What To Do If You Have Lost A Pet
As soon as you realize your dog, cat or other pet is lost, take action. The sooner you get started, the greater your chances of quickly recovering your lost pet. The following suggestions highlight many important steps to take in an effort to bring your beloved pet home.
First, see if your pet has been found:
Visit the Napa County Animal Shelter (942 Hartle Court in Napa), or call 707.253.4382 to file a missing pet report and to see if your pet is there. You can also view photographs and brief descriptions of the pets that have been found and are at the Shelter on their lost and found web page.
Napa County Animal Services, a division of the Napa County Sheriff's office, is responsible for responding to calls about stray animals. They cover all of the unincorporated areas of Napa County and the City of American Canyon and the City of Napa. The Town of Yountville, the City of St. Helena, and City of Calistoga do not contract with the County for those services. In those areas you will also want to call:
In the Town of Yountville, call the Napa County Sheriff's Department Yountville substation – 707.944.9228
In the City of St. Helena, call the St. Helena Police Department – 707.967.2850
In the City of Calistoga, call the Calistoga Police Department – 707.942.2810
Additionally, you'll want to contact the local veterinary clinics as Good Samaritans will often take found pets there.
If your pet was not found:
Create colorful "Lost Pet" flyers that will stand out or use this downloadable flyer template. Some helpful tips for creating your flyer:
- Include a picture of your lost pet as well as a general description and your telephone number. Make sure the text is large enough so that the flyer can be read at a distance.
- If you can, offer a reward (but don't say how much).
- DO NOT include your address or your full name, in order to avoid becoming an unwitting victim of fraudulent activity.
- It's also important to WITHHOLD some of your lost pet's specific identifying characteristics. This will help you determine if a caller actually has YOUR pet.
Post the flyers in your neighborhood – on poles and other street structures, at stores (grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations, and the like), veterinary clinics, groomers, local parks, etc. When posting your flyer at veterinary clinics and groomers' establishments, take a moment to tell the staff about your lost pet. If your pet is brought to them in need of medical care, to check for a microchip, or grooming, they will have your information available and can contact you.
Search for unusual "hiding" places around your home, including storm drains, ditches, and other dark places. And don't forget to bring along a flashlight! If your lost pet has been injured, it may have crawled into a small space close to home for safety.
Search your neighborhood, and make plenty of noise – call your pet by name, make some other familiar sound, or bring along a favorite squeaky toy to use...but be sure to stop and listen periodically, in case your lost pet makes noises in response (such as whining, barking, or meowing).
Talk to your mail carrier, newspaper delivery person and anyone who is regularly in your neighborhood and ask them to keep a look out for your lost pet.
Take someone with you and go door-to-door to talk to all the residents in the area where your dog, cat, or other pet was lost. Leave a flyer with each person you speak to. If no one's home, attach a flyer to the door. You'll be surprised how many neighbors will keep a watchful eye out once they know your beloved companion is missing.
If your pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company to ensure that they have your current contact information and to inform them that your pet is missing. Also call your veterinary clinic to alert them that your pet is lost.
Check craigslist to see if anyone has posted that they have found a pet and post a missing pet report on craigslist being careful to follow the guidelines provided to make your flyer.
Place a "lost pet" ad in your local newspaper(s).
Be diligent and don't give up hope! Pets have been found weeks, months, and even years after going missing.
If you are reunited with your pet and he wasn't previously microchipped we encourage you to make that a priority. And, in the case of a dog, be sure to have him licensed – both a microchip and a license are tools for your pet to swiftly find his way home.