Lost and Found Pets: What To Do

As an owner of four cats and a dog, one of my biggest fears is coming home to find one of my pets missing. While most people don’t want to even think something that awful can happen to them, it is best to know what to do if found in that situation. The Charleston Animal Society offers a great service to help with the problem of lost pets. Their program is known as “Lost and Found” on their website. This service helps those who not only lose a pet, but also those who come across a stray animal and don’t know what to do.

The Charleston Animal Society touches on a few great things of what you can do the instant you notice your pet is missing. Living in a busy city where cars and bikes are constantly speeding by, the last thing you want is your pet roaming around trying to dodge traffic.

(Picture courtesy of user aar0on on Flickr Creative Commons)

The first thing you should do when your pet is missing is look where you last saw them. Next, look around your neighborhood, parks, playgrounds and restaurants. If they are nowhere to be found, then you will want to file a lost animal report form with Charleston Animal Society and email it to them along with a photo of your pet. Because they care for thousands of animals, either lost or strays, you will want to go in-person to the shelter and take a look at the animals there to see if they have your pet. You should be checking every three to four days because they are constantly getting new strays and lost animals.

Another way to increase the odds of finding your pet is checking other local animal shelters, local vets, and emergency clinics in the area such as:

  • Dorchester County Shelter (843-871-3820)
  • Pet Helpers (843-795-1110)
  • Berkeley County Shelter (843-761-0683)
  • Mount Pleasant Emergency Vet (843-216-7554)
  • North Charleston Emergency Vet (843-744-3372)
  • Charleston Veterinary Referral Center (843-614-8387)

Talking to neighbors, making flyers to hang around town and using social media are other useful methods to find your pet. Posting and checking ads can be beneficial as well. You can place an ad in the Post and Courier but should look at the found ads as well. You can even post an ad on any of the following websites:

Microchipping your pet is yet another effective method of finding your missing pet. If you happen to have your animal microchipped then call the company to make sure they have all of your information correct. You want to do this because most shelters and vets have a scanner to read the microchip in an animal. That code will give them your information that is registered with the recovery program that you got when you first microchipped your pet. By making sure your information is up-to-date, it makes it easy for a vet or shelter to return your pet to you if they end up there.

Charleston Animal Society also addresses what to do if you find a stray animal. First, you always want to use caution when approaching a stray animal. You do not know how it will react towards strangers or if it is carrying a disease. You should bring the animal to the Charleston Animal Society if you feel you can safely transport it. However, if you do not feel comfortable transporting the stray there yourself, or if it is after Charleston Animal Society’s business hours then you can call the local non-emergency police numbers for assistance:

  • Charleston Police Department (843-743-7200)
  • North Charleston Police Department (843-740-2800)

If the stray animal is injured and it is after Charleston Animal Society’s hours of operation, take the animal to an Emergency Animal Clinic. You do not have to worry about being charged for turning in a stray animal. However, you should bring your ID with you to provide the necessary information to verify that the animal is, in fact, a stray. Some Emergency Animal Clinics in the area are:

  • North Charleston: Veterinary Emergency Care (843-744-3372)
  • Mount Pleasant Animal Emergency Clinic (843-216-7554)

Basic information about Charleston Animal Society:

  • Address – 2455 Remount Road North Charleston, SC 29406
  • Hours of Operation –
    Monday through Friday (12:00pm-5:00pm)
    Saturday and Sunday (10:00am- 5:00pm)
  • Lost & Found Hotline (843-329-1547)
  • Lost & Found Email – swilliams@charlestonanimalsociety.org (Ashley Greaves)  

Visit the “Lost and Found” section of their website to view pictures of lost cats and dogs that they have in their care. Your pet might be there.

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