HUMANE SOCIETY: Lost and found pets, what to do
Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.
If you’ve experienced a whiteout, you have some idea of what can happen to a pet who escapes in winter. In a whiteout, you lose your sense of direction, your sense of up and down. That’s the way it can be for a pet lost after a snow storm. Your pet uses smell for direction, but smells and landmarks get buried. In addition, vacationers lose pets who are unfamiliar with the surroundings in any season.
Here’s what to do if you lose or find a pet.
Before your pet gets lost:
1. Keep current identification tags on cats and dogs. Consider a microchip. Shelters scan incoming animals for microchip identification. Keep the microchip registration up to date. Your pets depend on you.
2. Keep a current photo of your pet to use on a poster if needed.
3. Scoop snow away from your fence. Make a moat so your pet cannot climb drifts and hop over. Use a shovel or snowshoes create a yard in the center of your yard.
After your pet gets lost:
1. Act fast! Phone your local animal control. For South Shore, call El Dorado County Animal Control at 530-573-7925. They are the central information source for lost and found pets. Check all shelters including the North Shore Placer County shelter at 530-546-4260. Strays can be picked up by well meaning travelers who turn the found pets in later when they reach another destination.
2. Call local veterinarians in case a good samaritan brought in your injured pet.
3. Grab that current photo and make a poster with pet name, your name, phone number and address. Monitor your phone. People may try only once to reach you.
4. Knock on doors. Hand out your posters. Ask neighborhood children to help you. Children love to find things, and they are good at it.
5. Put a lost ad in the paper. Check the lost and found ads daily.
6. Look on foot and in your car. Cats often stay close to home. They may be under a deck or house. If injured, they may not call out to you. Use a flash light to search out every possible hiding place. Frightened cats may climb a tree and stay for days.
7. Check vacant homes. Your pet may be trapped inside. Pets wander into garages and open doors while vacationers pack to leave.
8, Stay active and don’t give up. People take in pets and delay reporting them.
9. Search shelters in person twice a week. Your description may be different than what the staff person would describe.
10. Get creative. Put a video/audio monitor on your porch. Any meowing will awake you at night if the lost cat has come home. Sit outside and read aloud at dusk. Cats may come out of hiding then. Making “dinner is being served” noises also can attract an errant cat.
If you find a pet:
1. Do not attempt to “capture” the animal if it is wary. Note the time, cross streets, primary color, type, and gender of the pet and call animal control immediately. If the strange pet is friendly and comes readily to you, attach a leash and then call animal control at 530- 573-7925. After hours the call number is on the message.
2. Never assume that an animal is abandoned. If you wish to adopt a found pet, work with animal services to do so once the legal holding period is passed. Think of how you would feel if someone kept your beloved pet without reporting it. In fact, a pet is “property” under the law and good samaritans are obligated to report a found pet. Remember, in Tahoe visitors lose pets on a regular basis.
The Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. has developed a Neighborhood Pet Watch program to help residents keep track of pets who belong in their area.
Call 530-542-2857 to get organized in your neighborhood.
– Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals to help “Keep Tahoe Kind.” Dawn Armstrong is the executive director
of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA.