find a lost dog by
Frequently, our Club is called upon to help members find lost bull terriers. If
you have ever been through a lost-dog event, it can be very traumatic. Knowing
what to do when your pet goes missing isnít always information you have at your
Last year Brian
and Rachael Bourqueís beloved
Cooter went missing
from Irving, Texas. He was found and returned eight days later. Also last year,
Andersonís beloved bitch, Grace, was stolen from his fenced yard. She was
found in a shelter more than one year later. Over five years ago, someone
released Cleo and Mojo from our backyard in Joliet, Illinois. Cleo was found by
a police officer that same day. Mojo was turned into an animal shelter two days
later via an anonymous phone tip. The shelter staff knew we were were
frantically searching for Mojo and phoned as soon as they had retrieved Mojo
from an alley where he was tied to a telephone pole.
These cases encouraged me to research the best practices related to finding a
missing pet. What seems to matter most in these situations is quick, ongoing
action. The primary challenge is to get the word out in your local area in a
timely manner. So, based upon real-life experience, lessons learned the hard way
from club members, and a little research on the internet, Iíve compiled a few
tips for producing a happy ending to what can be a very sad beginning.
1) Canvas the neighborhood as soon as possible with as many volunteers as you
can muster. Knock on every door and hand everyone who answers a flyer. If they
havenít seen your dog today, they may see him tomorrow.
2) Immediately have a flyer made and attach to the door knobs of your neighbors
who are not home with a rubber band. Never leave flyers in mailboxes
(technically a federal offense) or on door steps (theyíll blow away or be
overlooked). (These first few hours are critical. Youíve got to get ahead of the
dog and make contact with as many people as possible.)
3) Visit local schools. Ask to have the flyer posted in the school. Kids love
dogs and vice versa. Let them know there is a REWARD!
4) Post flyers with a picture of your dog, your contact information (a cell
phone is your best bet), ensure you have both the words: REWARD and NEEDS MEDS
prominently listed. Post these flyers everywhere:
- telephone poles.
- on stakes at busy intersections (just like those campaign signs)
- bulletin boards in grocery stores (Cooterís
sign at a grocery store got him home).
- bulletin boards in laundry mats, community centers, gas stations, dry cleaners
- Commit to checking back with them at least weekly to let them know how your
search is going. When you find your pet, take every one of them down and thank
folks for their help.
This site has some good sample flyers to post, use door to door and for Animal
Remember itís hard to make a flyer without a current picture of your pet. We
have an advantage due to the unique look of Bull Terriers but remember in many
cases no one can locate your five year old dog from a puppy photo. (Initially,
though, on the first trip through the neighborhood, a flyer with the basic info
will do. Donít waste a day creating an award-winning flyer. Time is critical.)
5) Fax or deliver the flyer to local veterinarians and shelters. If your dog is
chipped, tell them. Distinguished markings, tell them. Tell them you will follow
up in a day or two and do it!!!
This site can be used to develop a list of shelters and rescue organizations in
6) Call the POLICE! Insist an officer visit your home and take a report of your
stolen property!! Unfortunately, in most states, pets are simply property. If
you had to sue to recover damages, you can recover the cost of the pet but not
the pain and suffering and other damages. In other circumstances this works
against you, but in this situation, use it to your advantage.
Explain to the officer that you fully intend to press charges if your pet is
found in anotherís possession. Explain the value proposition: Bull Terriers are
relatively rare and even rescues often command five hundred dollars for an adult
and more for puppies. Many of us have paid in excess of $1,000 to get our pet.
7) Notify local utility companies or rubbish disposal in your area. Especially
important if you have meter readers or curbside service. These folks get around
in your community. The local ice cream truck driver has to get a flyer.
8) Postal Employees. Talk to them, but they might not take a flyer. In some
cases they have helped return dogs to their owners, but itís a delicate
situation for them.
Now, a word of warning:
BEWARE OF PEOPLE WHO WILL USE YOUR GRIEF TO FIND THEIR NEXT VICTIM Ė YOU!!!
There are many con-artists and scams out there, people who will try to take your
money or perhaps even your liberty.
1) Never meet someone alone to pick up your dog. Have someone go with you and
wait outside the car Ė visible to the other party for the exchange. Ask the
local police go with you. Have the finder drive your dog to a public area like a
Wal-Mart or they can call the local animal control to pick up the pet for
transportation to the shelter
2) Do not give any REWARD money until you have your pet back.
3) Do not give directions to your home Ė meet them in a public place with lots
of activity. For example, a school parking lot may be busy on a school day but
deserted at 4:00 p.m. Same with municipal buildings, but there is normally
someone at your local police or fire station.
Telemarketing can help: Gary Hack at 800-274-2556, a national telemarketing
petfinder, will put together a telemarketing call list and call house-to-house
in an area where you feel your dog is wandering. This type of direct calling by
a live person is probably very effective on weekends especially and within the
first 24 hours of your dog going missing. For roughly $100, you can call a
40-block area. If you have a good idea he's in a certain area this service is
effective, if you have no clue, it's a shot in the dark and maybe your flyers
would be more effective.
A few websites where you can post a missing dog advertisement.
Most of them are free, and there are some cheap upgrades on them (like statewide
alerts to humane societies and vets).
REMEMBER Ė when your search is over or your flyers are worn Ė go pick them up!
Remove them from all public areas. When you pick up your flyers from stores,
schools, and vet offices, thank them for your help. If you still havenít been
reunited, you can repost fresh flyers. Many communities have banned the posting
of homemade signs and flyers due to inconsiderate folks not picking up after
themselves. Donít abuse the privilege.
"Doing all this work produced an average of one call per day. These calls
allowed us to track
Cooter across the southern part of town, from Loop 12 in the east almost to
the western Dallas/Tarrant County border.
Those calls were the main thing that helped keep our hopes up, the fact that we
received random calls that he was okay and still on the move.
Days after Cooter
was returned the calls kept coming in. It's amazing how far he traveled in the
amount of time he was loose."