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What to do if you lose a pet?

If you find yourself here, you've obviously lost a pet or know someone who has. Before we go any further, please know that we are truly sorry, however, we are here to help you maintain focus, offer tips and advice, and to support you during your search efforts. We understand that you're frantic, heartbroken and looking for direction and LAFPOLI is here to guide you. 

Below are crucial steps that you should take, which will help increase the chances of bringing your pet home safely. Please read them carefully BUT first things first... Submit your pet to LAFPOLI. 

Visit our lost and found pet galleries daily to see if someone posted your pet as a found stray.  

Getting the word out early is the key to getting your pet back safely. Don't assume your pet will find his/her way home on his own. As soon as you are aware that your pet is missing, GET THE WORD OUT.

Click here-how to make a flyer

Hang & distribute flyers to:

  • Landscapers
  • Postal carriers
  • Sanitation workers
  • Local residents
  • Construction workers
  • Gas stations
  • Any nearby parks
  • Place an ad online/local newspapers
  • Around school campuses
  • Groomers

Make phone calls and report your missing pet.

  • Call the town animal shelters and veterinary
    hospitals both within and OUTSIDE your local area.

    Your pet can travel further than you think. Sometimes people pick up a stray and drive it to a distant clinic where they live and report it there... perhaps a town no where near where your pet went missing from.

  • Call the individual town and state highway patrol offices to see if they picked up any animals.

  • Call the local police precinct (do NOT call 911).

  • Call as many neighbors and nearby residents as possible

Physically search the neighborhood

  • Go out and call for your pet by name. Enlist family, friends and neighbors to canvas the neighborhood.

  • If you have another dog, bring him leashed securely wearing ID. He may draw your lost pet out of hiding or actually find him.

  • Never say never!  Don't try to predict where your pet could or wouldn't have gone –YOU NEVER KNOW.

  • Search early mornings at dawn and at dusk/night when the neighborhood is quiet. Lost pets feel more secure coming out in search for food and water at these times. If you are calling from your car, drive slowly, roll down all the windows, stop and turn your vehicle off frequently to listen.

  • Check nearby wooded areas thoroughly, use the buddy system, bring a friend.

Personally visit as many municipal animal shelters as possible

Don't rely on information given to you over the phone

  • Get up and go! Get to the shelters and physically view all the animals.  While there, ask about animals that may be in a different room due to medical evaluations, surgical procedures such as spay/neutering, or who may be simply outdoors with a volunteer. Be sure you see them ALL!

    IMPORTANT: Ask about the stray hold policy at each shelter, and visit every couple of days, within that timeframe. For example if the stray hold policy is (5) days, do not let (5) days elapse from your last visit. You do not want your beloved pet getting adopted out to a new family once the stray hold is up.

    ***KEEP IN MIND...If you have a mixed breed, keep in mind that your Shih Tzu /Bichon could be listed at the shelter as a Poodle mix. Or that your Boxer mix could be listed as a Terrier mix. Be careful and very descriptive when describing your pet to shelter staff. Your pet could be sitting there.

Don't give up! Time is of the essence!

  • Be aggressive, assertive in your search! You are your pet's only advocate.  

  • Never assume your pet will find his way home on his own.

  • Do not let distance play a role in following up on a potential lead.

  • Never go by photos online as different cameras produce different lighting, coloring and can distort and even flip images.

  • Keep in mind if your pet has been missing for an extended period of time, especially if they are out in the elements, their appearance can and WILL change.   For example:

    • lose/gain weight
    • coat length
    • color (cleanliness, matted)

  • Stay motivated, positive thus effective.

  • Rest when possible.  Don't forget to eat.

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What to do if you lose a pet?  Lost Dogs Long Island   Lost Cat Long Island   Lost Birds Long Island  Report Animal Abuse   Pet ID Awareness

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