There are thousands of pets that get lost each year. Thankfully some return home, but others do not. One of the few times when Facebook is helpful or set a boundary for your area and use a Next Door account to report lost and found pets.
Check your home and local areas, and enter microchip number at Check a Chip. Contact your dog warden and register (all species) with DogLost and Europetnet. Find community volunteers and paid experts at Animal Search UK (the latter are insured to go in sheds and up ladders, and can send photos of found animals to your phone).
Missing Animal Response Network has good tips from a former CSI detective who trains pet detectives. Advice is different for dogs (and indoor/outdoor cats). Her pet posters often lead to recovery, up to months afterwards.
how to help prevent lost pets
It’s now a legal requirement for pets to be microchipped, also update details and keep recent photos and DNA profiles to hand. Get references for walkers and sitters, and use a safety collar and tag in public places, including your mobile number.
Never leave dogs outside shops alone (nor in cars, even in warm weather). Positive dog training helps recall (neutered dogs are less likely to wander off or get into fights). Ensure gardens have fixed locked gates (and a bell, if someone opens it). Keep animals in view at all times.
how to help prevent pet theft
Many pet thefts are due to custody battles (so it’s rare for violence to be used). Most pet thefts are for financial gain, most are stolen near to homes. So create a neighbourhood watch and don’t reveal names or location tags on social media, nor post addresses or walking routes.
All thefts are criminal offences, so call police with photos, microchip number and vehicle registration if applicable, and ask to log with a crime reference number. As pets are legally ‘chattles’, they don’t hold the same rights as a mobile phone or TV, and their lesser ‘value’ financially mean few thieves go to prison.
Pet Theft Reform is a campaign to change this (already Nottinghamshire, Devon and Cornwall police have pet theft officers). Founder Dr Daniel Alen says the breeding industry does not help and works with Stolen & Missing Pets Alliance (co-founded with Bruce Forsyth’s daughter whose own dogs were stolen and thankfully returned). The new offence for would have been in the Kept Animals Bill (which Rishi Sunak just ripped up – one of the few great things Boris Johnson did during his term, hopefully the next government will bring it back). He campaigns alongside vet Marc Abraham (helping to ban puppy farms) and Vera actress Brenda Blethyn.