Losing your pet is a very scary, helpless and heartbreaking feeling. It happens when you least expect it. The most important thing that you can do for your pet is to microchip him/her and keep your chip registration information current with the microchip company. If s/he is taken to a shelter or an animal hospital, the staff will scan your pet with a microchip reader, call the microchip company and relay the code obtained, receive your contact information, and attempt to contact you. You should also immediately alert the microchip company to notify them, as certain membership levels will trigger automatic email/fax distribution of your missing pet’s information to area animal hospitals, shelters, and rescues. Keeping a collar with your phone number is also a good way to help get your pet home safely.

What to do when you have LOST a pet:
  1. If your pet is microchipped, notify the microchip company, so they may send out lost alerts.
    1. Home Again 1-888-HOMEAGAIN (1-888-466-3242)
    2. Avid 1-800-336-2843
    3. 24Pet Watch 1-866-597-2424
    4. Pet Link  1-877-PETLINK (1-877-738-5465)
  2. Post your missing pet’s information on local lost/found websites and facebook pages.
    1. Some Online Posting Sites:
      1. Facebook - Enter keywords like “lost” “missing” or “found” in the search box for all of the local lost and found groups, like Missing Pets Chattanooga.
      2. Facebook – your neighborhood or area page, if any.
      3. Craigslist – lost and found is located under the Community section (you should also look under “pets” and “free” in case someone has found your pet.
  3. Make a flyer – include picture, date missing, area last seen, age, gender, your phone number
    1. Post where permissible, throughout your neighborhood.
    2. It’s a good idea to place these in sheet protectors to protect from the elements.
    3. Record where you have posted flyers, so that you may remove them later.
  4. Immediately go to area shelters,
    1.  Fill out a lost report, leave a flyer, and have the staff take you on a lost dog/cat walkthrough, to make sure that you view every animal in the shelter.  Return to the shelters and look as often as possible, as, not only is it your responsibility, but also, you are the one who can identify your lost pet better than anyone else.
    2. McKamey Animal Center 4500 N Access Rd  www.mckameyanimalcenter.org
    3. Humane Educational Society 212 N Highland Park Ave www.heschatt.com
    4. East Ridge Animal Shelter 1015 Yale St East Ridge, TN
    5. Catoosa County Animal Shelter  101 Allmond Ln, Ringgold, GA 30736
    6. Walker County Animal Shelter  5488 N Marble Top Rd, Chickamauga, GA 30707
  5. Contact area animal hospitals and the emergency animal hospitals.
    1. See http://hamiltoncountyvets.org/location.htm for listing of area animal hospitals, including RIVER and Animal Emergency & Specialty Center. 6393 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37421,
      (423) 822-8304.
  6. Notify your mail carrier, and give him/her a flyer, as they can be incredible lookouts!

Please remove all flyers and website postings and notify everyone you have contacted when you have found your pet, so that other pet lovers will know you are reunited.

What to do if you have found a pet:
Since the Pet Placement Center does receive funding from local governments to provide animal control services, PPC is not able to accept stray/found animals. Found/Stray animals must be taken to the shelter which serves your municipality. Distraught owners will hopefully be searching for them there.
Finding a missing or stray pet leads to a different scenario. Follow these steps to find the owner:

  1. Take the animal to a nearby veterinarian, emergency pet hospital or shelter and have him/her scanned for a microchip.
  2. If you are able to safely keep the pet in your home (away from your pets to prevent the risk of exposure to fleas/sickness) while you search for the owner, great! But don’t just house the pet and hope the owner finds you. Continue with step 3 on your quest for a happy reunion.
  3. If you are not able to house the pet, you should take him/her to your local municipal shelter, so that s/he may have a chance to be reclaimed by the owner, or, if the owner never reclaims their pet, the animal will hopefully be properly vetted and spayed/neutered and made available for adoption into a loving home.
    1. Residents of the City of Chattanooga must surrender pets to McKamey Animal Center)  at 4500 N Access Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405.View admissions hours here: http://www.mckameyanimalcenter.org/?page_id=431  
    2. Residents of Hamilton County must surrender pets to the Humane Educational Society, 212 N Highland Park Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37404. View admissions hours here: https://www.heschatt.org/hours-location/
    3. East Ridge residents must surrender pets to East Ridge Animal Shelter, 1015 Yale St, East Ridge, TN 37412. View their hours of operation here: http://www.eastridgetn.org/Government/Animal-Control-Services.aspx
  4. Never assume that a pet that is in bad shape is abused/abandoned or a stray. You never know how long a pet could have been on the run or how much s/he has been missed. However, if you do suspect abuse/neglect, you should notify the animal services department of your municipal shelter. Follow the same guidelines listed in the Lost Pet section to get the word out that you have found a pet in order to reunite him/her with their owner. Leave out a critical detail that only the owner would know, and also request proof of ownership (rabies vaccination certificate, pictures) to help ensure that the pet gets back into the hands of the real owner, and not someone who is posing as the owner.  NEVER post a found pet for free, as this does not help the pet get back into their former home, nor does it guarantee that the pet gets a loving home, as you had intended. If the pet has a microchip tag, you can visit this site to help locate the owner: http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/

Things to do to give your pet the best chance at getting back home safe:
Keep current pictures of your animal(s) which properly display their size.
Keep a city or county license (it is the law) as well as an ID tag with your phone number on your pet’s collar. Check it periodically to make sure it is still legible.
Microchip your pet and keep your information up to date with the microchip company.

Don’t give up! Keep looking on lost and found sites – and especially at area shelters – for your pet, even if you have filed a lost report and left a flyer.

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