This weekly lost and found service networks displaced pets in the Northern part of Ohio. Most Lost & Found Friday columns here contain only pets from north of Columbus. To see pets lost and found all throughout the state of Ohio, please visit Lost & Found Ohio Pets on Facebook.
Please be sure to view the photos and details in the list attached to this article.
Today’s Tip: what to do if you find a stray pet
Capture and contain the animal. Always approach stray animals slowly and cautiously while speaking in a calm, gentle voice. You can also use food to coax a frightened animal into approaching you.
Create a barrier or use a carrier, leash, piece of cloth, or length of rope to keep the animal from leaving the area. Signal approaching vehicles to slow down if you cannot confine the animal, or divert traffic around him if he appears to be injured and is still on the roadway.
Try to secure a dog in a fenced yard or on a leash. You can use a belt or piece of rope as a slip lead in an emergency, but once you’ve captured the dog, you’ll have to do better than that.
When trying to catch a pet bird, cat, or other small pet, a sheet, blanket, or towel thrown on them can help stop the animal so you can pick it up. Most cats do not like to be restrained, so stray cats and other small animals are best confined inside a cat carrier, secure box (with air holes), small room of your house or temporarily in your car (as long as the car is well ventilated and not too hot).
Know the law Be sure to check the laws in your state. In Ohio, if someone "finds" an animal, they are required by law to notify the dog warden in their county. If the plan is to search for the owner of the animal, a PUBLIC NOTICE must be posted for 10 days, after which time if the owners are not found, the "finder" may legally keep the animal as their own or rehome him.
Check the pet for ID. Once you have contained the lost pet, check to see if the animal is wearing an ID tag. If so, you may be able to immediately contact the owner and return the pet. If the pet is wearing ID, but you are unable to immediately make contact with the owner, try to hold onto the pet for a few hours and try again later, or wait for a call back from the owner. Call your local animal shelter and animal control to report that you’ve found the pet. Give them a good description and leave a contact number in case the owner calls or goes there to search for the pet.
Next, don’t panic. Many people who find a lost pet are immediately overwhelmed because they have to come up with some fast solutions for a strange pet. Unfortunately, their first instinct is often to take the dog to their local pound.
Please take other solutions into consideration before relinquishing a stray pet to the pound. In most cases, stray pets are only afforded three days of safety at the pound. After that, they can be killed for any number of reasons. If they are frightened being at the pound, they can be deemed aggressive and unadoptable. If the facility is full, they can be killed to free up space. If there are particularly lazy shelter employees on duty, they may kill so they won’t have to clean cages.
If you lost your pet, you’d want more than three days to find her, wouldn’t you?
If you're uncertain about whether or not to help or keep an animal you see alongside the road, here's a final thing to consider: What would you want the finder of your lost animal to do if he happened to find him injured without his collar? Accidents can happen to anyone. The frantic owner could be looking everywhere for their pet.
If it were your pet, you'd want her to have veterinary help, and you'd want the finder to try to contact you. At the same time, be reasonable about how much you can afford to do for that animal if no owner shows up.
If the animal is injured or sick and dropped at the pound, the animal will most likely be killed right after the stray hold. Most pounds don’t have the funds to vet sick and injured animals.
If you take an injured animal to a private veterinary hospital for treatment, you have to be willing to assume financial responsibility. Some vets have a special fund for emergencies, so be sure to ask.
Local rescues may be able to help by providing information about which veterinarians in the area are open for emergencies, and which ones may have the best prices. It’s easy enough to find rescues in your area online by googling your city and state followed by the keywords “animal rescue”.
Get the pet scanned for a microchip. If the pet is not wearing an ID tag, take the pet to the local animal shelter or a vet and have the pet scanned for a microchip. Some of the big box pet stores can scan too. If the animal is chipped, staff will be able to immediately look up the owner’s contact information by calling the microchip company or accessing the microchip database online. It is absolutely essential that the animal be scanned for a microchip.
Before taking the animal home, make sure you can keep your own pets separate; the found animal could be sick, fearful, or aggressive with other animals. Once you have him safely at your home, take pictures and create a “found pet” flyer to post around the area in which the animal was found. Unless you know for certain that the animal is a specific breed, describe the pet with as much detail as possible. Is the pet male or female? If he’s male, is he neutered? What color is he? Does he have any distinguishing markings? How much does he weigh? Is he wearing a collar? You can post the LOST notices at veterinary hospitals, pet stores, restaurants, gas stations and ATM machines – wherever there is a lot of foot traffic. If you found the pet in your own neighborhood, go door to door with a photo of the animal and see if anyone knows who owns him.
Don’t forget to list the found pet on web sites like those listed earlier in this guide. If you need support and direction, rescues can help you network the pet. Be sure to post a found report and photo on both the “Lost & Found” and “Pets” sections of www.craigslist.com for your city. You can also place a found ad in the classified section of your local newspaper (these are usually free).
If you’ve tried to find the owner without success, and are unable to keep the animal long-term, you can try to re-home the animal. Check with local animal rescue groups to see if they can help you. If you place an ad to rehome the animal yourself, NEVER offer the pet free! Free pet ads bring out the worst of the worst, and innocent pets very often fall into abusive hands and dangerous situations this way. Always ask a minimum of $35 to help ward off people who may have ulterior motives.
If you have lost your pet or found a stray animal, please contact the Cleveland Pets Examiner or Lost & Found Ohio Pets with all of the information. The more information the better; date missing, area last seen, pet’s name – age – breed – and other distinguishing characteristics, contact information and a photo.
Check the lost and found list every Friday here in the Cleveland Pets column and share it with others that you think may be able to help or network the information.
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