Monday, April 20, 2009
If you lose a pet in or near Montgomery County
The animal shelter for Montgomery County, Maryland, is located in Rockville - location and hours are at the bottom of this blog. Animals found at large in the county should be taken only to that shelter, not to shelters outside the county where the owners may not be able to find them.
I am a retiree and volunteer for the shelter. Among other efforts, I reach out to the community via neighborhood listservs, vets, groomers, and volunteers, to try to locate the owners of stray pets at the shelter. In addition, I monitor internet lists and advertising sites and attempt to match lost and found reports.
If you lose a pet in Montgomery County, your first step should be filing a lost report with the shelter. Likewise, if you find a pet, you should notify the shelter right away so that the owners can know you have their pet when they call.
In the event that your lost pet has not been taken to - or reported to - the shelter, speed is of the essence as you initiate your search. Here is a list of actions you should take, and some helpful websites you will want to consult:
* If your pet has a Home Again microchip, make an immediate call to them at 1-888-466-3242. They will notify your vet, local clinics and shelters, and local pet rescuers. This takes time, though, so don't delay in following these procedures:
* If you lose a pet in or near Montgomery County, please be sure to file a report with the county shelter right away. Strays from all over the county and beyond are taken to the shelter every day, by Animal Control as well as members of the public. You should visit the shelter as soon as possible, but if you can't go right away, call them at 240-773-5960 to register your lost report. There are generally waits on the telephone line and if you encounter this you can go to their website at http://www.mchumane.org/ and click on "Lost & Found." You'll see the links to the lost and found forms, or you can email them a lost report and it will be handled in the same way. **NOTE** These electronic reports are not collected every day, so please be sure to back up your electronic lost report with a phone call as soon as you can.**
When they process your lost report they will search the found reports already on file (and the animals at the shelter), and contact you if they have a match. Shelter staff will match your lost report with a found report (or a pet at the shelter) if they can, but you, the owner of the pet, will always be better able to recognize your own pet, so try to visit the shelter as often as you can during the business hours listed on their website.
MCHS holds stray animals for roughly 6 business days and then they are put up for adoption.
* VERY IMPORTANT if you lose a pet, you can follow what's at the shelter on a daily basis by going to:
Type in your zip code, click FIND SHELTERS (or hit ENTER or RETURN on your keyboard), check "Montgomery County Animal Control & Humane Society: Rockville, MD" (and Prince Georges County if your pet could have ended up there) and click SEARCH. Then click I LOST MY PET and the species (dog, cat, other - don't click any other choices or you may miss your pet) and then click USE THIS SHELTER LIST and you will see a display of information for all the cats/dogs/others currently at the shelter. **NOTE: Please visit the shelter as soon as possible to look at the animals and make sure your report is in the correct binder. There is often a delay in posting photographs of animals at the shelter. ** .
This is a great way to keep track of what's been taken in. Pets found DOA and those at the vet will not appear, so having a lost report and visiting the shelter every few days is very important. Also, Pet Harbor doesn't display the found location, so if you see something you think is your lost pet, make a note of the A# and call the shelter to find out where it was found.
Shortcuts: http://tinyurl.com/2vwpuf for found cats at MCHS and http://tinyurl.com/6ka6r3 for found dogs at MCHS.
* Put your posters up in community gathering-places, and along the road in high-traffic areas in your neighborhood and beyond. Consider obtaining a disposable cell phone so that you don't have to post your personal phone number on your lost posters.
* If you've had no sightings, you should hire a tracker to help you in narrowing down where to search. We recommend Sam with Pure Gold Pet Trackers: http://www.puregoldpettrackers.com/
* Notify your neighborhood listserv, if you have one.
* Remember, pets can travel great distances when they are stressed. Be prepared to expand your search:
* If you live in or near PG County, go to: http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/der/amg/
* If you live in or near Howard County, go to: http://www.co.ho.md.us/Police/animalcontrol.htm or call 410-313-2780.
* For Carroll County Animal Control - 410-848-4810
* For Frederick County Animal Control - 301-600-1546
* If you live in DC or near the DC line, call (202)576-6664 and go to http://support.washhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=lostfoundpet
* If you don't find your lost pet within a couple of days, start checking all the area shelters. Some list their strays on Pet Harbor, others you will have to call or visit. Just recently, a dog lost in Springfield VA was taken to the shelter in Rockville. Most of the DC-area shelters are listed at:
*To file and search for other reports online, go to:
Craig's List (you might need to check the pets page too: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/pet/)
Post ads online
* If you have lost a bird, go to http://www.birdhotline.com/
Call or send photo posters to all the vets and pet shops in your area and beyond. Also, post plenty of flyers, talk to your mail and paper carriers, and post on a neighborhood listserv (if you have one).
For more ideas, go to
http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/finding_a_lost_pet.htmlDisplaced cat behavior: http://www.missingpetpartnership.org/recovery-lostcat.php
Displaced dog behavior: http://www.missingpetpartnership.org/recovery-lostdog.php
* If you're serious about searching for your lost pet, gather volunteers, start a blog (see the sample links on the left side of the blog http://mcmdlostpets.blogspot.com/), and go public with your search dates, sightings, and progress reports. You will find help, and the odds will improve that you will find your pet.
FYI for anyone with a pet, it's always advisable to have your pets microchipped, even those you don't think will ever get loose, so that the shelter can immediately know who owns them should they ever wind up there. If they wear their microchip ID tag, anyone who finds them can also notify the registry and the owners will be called.