Lost and found pets should be immediately reported to animal control services, shelters, rescues and veterinary clinics in and around the areas where they have disappeared or have been located. Websites such as Craigslist or the Center for Lost Pets can also help distribute information concerning lost and found pets.
If a pet is lost, the Human Society of the United States recommends contacting every animal resource in a 60-mile radius. Provide owner contact information, as well as a description of the pet, including species, breed, reproductive status, color, approximate weight and whether or not he or she was wearing a collar or is microchipped. Owners should search the area where the pet went missing and ask neighbors for any information regarding the pet's whereabouts. Posting flyers in common spaces in the community, such as churches, grocery stores or laundromats, can help get the word out about a lost pet. Additionally, websites like Craigslist, Lost Pet USA, the Center for Lost Pets or Fido Finder can provide a wider reach than neighborhood canvassing.
If a pet is found and is able to be safely caught and contained, the most important first step is to take the animal to a veterinary clinic to be scanned for a microchip. If a microchip is found, the staff will call the microchip company, who will then contact the owner. If there is no microchip, the pet should be taken to a shelter or animal control. If the finder plans to keep the pet if an owner is not found, he or she should contact animal control and make a report before taking the pet home. This gives any potential owner the means to locate the lost pet while the animal is safely in the finder's care.