TIPS FOR A LOST OR FOUND PET
According to the ASPCA, nationally less than two percent of stray cats and only 15-20% of stray dogs at animal shelters are reclaimed by their owners. Of those animals that were reclaimed by their owners, many were micro-chipped or were wearing an ID tag, enabling the shelter to contact the owner. Follow these simple steps to begin your search.
Check at your local animal shelter
If it is after hours, leave a message but make sure to come out and look as soon as the shelter opens. If your animal is not at the shelter, we will have you fill out a lost report. Please bring a photo of your lost pet with you as well! We recommend that you check our shelter at least every other day as we often have several animals brought to us every day. We try our best to help owners find their lost pets, but owners are the best at identifying their own animals. If you find your pet, please call us at (641) 673-3991.
Contact Local Vet Clinics
Injured animals are often found and taken immediately to the nearest vet clinic. When the SMAS receives injured animals, the animal is typically taken to either the Mahaska Veterinary Clinic, Animal Health Center of Oskaloosa, or Oskaloosa Small Animal Veterinary Clinic. Mahaska Veterinary Clinic can be reached at (641) 673-0431, Animal Health Center of Oskaloosa can be reached at (641) 673-5525, and Oskaloosa Small Animal Veterinary Clinic can be reached at (641) 676-7387
Displaying posters around the area where you lost your pet is a great way to find your missing friend. Make sure to use bold letters that can be by drivers, also include the type and breed of animal, whether it is a male or female, an adult or baby, and a name and number where you can always be reached. Often, offering a small reward, like $10 is a great way to get every neighborhood child on the lookout. Also, have a picture of the lost pet on your poster. Bring your lost pet poster to local veterinary offices and to the shelter.
Contact local media outlets
KBOE radio will often make on-air announcements of missing pets free of charge. KBOE can be reached by calling (641) 673-3493
The Oskaloosa Herald will also run lost/found pet ads for a small fee.
Use Social Media
Taking advantage of online social media networks is also a great way to spread the word about a lost pet. Owners looking for their pets can also post on the SMAS's Facebook wall to advertise a lost pet.
1. Call the SMAS: We can check our lost reports and see if someone has reported the animal missing. If we do not have a lost report on file, we will take information from you to file a found report, in case an owner calls looking for their pet later. You can also make arrangements to bring the pet to us and we will hold him/her for 7 days to give an owner a chance to claim their pet. If the pet does not get claimed, we will evaluate him/her for adoption.
2. Use social media: Facebook and Twitter are great ways to get the word out fast! Post a photo and brief description of the animal on your wall and ask your friends to share. The SMAS also encourages people to post lost and found pets on their Facebook wall to spread the word even further.
3. Check for a microchip: The SMAS and all three veterinarians in Oskaloosa are able to scan pets for a microchip and access the owner's contact information associated with the microchip if the pet has one.
4. Take the pet to a veterinarian: If the pet is injured or is acting ill, take the pet to a veterinarian immediately! The vet will then contact the SMAS to let us know about the situation and coordinate with us to provide veterinary care if needed.
5. Reach out to neighbors: If you find a lost pet in your neighborhood, chances are he/she belongs to someone who lives in the area and while you may not recognize the pet, one of your neighbors might. Check with your neighbors to see if the pet belongs to them or if they may know who the pet belongs to.
6. If you decide to keep the pet you found, Make sure you are abiding by the law. Iowa code states that stray animals must be held for 7 days to give owners a chance to claim them. You are certainly allowed to keep the animal with you for that 7 days, but if you do so, you MUST make a reasonable effort to find the pet's owners! The best way to do this is to file a found report with the SMAS.