- Immediately place large (letter size is not big enough), brightly colored flyers at the major road intersections within at least a 3 mile radius of your home. Putting up signs around your neighborhood is not enough — remember that dogs can travel 5 miles per day! Make sure the lettering on the sign is BIG and can be easily read by anyone driving by in a car. Duct tape signs around telephone poles to ensure they won’t fall off.
- Immediately call your area animal control facilities and humane societies to report that your pet is missing. Include surrounding counties, as animals wander and people who find pets often take them to different county shelters. Atlanta Area Animal Shelters contains an exhaustive list.
- Post on local Facebook groups, NextDoor, etc. as soon as you can. The more eyes that are quickly looking locally the better.
- Check the facilities/humane societies in person at least every 3-5 days (depending on your county’s stray animal holding period). Include neighboring counties.
- Ask to check isolation areas at the shelters and ask employees to check the dead animal pick up list in case your pet was hit by a car.
- Run lost ads in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and any local newspapers. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 404-577-5772
- Check found ads in the papers daily.
- Call neighbors and ask if anyone in their family has seen your pet.
- Offer a reward.
- Call all vets in your area including the emergency clinics. Fax them a picture and description of your pet if possible.
- If your pet is wearing a rabies tag, make sure the vet who vaccinated your pet has your correct phone number.
- Keep the pet that you found either indoors or in a fenced area while you look for its parents. Feed/water the animal daily. If the animal is hurt or sick, either take it to your local vet or call a humane society or rescue group for help.
- Call animal control facilities/humane societies and report finding the pet. Call and cancel your report if the pet’s family is found.
- Place flyers around your neighborhood and the major road intersections near where the pet was found.
- Some shelters are now implanting microchips in all cats and dogs that are adopted. So, be sure to take the pet to a veterinarian to have them scanned for a microchip. (The vet should not charge you to do this.) Call first to ensure your vet has a microchip scanner.
- If you don’t know the breed of dog/cat that you found, ask a vet or expert to help identify the breed
- Place found ads in local newspapers. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 404-577-5772
- Call all vets in your area and report the found pet
- If the pet has a tag, call the number on the tag.
How to Prevent Your Pet from Becoming Lost
- Spay or neuter your pets as soon as possible. Both male and female pets that are not spayed or neutered are much more likely to go looking for companionship and to produce unwanted litters.
- Make sure that your pet has on a collar with a rabies tag and a current ID tag AT ALL TIMES. Cats can wear stretch collars with flat tags that are riveted directly into the collar. Microchips are also a good idea as a backup method.
- Keep cats indoors. When dogs are let outside, they should be in a fenced yard or on a leash. Leash laws apply to cats as well as dogs in many counties.
- Keep all pets indoors during severe thunderstorms and other severe weather situations and on the Fourth of July (even if they are normally kept outside). Many pets escape from their yard or run away because of their fear of the firecrackers or thunderstorms.
- Consider getting your pet microchipped. Collars and tags come off – a microchip stays with the pet for its lifetime. There are many low-cost microchip services available.