I Found a Pet! What Should I Do?

Missouri Lost & Found Paws is a non-profit organization that is focused on helping lost and found animals get home.  Our efforts are focused on using social media to get the word out about found pets.

Our mission is simple.  We want to get lost and found pets home!

We believe in coming together as a community to help one another.  Searching for the owner of a found pet takes time. It takes patience.  Trying to search alone is tough and presents challenges.  We understand and that is why we where we can help.  Many of our supporters have been in your shoes.  We have many supporters who are also animal lovers, and are concerned for found pets.  We also have supporters who are shelter employees and shelter volunteers.  Through the use of social media, we have been able to get many pets home.  We have over 4,700 followers now.  We continue to grow each day.

We seek nothing in return.  We just want to help our community.  We have helped dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, turtles, chickens, domesticated birds, and even pigs.  Yes, really.  We strongly believe that for every animal that we can help reunite, one less shelter pet faces the ticking timer of euthanasia.  We believe that together, as a community, we can change the outcome of animals in our community.  Together, we CAN make a difference.

With a found pet, one of the most important things to remember is to verify ownership of the pet.  This can be done thru the following tips:

  • Ask the individual to provide pictures of their lost pet.  Compare markings between the pictures and the pet you have found.
  • Ask the owner to provide veterinary paperwork for proof of ownership. Many vets today include a pet’s photo in their system, which is printed on receipts.  Please note there may be clinics who have not yet adopted this type of modernized system.
  • If the pet was microchipped or the pet has a Rabies tag, and you were able to contact the owner, ask the owner to show their driver’s license.  Compare the name that is registered on the microchip or Rabies tag with that which is on the driver’s license.
  • If the found pet has a collar or harness on, ask the owner to describe the collar or harness in detail.
  • Ask the owner to describe distinct markings on the pet.

Post your found pet to Helping Lost Pets.

Make a flyer!  We advise that you do NOT include a photo on the flyer. Instead, include a short description. Include the breed. Do not include distinct markings or the color of the collar. This will allow you to confirm the pet’s ownership by asking the owner to describe unique markings on the pet. Include your phone number. If there is an alternate number that can be used, list that as well. Use the flyer as your communication vehicle. By keeping a constant image, it stays in people’s minds much better.

Hang signs in the area! Keep hanging additional signs every day by going out further and further out.  Put the words “I’m Lost?” or “I Want To Go Home” at the top of your flyer in big, bold letters. Please read our tips on how to make weatherproofed signs.

Provide a copy of your flyer to your lost postal worker, UPS driver and FedEx driver.  Ask them to keep an eye out for signs for lost pets which could be a potential match.

Hand out flyers door to door if you are in a neighborhood.

Hand out flyers to local businesses and ask if they would be willing to post the found pet in their place of establishment as well as their social media presence(s).

You can take the pet to any local veterinary clinic to have the pet scanned for a microchip for FREE. If a microchip is found, the veterinary clinic will be able to call to obtain owner information. If they cannot, write down the microchip number. Use AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup to identify the microchip company. Contact the pet’s microchip company. The microchip company may not disclose ownership information. They may make the phone call for you. If the microchip has not been registered, make sure that the chip is registered to you AND that the microchip company has your latest information on file.  Here is a list of the microchip companies and their contact information.  Be sure to tell them your pet is lost so that they can update their system accordingly.

Create an ad on your metro Craigslist under the Lost & Found section.

  • Include pictures of your pet that are clear and in color.
  • Include your contact information using the Craigslist tools.  We advise listing more than one phone number.  In order to get information on where your lost pet has last been seen, timing is of the essence.  If you accept text messages, put that in your ad.
  • Be sure to check your email frequently.  Though you may have listed your phone number in the Craigslist ad, some folks opt to send emails.

Notify the non-emergency phone number of your local police department regarding your lost pet. Often times, finders of lost pets will notify local police of the pet that they have found.

Check www.petharbor.com frequently.  PetHarbor lists incoming pets at many of the larger shelters within our community such as St Louis County Animal Control, the Humane Society locations and the APA.

Please check shelters IN PERSON.  It is not possible for shelter workers to keep up with all of the animals that come into the shelters or animal control facilities on a daily basis.  What one person calls a shepherd mix, another calls a mixed breed, and another calls a lab mix.

Give your flyer to post offices, fire stations, postal workers, FedEx drivers, UPS Drivers, local veterinary clinics, groomers and pet stores.

If your pet had ID tags on, one of which being a rabies tag, contact your county animal control office to make sure that they have your contact information listed correctly in their database.  If not, have them correct it immediately.

If you know someone in animal rescue, ask them to share the flyer with their contacts.

Place a large sign in your front yard to let passerby individuals about your missing pet.

Have a smartphone?  Download the NextDoor app for free.  Look for your neighborhood. Post your flyer.

Active on Facebook? Look for buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook for your locale.  Post your flyer.

Missing Pet Partnership, another non-profit organization, has a great article on tagging your car.  Using washable markers made specifically for vehicles, you can easily continue to spread the word about your missing pet.

Perhaps your search has been fruitful.  Maybe you have located your lost pet, but you are having a difficult time to secure the pet.  We have many volunteers who are experienced in trapping lost domesticated animals through the use of humane traps.  In these cases, many of the volunteers are experienced animal rescuers who are affiliated with well known local animal rescue groups.  We have the resources to help you in this case as well should you need it!

Here are some additional tips from Missing Pet Partnership.

Panicked Pets

Lost Dog Behavior

Lost Cat Behavior

Feeding Stations and Wildlife Cameras

We hope these tips will be of help to you in your journey to get your lost pet home.  We also realize that the above information can be very overwhelming.  Please join us on Facebook.  We and our community of supporters ARE here to help!  We ask for nothing in return but it would make our day to see your update to us that your pet is home safely!

If we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.