No matter how careful we are with our pets, they can still get lost. If you lose your pet, knowing what to do and who to call will greatly improve your chances of bringing your pet home. The Virginia Beach SPCA recommends taking these steps as soon as possible:
Search for your pet immediately. The sooner you start your search, the better your chances are of finding your pet. When you search your neighborhood, be sure to look under cars, porches, and even behind bushes. Scared cats and dogs will often hide, so they might not be visible out in the open. Also make sure you look in places you and your pet frequent, such as dog parks or walking paths. You can also leave behind food, water, and items that have your family’s scent in an effort to attract your pet and keep him close.
Spread the word. Let your neighbors know you’ve lost your pet by visiting door to door. You can also reach out to postal workers, delivery drivers, and anyone who frequents your neighborhood and ask them to be on the lookout. The more people looking, the better your chances. Also be sure to reach out to local veterinary offices and pet supplies stores.
Notify Animal Control. The Virginia Beach SPCA does not take in lost pets, and this policy helps channel all the lost and stray animals into one place: Animal Control. This makes it easier for you to know where to look. However, you must visit the Animal Control facility in person, calling is not enough. The person answering the phone might not know what animals have been brought in, so your best bet is to go in person. Be sure to bring photos of your pet and leave behind a flyer. Also be sure to check with the Animal Control in neighboring areas. If your pet is microchipped, make sure you give your pet’s microchip number to every shelter and vet you contact.
Chesapeake Animal Control: 757-382-8080
Hampton Animal Control: 757-727-8311
Newport News Animal Control: 757-595-7387
Norfolk Animal Control: 757-664-7387
Suffolk Animal Control: 757-514-7855
Virginia Beach Animal Control: 757-385-4444
Isle of Wight Animal Control: 757-365-6318
Franklin County Animal Control: 757-562-8605
Kill Devil Hills, NC Animal Control: 252-480-4047
Dare County, NC Animal Control: 252-475-5620
Elizabeth City, NC Animal Control: 252-331-1500
Post online to lost and found groups. Below are a number of popular web pages that serve our local community:
Print brightly colored flyers. You want to print at least 100 of them, and be sure to post them in high foot traffic areas, such as coffee shops, grocery stores, and gas stations. Start with a two mile radius from where your pet escaped and expand from there.
Hire professional services. For example, FindToto.com will send out text alerts to phone numbers living within a specific area. You tell them where your pet went missing, and they send messages to all the neighbors. But, as with all of our tips, the sooner you use the service, the better the chances of finding your pet.
For the future, an identification tag can make all the difference for a lost pet. Make sure your pet has an identification collar with your name and current contact information. This goes for indoor pets, too. If your pet is microchipped, make sure you have provided current contact information to the microchip registry. You can update microchip information here: http://www.foundanimals.org/microchip-registry.