Being lost is a very stressful event for both the animal and his guardians. If you have an animal that you think is lost, consider trying to find the animal's home before you call or take him into the BC SPCA or local Animal Control. Most lost animals belong in the neighbourhoods where they are stray and the guardians may be frantically looking for their pet.
Bringing the animal to your local animal shelter is an option but moving the animal from the neighbourhood reduces the chances that the pet will be reunited with his guardian. A trip to the local shelter is also a very traumatic experience for an animal. So if you are able, take some time to find the guardian on your own. Here are some tips to help you find a lost animal's way home.
Look for identification (ID)
We encourage all animal guardians to ensure their pets have at least one of the following forms of identication.
Collar and/or ID tag
Does the animal have a collar with an ID tag? The tag may have the animal's home number or home address that will help you track down his family. For dogs, some tags are strictly municipal dog license tags and most likely will not have the animal's information, but call your local BC SPCA or Animal Control and they should be able to help you track where the dog lives.
If the animal that you have found has a legible tattoo number in the ear, you can check the list of all BC veterinarian tattoo codes then contact the corresponding vet to report the found animal. If you cannot find a corresponding code, it may be that the animal was tattooed in another province or state.
Some purebred animals may have a breeder tattoo on their abdomen or inside leg. This is only traceable through the original breeder.
Microchips are a form of electronic identification that are inserted under the animal's skin. Unfortunately, you will have no way of knowing if an animal has a microchip. You must take the animal to a veterinary clinic, Animal Control services centre, or a BC SPCA shelter to have the animal scanned for a microchip.
Animals with no ID
- Use the internet. There are many websites dedicated to helping lost and found animals be returned to their guardians. The following sites include Canada, and may be a valuable resource for you to post either a lost or found animal, as well as search the listings to see if your missing pet is among them.
BC SPCA Pet Search: www.bcpetsearch.com
- Put up "Found Pet" posters. When you create an account at BC SPCA Pet Search: www.bcpetsearch.com, you are given the option to create a FREE poster that includes a photo of the animal (if possible); description of the animal; where it was found and a contact telephone number. Post them in as many places as possible: around the site where the animal was found; grocery and corner stores; local parks; telephone poles etc.
Talk to people in the neighbourhood, especially kids and other dog guardians.
Contact your local BC SPCA shelter or Animal Control to report the animal lost. Let them know that you are willing to hold onto the animal until the guardian comes forward.
Contact local veterinary clinics, many of them also keep lost and found animal records.
Check the "Lost" section in the Classifieds.
If you find the guardian, as a courtesy, please remember to contact the groups keeping records and let them know so they can take the animal off their records.
What if the animal is not approachable?
Think of your own safety first. If the animal appears vicious or unapproachable, do not attempt to catch the animal. Call your local BC SPCA or Animal Control.