FIRST RESPONSE/SEARCH BASICS
Response time is always crucial. You need all the help you can get. If you have family or friends who can assist you, then divide the work. Carry out these tasks immediately upon losing a dog:
WALK, RUN & DRIVE around the area. Talk to anyone outside, but quickly, and see if they saw your dog.
Create a FLYER with a picture of the dog. Call the local authorities to see if there is an ordinance that prohibits the posting of flyers or signs on utility poles. If so, what about realtor-type signs in the ground?
Create SIGNS using heavy paper stock in a fluorescent color. Stick to basics, as you need all the details to be big, bold and easy to read from a distance. People in vehicles need to see it all at a glance. Use signs in addition to flyers that you post in stores and give as handouts. Post signs and flyers on telephone poles, depending on foot/car traffic and sidewalks. Realtor signs can be used as an alternative to posting on poles. Get permission from property owners before putting them on private property. Illegally posted signs that are removed by others waste valuable time.
CALL the local Animal Control Officer (ACO) immediately, no matter what the hour. Leave a message if necessary. You can get the ACO’s name & number by calling the Police Department’s non-emergency number. ACO’s can be full or part time. Some towns share and big cities may have several. As soon as possible, get a picture flyer with detailed description to the ACO and the person(s) responsible for removal of dead animals from the street. If your dog was bought from a breeder or adopted from Rescue, you need to call them NOW. Do not hesitate. You need the help they can give you. Dogs can cross into other towns very quickly Call and get a flyer to the ACO of each surrounding town.
GIVE FLYERS TO: owners, managers or department heads, talking with the person in charge when possible. Ask that they post your flyer in an area frequented by the employees. Circulate flyers to: Police & fire depts., Veterinarians, shelters, kennels, breeders, groomers, pet sitters, farm feed and pet supply stores, doughnut shops, convenience food stores, golf courses, amusement parks, airports, senior centers, churches, libraries, car dealers, junkyards, rubbish transfer stations or the local “dump,” public works, local and state highway, parks & recreation, school buildings/grounds, cable, gas and electric companies. Visit any place that sells or serves food and also talk with the cook or person who throws the trash into the dumpster. Give flyers to walkers, joggers, people with dogs, mail trucks, FED EX, UPS, landscapers, construction crews, rubbish and recycling trucks.
Place an ad with a picture in the local paper. Sometimes the local “free” paper will run an ad for you. Tape signs/flyers on your vehicle for maximum publicity. Stay “ahead” and go to homes & businesses within a 3-mile radius to post and hand out flyers. Skip around if necessary, but cover key areas. Post at intersections, school districts and athletic fields. If you have help, the search area can be expanded immediately or on a “as needed” basis. It is far better to talk to people in the area than to stuff a mailbox (illegal). Leave flyers on windshields, under flowerpots, in newspaper bins, etc. Paper carriers might help by giving flyers to customers. Smile, be polite, courteous & always on a positive note. Go to search areas with flyers at different times throughout the day & evening. Let people know that they are vital to successful lost dog search efforts and reinforce “Do Not Chase - Call Us.” Tell everyone; if the flyers remain posted, the dog is still missing.
Dogs may return to the area from which they bolted at any time, whether or not they are familiar with the place.
Anticipate their possible return and place these items outside the door normally used when walking the dog:
food, water and familiar scent items such as the dog’s blanket, crate, toy, owner’s smelly shirt, socks or used pillowcase. Try to keep items dry and in a sheltered location. Lostdogsearch@aol.com 7 /2002
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