Lost and Found Pets

Do you know what to do?

Losing a pet is a heartbreaking experience.

Are you aware of the steps you can take to help reunite a lost pet with their owner?

Read on to learn how becoming an informed pet owner can help not just your pets from getting lost, but how you can also help reunite lost pets to their owners.

I lost my pet. What do I do?

Contact your local animal shelters or animal control agency. 

If you can, you can visit shelters local to you daily to see if your pet has been rescued or turned in to a shelter. It's also a good idea to contact your local shelters and rescues to see if they have any lost/found listings you can post images of your lost pet to. Valley Animal Center has a courtesy listing for lost/found animals HERE.

Post your lost pet images to social media or to local online groups dedicated to finding lost animals. 

In the Fresno, CA area, there are a few social groups that are dedicated to reuniting lost animals to their owners. Some of them include  Fresno Humane Lost/Found PetsTower Pets: Lost and Found, and others. Social media has increasingly become a way to advertise lost/found pets.

You can also go the traditional route and post physical flyers at your local pet stores or shelters, or pass them around your neighborhood. It's good to include information about your pet and when they were last seen. Don't forget to include how someone can contact you should they find your pet!

Search the neighborhood. 

Your pet may not have strayed too far from home. Perhaps they got stuck somewhere, or there's even the possibility a neighbor has rescued your lost pet. Walk around your neighborhood and call out your pet's name. Don't be afraid to enlist the help of your neighbors as well.

Don't give up. 

There have been pets who have been reunited after months of being lost. Although it can seem hopeless, stay persistent and consistent with your pet search. You never know when you'll be contacted! It's also important to know that strangers who may have found your pet may be working just as hard as you to reunite your lost pet. Don't give up!

Be wary of pet-recovery scams!

If someone says they have your pet, you want to make sure it's not a scam! Although it's sad to think about, there are scammers who prey on pet owners who are emotionally distraught over their lost pet. Ask for pictures, and even videos of your pet and if someone is asking for a monetary reward, avoid sending money over until you are sure they truly do have your pet.

I found a lost pet. Now what?

Read the lost pet's body language. 

Are they relaxed, or are they growling at you? Are they signaling to you it's safe to approach? Approach the lost animal slowly and with care. Continue to asses their response to you as you get closer to them. You can also use treats to coax the lost pet. 

If you cannot approach the lost pet safely, stop! Lost pets may be scared and in a heightened state of awareness. Although you might want to help them, they may not understand your good intentions. Your safety is also important, so call your local animal control or rescue if you cannot safely approach the lost pet. 

Take pictures of the lost pet. 

Whether you bring the lost pet temporarily home with you, or you call local animal control, take photos of the lost pet! You can post about the lost pet to lost/found social media groups. Also keep an eye out to see if any owners come forward about their lost pets. It's important that you are just as proactive in finding the lost pet's owner! 

Does the lost pet have a collar ID? 

If you were able to safely approach the lost pet, check first to see if the lost pet has a collar with an ID tag. If the tag has a contact number on it, make sure to call the owners and let them know you have their pet in safe custody. 

*Note: If you bring the lost pet home, it is a good idea to quarantine the pet or have it separated from any current pets you may already own. This is for the safety of your own pets in case the lost pet is not up to date on vaccines. 

The lost pet doesn't have a collar ID. 

If the lost pet doesn't have a collar ID with a contact number, you can take the lost pet to a vet clinic or an animal shelter and have the pet scanned for a microchip. The microchip, if updated, should have the owner's contact information. If there is no microchip, or if the information is not up to date, you can find a local animal shelter that takes in lost/found pets, or you may continue to care for the lost pet as you look for the owners.

Look at the flowchart below for a visual of these steps!

What can I do so I don't lose my pet?

Make sure to know the habits of your pet, especially if they are an outdoor pet. Read a recent blog post of ours HERE in which one of our dog care associates, Jessica, gives advice on ways to keep your pets secured. It's important for you to have preventative measures in place to decrease the chances of losing your pet.

Make sure your pets have collar ID's with up to date contact information, or better yet, have your pets microchipped. To learn more about microchipping your pets, click HERE. With proper and up-to-date contact information, in the event that your pet(s) does get lost, you increase the chances of someone being able to contact you.

Stop Animal Cruellaty Campaign

This campaign aims to educate our community members about the ways to ensure the safety of their pets, and even the pets who may wander into their lives. So many cats and dogs have been adopted from our shelter to loving homes, and we want to continue being able to support adopters and their pets by providing impactful information. Valley Animal Center is also here to provide our services where applicable to increase the health and safety of our furry companions and their loving owners. If you support what we do, follow us on our social media, or sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on how you can support us.

Valley Animal Center

Located in Fresno, CA, Valley Animal Center serves the locale regions of the Central Valley. Upon entering our shelter, cats are tested for Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia. Both dogs and cats are spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, microchipped, and administered any additional medical care as needed. Even those once considered un-adoptable due to their medical conditions or disabilities have been rehabilitated and ultimately adopted into loving families. With the mission of uniting every cat and dog with a loving home, we utilize the resources, donations, and support from our community to fulfilling that mission.