If you find a lost dog you must take all possible steps to locate the owner before concluding that this animal is a stray. The information below explains those steps, as well as your options for finding this dog a new home if you can’t locate the original owners.
CALL YOUR COUNTY ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICE TO FILE A “FOUND REPORT,” IT’S THE LAW!
Call surrounding county Animal Control offices to file “found reports” there too. Scroll down for a list.
- Search and Advertise
- Take the dog to any veterinarian or shelter to scan for a microchip. More and more dog owners are using microchip identification, since stray dogs may lose their collars, but they can’t lose an implanted microchip.
- Place a ‘found dog’ ad in the local newspapers. These ads are usually free. Provide a basic description of the dog, then ask callers to give you more specific identifying characteristics to prove their ownership. There are unscrupulous people who will claim a ‘free’ dog is theirs, and then turn around and sell it as a laboratory animal, or as ‘bait’ for fighting dogs.
- Place free online ‘lost and found’ ads both locally and nationally, such as Lost and Found.com, http://www.helpinglostpets.com/, https://www.facebook.com/Lost-Found-Pets-of-Athens-GA-1496167530665129/?fref=ts, https://www.facebook.com/GA.Lost.Dogs/?fref=ts. Also share with local neighborhood lists and businesses.
- Post large, easily visible flyers near the found location, and at nearby intsections. Also, many local businesses will take a flyer and post on their door, countertop or bulletin board. Again, provide only a general description so that callers can give you enough specifics to prove that this is in fact their dog.
**For ads and flyers, use one or two pics that show a clear image of the dog’s face and body. Be clear and concise with description and contact info. **
- Keep the dog safe and secure
- Keep the dog inside, or in an enclosed area.
- Care for this dog as you would your own, providing food, water, shelter and kindness.
- Keep the dog separate from your own pets unless you are confident that it harbors no contagious conditions, such as parasites or mange. If you suspect the dog is unwell, take him to a vet immediately. Hopefully the owners will reimburse you if they are found, but don’t expect it. Local rescues may contribute to the cost if their funds permit.
- If you do allow the visitor to meet your own pets, introduce them slowly and carefully.
After advertising for 2 weeks with no success, you can legally assume this dog is a stray. The following are your options for finding this dog a new home:
- Adopt the Dog Yourself
- Finding good homes for stray dogs is a difficult task. You can take our word for that! There are simply far more wonderful stray dogs out there than there are loving homes. If this pup has charmed you to pieces, keep him or her! It is essential to have the dog spayed or neutered to lessen the chance of roaming and reduce pet overpopulation. It is also essential that you keep the dog inside or in a securely enclosed yard when you aren’t actively supervising it.
- Find the dog a suitable home
- Be picky! No matter how badly someone may want to adopt this dog, if they aren’t prepared to care for it properly for its whole life, this dog will wind up homeless again – and probably won’t be lucky enough to find a kind rescuer next time.
- If this dog is totally untrained, teach it the basics like ‘sit’ and ‘down’ and potty training. Check out this website for some good info on training the basics: http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogger/4.
- Contact a local rescue organization. Be forewarned that due to continued pet overpopulation, rescue organizations will likely be full. However, many may be able to help share the info.