Finding Your Lost Pet
In order for us to help you find your pet, we offer these suggestions:
- It is possible that we have received a call about your pet or may already have your pet at our facility. You can contact us at 706-613-3540. Even if we don't think we have your pet, we always suggest coming to the shelter to look for yourself.
- You may send us a flyer that includes a description of your pet.
- We will post lost/found flyers at our facility and enter the descriptions in our lost and found files.
- Contact the Athens Banner-Herald and Flagpole for a free lost pet ad in the Classified Section.
- Download this helpful flyer (PDF) for more advice on what to do before and after a pet is lost.
- Post on local Facebook groups and Nextdoor or other neighborhood aps.
- Check out helpinglostpets.com, a free statewide lost and found database. They also have great suggestions for finding your pet.
- Make fliers and talk to your neighbors.
Precautions To Take Now
- Get a microchip for your pet. These work everywhere. Most shelters, animal control agencies, and veterinary offices have scanners that can read them. Most microchips can be looked up 24-hours a day. Make sure the microchip company has your correct contact information. Many shelters (including Athens-Clarke County Animal Services) microchip all adopted pets. Most veterinary offices offer microchipping at minimal cost.
- Get a custom, engraved identification (ID) tag. Make sure you get a new one if you move or change telephone numbers. Tags provide an immediate way for anyone finding your pet to contact you. You can obtain a tag online or through a mail-in form available at shelters and veterinary offices. There may even be local businesses that can make these for you.
- Get a free tag from your local shelter. Some shelters (such as Athens-Clarke County Animal Services) offer free tags. Our tags have a four-digit number and our phone number. Owners provide contact information when they receive the tag. Anyone finding the pet can call us and we can look up the owner information quickly. One downside is that we are not always open, so sometimes this can delay getting your pet back to you.
- Make sure rabies tags are up to date. Rabies tags can work much like ID tags, but with several differences. First, some veterinary offices don’t keep expired tag information readily accessible. Veterinary offices are not always open. Not all rabies tag information is digitized or easy to look up. It is rare, but a tag could get switched between different pets. Finally, low-cost rabies clinics have different veterinary staff working on different days, so it may be harder to track information. While rabies tags are required in Athens-Clarke County, don’t rely on them as the only method of finding a lost pet.
- Make sure you have a recent photo of your pet. Having a good, recent photo to use with online posts and flyers can make a big difference. Breeds can easily be confused and simple descriptions may not be enough to accurately identify your pet to other people or to shelter staff. It’s a good idea to have a recent photo of your pet’s collar, too.
When Your Pet Goes Missing
- Visit your local shelter(s) immediately. Go in person; do not rely only on a description over the phone. Often you can leave a flyer or give a lost report once you confirm the pet is not at the shelter. If you live in an area where there are multiple shelters nearby, go to each of them and file a report/post a flyer. A recent photo of your pet can help staff tremendously given the large numbers of animals that come through shelters.
- Post flyers at local shelters, veterinary offices, and other permitted places where people may see your pet. Check local ordinances for restrictions.
- There are a number of online lost and found websites for pets. Often you can upload a digital flyer to several places. Social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are also a good place to reach many people.
- Local newspapers and other publications may have resources such as online and print classified ads available.
- Smartphone apps: Several new applications for smartphones allow you to take a photo of your pet and attach your contact information. If your pet gets lost, these apps let you immediately post a digital flyer. Some of these apps even provide maps showing locations of lost pets and are searchable.
Finally, this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything you could do if your pet is lost. Remember, the most important point is to make sure there are multiple ways to identify your pet and get her or him home as soon as possible. Most of these ways cost little or no money and do not require much time.