How long does it take to find the owner of a lost pet?

Our Missouri Lost & Found Paws team has been working on lost and found animals since 2011.

We can tell you that it can take up to two months at times to find the Guardian of a pet. It is extremely challenging for the Guardian to find their lost pet. Most Guardians look at the shelter. They don’t think about the fact that someone may have their lost animal within a home.

Many Guardians assume that the finder will hang signs, while many finders feel it is the responsibility of the pet Guardian to hang signs. Some Good Samaritans pick up lost animals and take them to the shelter that is closest to their own home, rather than taking the pet to the closest shelter where he or she was found. Some folks post found Pets on certain social media sites while the Guardians, who may not utilize social media, have zero awareness.

There is still a *huge* part of our US population that do not use social media.

Many seniors do not own smart phones and don’t know where to begin looking for their lost pet, and sometimes they are too ill.

We have seen situations where a pet was lost by a dog sitter and the sitter didn’t notify the Guardian until they returned from vacation (that is a lot of time lost).

In St Louis County, animals that are found in local municipalities who are fortunate enough to have a local shelter only get to stay five days. Then they are transferred to the St Louis County shelter. The typical Guardian has no idea that this process happens.

Then there are the animals who are taken to shelters, they are on what is known as stray hold, and after the stray hold is up, they could be adopted, picked up by a rescue group or euthanized. Many shelters close by 5 pm which makes it challenging for Guardians to check shelters due to work schedules.

Then there are Guardians who call the shelter looking for their dog who they know as a shepherd mix. The shelter responds they don’t have any, when in actuality, the dog was there because it is listed as a lab mix.

We have situations where the family pet was sitting at the shelter but the shelter employees didn’t know because they are so busy dealing with animals who have been surrendered because their Guardians don’t want them any more.

We could go on and on with more true life situations which add to the complexity of a Guardian trying to find their beloved pet. It is a daunting task and truthfully it requires all of us working together to cover as many bases as possible to give every animal the chance to get back home.

We can’t tell you how many pet Guardians we have listened to crying, mourning and being devastated over their lost pet. Many mourn with each passing month that the whereabouts of their beloved family member is unknown. Not to mention, there are a lot of children crying over their lost fur sibling.

If we pull together as a community and help one another, we can get them home. We are achieving this with many, many animals each day on Missouri Lost & Found Paws. So please understand, we are not questioning your efforts or intents. We are just trying to cover every base possible because someone may be missing their pet at home.


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