First, ensure your pets are legally registered in your name, with safe non-hanging tags. Neutered pets are less likely to run off, and train your dog with kindness to help recall. Cats should also wear safe breakaway collas (this break away if snagged, and used only for cats over 6 months, with info sewn in, to avoid hanging tags). Former CSI detective Kat Albrecht trains pet detectives and has lots of tips.
An Effective Missing Pet Poster
Kat Albrecht says her posters can find pets weeks after they go missing, in some cases. She suggests a neon 5, 5 + 55 poster (you only have 5 words in 5 seconds to get attention) on waterproof paper, placed up to 10 miles from major intersections. Don’t write LOST DOG or LOST CAT. instead, write ‘FIND YELLOW LAB or FIND SIAMESE CAT‘. She is not a fan of rewards as it can attract scams, and some people may chase pets into traffic, hoping for a monetary payout. If someone finds a lost pet, genuine people will find the guardian of cared-for animals.
Include a quality photo (so take some now) and use 5 words to describe your pet, along with a phone number you can answer now. Use permanent marker and post on giant boards in at least 10 major areas (create up to 100 flyers and hand them to local community boards, vets, shops and shelters). Including important info (shy, on medication) and also inform the local paper. Kat says not to list your name and address, and withhold one identifying mark (post these at a radium for up to 5 miles). Know that if your cat is trapped locally, posters won’t help (you may need to get out with neighbours, as most are in the local area, and won’t come out, even if called. The old advice of ‘check for sheds and outhouses rings true.
More Help To Find Lost Pets
- Animal Search UK was set up by an ex-policeman, and has an army of pet patrollers to help. The paid service (pet insurers should pay out) means their missing pet search team is insured to go up ladders and into people’s sheds. They also take photos of found pets.
- Write to your MP to support updating microchipping law. Stray pets presently don’t have to be scanned, and this could reunite many pets.
- Dog Lost, Pets Located and Pets Reunited all list lost pets, but one site would be better, so everyone would know where to go. Next Door is a local community website, where you could also list. Cities have their own help like Battersea Losts Dogs and Cats Line or Lost Cats Brighton.
- PawBoost is an app that uses the power of Facebook to find lost pets. Alert members and their Rescue Squad go into action. Pet recognition apps use technology to ‘recognise your pet’.
- Happy Tails is a pet detective agency with over 12 years experience. It offers profiling, satellite surveys, night vision, human trapping, poster distribution and witness assessment.
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance has tips for a ‘perfect lost pet poster’.
- Help Find Lost Pets is a free e-book by a Missing Animal Response Technician). Ideas include wildlife cameras with time-stamp feeding stations (food scents carry up to 250 feet, depending on wind) and beamed spotlights to reflect eyes back of animals seen. Many shelter workers are exhausted, so don’t just say ‘male or female dog’. They may make a mistake, and call out the wrong sex.
- PetsReunited has a database by species, location, colour and time. Locals signed up to PetWatch™ Alerts get volunteers to help.
Be careful with those GPS tags. Some could get caught on collars. If you use them, ask vet for safest versions, with tips on how to use.
More ideas and inspiration at: