In addition to wandering the streets calling for or driving around town to try to locate your lost pet, calling everyone you know and hanging lost pet posters on phone poles and trees — you should also report your pet missing. Someone may have seen or may already have located your furry family member but can’t return them to you if they don’t know where your pet lives.
Phone Calls You Should Make
As soon as you’ve determined your pet is lost, make these calls before you go out on lengthy search expeditions!
Day or night, at minimum call our shelter at 920-261-1270 and also call the Watertown Police Department non-emergency number at 920-261-6660. The Police Department has dispatchers on duty 24 hours a day who will take your lost (or found) pet information. Our shelter has an answering machine on which you can leave important information to help us match pets called in as lost or found. You should call both places, not just one or the other. If you live anywhere near the edge of town, also call your county’s Sheriff’s department(s) and your township’s animal control officer. Some animals will roam long distances, so cover all possible resources.
There are some pet lovers who are kind enough to keep a found pet in their home for a short period of time while they try to locate the owner. These people are not out to keep or steal your pet, they’re just looking out for the pet’s welfare so they don’t get hit by a car or stolen for example.
Although someone’s else’s home is a strange place for your pet, it is more comfortable in most cases than a kennel at the shelter. Being confined in a kennel in a strange place with all the other animal noises just adds to the stress your lost pet is already under. There are some breeds (German Shepherds for example) who have an extremely difficult time in a shelter environment. This kind of stress can bring on behavior problems that the dog didn’t previously have. Finding and getting your pet home as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance.
Information You Should Provide
Whether you’re reporting a lost or found pet, the information you provide can be crucial to getting your pet home quickly and safely. Give as much information as you can, which should include as much of the following information as possible:
- Pet’s name.
- Pet’s breed or breed mixture. In the case of a mix, if one breed is more prominent in the dog’s looks, say so!
- Pet’s gender (male or female) and particularly in the case of males — is the animal neutered?
- Pet’s coloring and any prominent markings.
- Does the pet have short, medium or long hair?
- Is the pet friendly, skittish or fearful?
- For the safety of rescuers, if the pet has a bite history or you feel it’s a bite candidate, say so!
- Is the pet wearing a collar? If so describe it by color and material (bright red leather or light blue nylon for example).
- Are the pet’s tags on the collar? If you know the license and/or rabies tag number, provide it. The city of Watertown keeps licensing information on record and are able to locate this information for you should you not have it.
- Might it be dragging a chain?
- Do the circumstances surrounding the pet going missing have elements of a possible pet theft?
- If it’s run off before, any places it’s been known to run to or be comfortable in.
- Is the pet micro-chipped? If it is and you have the micro-chip provider’s name and the chip number, say so! Both the shelter and the Watertown Police Department have chip readers but it can take time to contact the chip provider to obtain the owner’s name from the number found when the animal is scanned.
- Do you feel the pet will stay more or less close to home or is it a wanderer not afraid to venture into new, far off territory.
We hope you never lose your pet, but should this happen, the information found here and the steps you take from this information can help you get Fido or Fluffy home!