Here are some tips to increase your chances of reuniting this pet with its owner, as well as information on requiring proof of ownership and what to do if the owner cannot be located:
Check the pet for ID tags or tattoos.
If the pet has a rabies tag, the veterinarian listed can look up the tag number to locate the owner. Tattoos on pets are often inside their ear or on their inner thigh (think places where there is less hair growth.) Check the underside of the pet’s collar, if it is wearing one for information, not just for a hanging tag.
Check the area where you found the pet for lost pet flyers. Just because there are no flyers, does not mean there isn’t an owner looking, different circumstances (health problems, being out of town, etc.) can prevent people from posting lost pet flyers immediately so continue to check the area for at least 7 days.
Take the pet to a vet’s office and have it scanned for a microchip.
Microchips are tiny computer chips containing identification information that are injected under the skin of pets to provide permanent, positive identification. The presence of a chip is undetectable without the proper equipment. Veterinary offices and animal shelters are equipped with the readers needed to detect and interpret microchips and will do so at no cost!
Get the word out.
You are already posting on Arkansas Lost and Found Pet Network, which is a GREAT resource, but there are many other great resources out there and you should utilize all of them that you can! Create a posting on your page with a short description, photos and location the pet was found. Then, have friends and family share the posting and ask their friends to share as well! Post messages on any animal groups you may be in, local yard sale sites, shelter’s pages, etc. Put a posting up on the Nextdoor app, as well as Pawboost and even craigslist. Be sure to not give too detailed of a description. If the pet has any identifiable features, make the owner describe those to you!! Search all those same resources for lost postings that match the pet you have found.
You can also check for a lost posting, and publish a found listing in the newspaper to reach those who may not be on social media. Many newspapers will run a found ad for free for a certain number of days.
*You can also securely attach a leash and harness to the pet and tell them to go home. If the pet is close enough to home they may be able to lead you right back to their front door.
Proof of ownership…
All of the found postings on our site state “Proof of Ownership Required” so if someone claims to be the owner of this pet please try to make the owner verify that. Make them tell you what the pet looks like, including any identifiable traits. Do not ask leading questions like “does your pet have on a purple collar?” but instead ask “what color is your pet’s collar?” You may also ask for veterinary records, and photographs to prove ownership. Whenever meeting any potential owners, remember to be safe. Meet during the day in a busy public place, or at the police department, or even a veterinary clinic during business hours.
If you haven’t found the owner…
Please give the owner 7 days to find their pet, the owner and you may possibly be using different resources to get to the same goal and this gives you both the best opportunity to find each other. Should you not find the owner, please do not hand it over to just anyone. Screening potential new homes is important to make sure the pet doesn’t end up in a dangerous situation. Contact local animal shelters or rescue groups and if you are unsure what groups are available in your area please search at: petfinder.com/animal-shelters-and-rescues/search/
If you end up reuniting this lost pet with its family, we want to congratulate you on a job well done! You not only helped make a family very happy, you also helped prevent needless suffering, potential injury (or worse) or homelessness, and you have prevented one more pet from ending up in our overcrowded animal shelters and rescue groups!
Best wishes and good luck,
Arkansas Lost and Found Pet Network