. It wasn’t till May 8 that his owner telephoned Newbury and found he was there. Microchipping dogs makes all the difference. 250,000 dogs without identification are picked up each year. Cassie, a lurcher in Essex, turned up in Northamptonshire wandering round a housing estate a year later. Without the microchip she would never have been re-united with her family.

As well as microchipping put phone number on collars. Also take photographs and keep them – better than nothing and useful for posters. Petlog is the best UK service 0870 606 6751 www.petlog.org.uk Avoid chips that do not tie in with Petlog – check with Petlog before deciding.

DO THE FOLLOWING

Report your loss to the local authority – more than one if you are near a boundary. Describe your dog’s colour and size, as well as breed. Ring twice a week about this and ask to see the dog register by appointment. Dogs are kept for only a week and, if the dog warden is late in reporting in, you don’t even have a week. A dog may be described as a black and white mongrel when it is a Tibetan terrier. Put notices with photo in all local vet surgeries for a 20 mile radius.

Ring all local animal rescue organisations including the RSPCA in a 50 mile radius. Write a letter to all local papers, free sheets and magazines with a photo. Ring the newsdesk and tell them that your other cats/dogs are pining and refusing to eat – this gives the paper a chance to photograph the remaining animal and makes an animal story.

  • Leaflet houses in local streets.
  • Put ads in local newsagents.
  • Tell the milkman and the postman.
  • Ask local dog walkers if they saw anything.
  • Contact your breed society and rescue organisation.
  • Contact the police, if it is a dog. Accidents involving dogs by law must be reported so they might know of one.
  • Contact your pet insurance. Some give help with lost animals.
  • Rung your local radio station phone in to ask everybody to help.
  • Ask your local street cleaner if he has come across any corpses. Awful, but it is better to know.
  • Ask your local pub/shop if it has a noticeboard etc. Ditto the Community Centre, Church Hall, vicar etc.
  • Put details of your pet on relevant websites – see below
    Put pictures on lamp posts offering a reward, not saying how much. Give your phone number, not your address, on strips of paper in a plastic envelope under the poster so that people can take one if they don’t have a pen. Be prepared for sickos who ring you up to say how they smashed your pet on the head etc. – they are disturbed. Never arrange to meet somebody who says they have your pet, without bringing somebody with you for safety.

DON’T DO THIS JUST ONCE. DO ALL THIS FOR SEVERAL WEEKS.

HELPFUL ORGANISATIONS

Facebook. Post on your timeline and ask friends to share the info.  Consider making a Facebook page such as “Help me Find Jip.” It’s free and easy.
Dog Lost. www.doglost.co.uk. Register for £16 and DogLost will produce a poster which is faxed to organisations within 30 miles.
Dogs Trust branches, and local dog rescue organisations, often  keep lost/found details.
Petmatch. www.PetMatch.co.uk
Battersea Lost Dogs line 8am-8pm 0901 477 8477, 60p a minute. Checks with police and gives other local numbers. If your pet has gone missing in London ring this.
Voluntary website www.LostpetsUK.com
Pet insurance companies usually offer help.

REWARDS

These can be helpful, if only because you can ring the local paper (having already got a story there) and get them to do a follow up story. But be prepared for all kinds of low life people to try to collect the money, without producing the right dog. It is probably a good idea to take somebody with you, if you are meeting somebody who says he has your dog or cat. Better safe than sorry.

SECURITY

Pedigrees or sporting dogs like lurchers or staffies (for fighting) are sometimes stolen deliberately. Get security advice for your kennels – security lights, alarms etc. Dogs do bark, but as they often bark at things like passing foxes, owners may ignore their alarm.

COPYRIGHT.

These notes are my copyright. I am also usually happy to have the exact words reproduced on websites, in return for a link, my name, and if permission is asked beforehand. I like to check the websites where it might be used. Email me via this website for permission which will usually be given. Organisations wishing to use them in print should contact me via this website. Copyright © 2007 Celia Haddon. All Rights Reserved.

Safety notice.

All normal safety precautions should be taken when dealing with animals. The advice in this section should be taken only at the owner’s own risk. All sick animals should be seen by a vet.

General advice of the kind found in this website is no substitute for an individual consultation with a vet or qualified behaviourist working on a vet’s referral.

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