Los Angeles, CA — The celebrations are over, and now our city and county shelters are filled with lost pets. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) offers these tips on what to do if you’ve found or lost a pet.

WHEN YOUR PET IS MISSING

-Immediately start searching areas in and around your house, yard, and neighborhood for several blocks in all directions.
-Visit surrounding animal shelters to look for your pet and speak with staff. Bring a lost pet flyer that includes a photo, description, pet’s name, and your phone number or contact info. Keep one identifying detail to yourself in case you need to describe your pet to someone over the phone. Check with the record of animal DOAs (dead on arrival). View a listing of area shelters, here.
-Post flyers in and around the neighborhood, at local businesses, schools, the library, or any public place that will allow you to post a notice.
-Enlist the help of your neighbors to search and spread the word about your lost pets. Talk to routine delivery drivers like UPS or the postal service to see if they’ve seen your pet.
-Run a “Lost Pet” advertisement in the local newspaper’s Classifieds section. Check the newspaper daily for at least two months for announcements of “Found Pets.”
-Use apps to locate lost dogs like Finding Rover or Lost Dogs of America. Post on social media, on neighborhood pages, Craigslist, etc.
-Be cautious when speaking to someone who claims to have found your pet. If they cannot describe the identifying detail that you kept to yourself, it may not be your pet. Be especially careful if they ask you to wire or transfer money.
-spcaLA houses stray animals found in the cities of Culver City, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Lawndale, Lynwood, Manhattan Beach, and West Hollywood. More info and a list of lost pets can be found here: spcala.com/lost-pets

WHEN YOU FIND A PET

-Immediately contact local shelters and report that you have found an animal. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. The first place someone will look for a lost pet is an animal shelter! Some shelters will ask you to bring the pet in, some will ask you to shelter in place.
-If you are able, take the animal your veterinarian’s office so they can scan for a microchip.
-Post “Found Pet” flyers in and around the neighborhood you found the pet. Include pet description and your contact number or info.
-Run a “Found Pet” ad in the local newspaper.
-Post on social media, lost pet apps, etc.

CLAIMING YOUR PET FROM A SHELTER

-Present proof of ownership such as license number, rabies certificate, photographs, or adoption papers.
-You may be required to renew expired licenses or rabies certificates.
-You may have to pay impound and boarding fees.

KEEP IN MIND
A lost pet can wander the streets for weeks or months and people who find lost pets may keep them for several weeks before taking them to a shelter. Keep searching in the neighborhood, social media, newspapers, animals shelters, etc.

TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT YOUR PET

-License your dog and cat (in areas that require cat licensing).
-Make sure your pets wear collars with identification and are microchipped with up-to-date information. If a lost pet reaches a shelter, the staff can attempt to notify owners using the best information available.
-Keep your pets’ rabies vaccinations current.
-Create a file of your pets’ information in case they go missing. Include license and microchip numbers, rabies certificates, and photographs.