Few things are more devastating than having your beloved dog stolen or losing him. While panicking is a normal reaction, your next step could be to file a report with local police and animal organizations, as well as search kennels and let people know you're looking for your dog.
File a Police Report
While the police are not going to spend time searching for a lost or stolen dog, filing a report is still important. For example, if the dog is found, a report can be useful to prove that the dog is yours. Because pets are considered "property" under the law in many states, you will have to file a report for stolen property. Keep this in mind if the police office in charge is hesitant about preparing a report. You also can check if your municipality allows you to file a report online.
There is no centralized company or organization where you can report a lost or stolen dog. However, there are many local animal organizations and rescue groups that allow you to file a report and might help you reunite with your pet. For example, PAWS is a small nonprofit organization where you can report lost and found pets in the Seattle area. Your local animal hospital or shelter might be able to advise you of a similar group operating in your area.
In addition, report the loss to your local shelter, as any found pet is likely to be turned in to them. Some local Society for the Prevention to Animals have pet recognition software programs that use facial recognition technology to scan their databases to see if your dog has been turned into a shelter as a found dog. A special app allows pet owners to search for their dogs from their cellphones using this software.
Other places you can search:
- For larger searches, try the the Humane Society, which runs an online database called The Center for Lost Pets. Reporting a stolen or lost pet here will allow anybody who finds him to get in touch with you. You can search their database to see if a pet who matches your pet's description has been found.
- You can search online through Lost Pet U.S.A., which allows you to search for dogs and cats who have been found, as well as to upload your own information in case somebody spots your dog.
- If your dog has a microchip, tell the company you registered your pet with.
Contact your local shelters and city pound to let them know you're looking for your dog. Because many shelters will not provide a description over the phone, you might need to stop by to take a look. Do this every day, as animals are often admitted into shelters on a daily basis.
Report your pet on every online bulletin board or forum you can think of., including:
- Local and area boards, especially during the first few days. Post pictures if you can and give details on where your pet was last seen and when.
- You can also try your local craigslist site. Post a report but also check under Pets for Sale in case somebody stole him and is trying to profit from it.
While online reporting is important, don't forget to continue your local search. Post flyers around the neighborhood, your local vet clinic -- in case someone brings your pet into the vet -- and pet supply stores. Ask neighbors and delivery people if they've seen your dog and place an ad in your local newspaper. If your dog has been stolen, call the local media to see if they're interested in doing a story.
Whatever you do, don't give up. Your pet is counting on you. You can even utilize social media to share your pet's photo and info with your friends and ask them to share with their friends.
To keep your pet safe, make sure he is microchipped and always wears a collar with ID tags and a current phone number on him.