What To Do When Your Pet Is Missing

What To Do When Your Pet Is Missing
Photo via findsugarbyc
Photo via Findsugarbyc

Last seen on February 23, Sugar, a four-year-old pit bull mix, has inspired a massive search throughout New York’s boroughs, with volunteers actively arranging search parties and posting fliers block by block. The Facebook page, Findsugarnyc, currently has more than 14,000 likes, and over 3,000 posts have been shared on Instagram with the hashtag #findsugarnyc.

Sugar’s owner, Morgan Bogle, told The New York Post that Sugar went missing while in the care of her longtime dog walker, who reportedly suffered a manic breakdown. Bogle was in London on business at the time.

Many of us know that Park Slope has an actively supportive community when it comes to lost pets, but Instagrammer @sweetpeathea would like to see more fliers put up in the Park Slope area, writing, “It would be helpful. Especially around prospect park with all the dog owners, dog walkers, etc.”

She prints off fliers for Sugar and hangs them when she does errands, goes to school, and walks her Whoodle, Thea. “It’s super easy and doesn’t take any time away from my day,” she writes.

Want to help? Download the most up-to-date fliers and sign up to flier a NYC block on the Facebook page. Sugar’s owners are offering a $10,000 reward for her safe return.

Unfortunately, not every lost pet receives the same attention as Sugar has. Since losing your pet is traumatic and the search is usually time-consuming and frantic, we’ve put together resources so that you, pet owner or not, can review your options in case a pet goes missing.

Share your experiences or any additional resources that you’ve found helpful in the comments below!

Get dog licenses, microchips and ID tags.

When asked for advice on finding lost pets, Alexandra Silver from Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) said, “We would definitely remind dog owners that dog licenses, required in NYC, are very helpful when it comes to reuniting lost dogs with their families. We would also encourage pet owners to microchip their pets and give them ID tags.”

Do you have all three? When was the last time you checked that your pets’ tags and microchip contact information were up to date?

Last winter we met Lucy, a runaway from Prospect Park, bolting down 10th Street, leash still attached. As Lucy raced across a snowy 8th Avenue, her back leg was hit by a mini van and we quickly found her hiding under a parked car. Through some coaxing and help from concerned Park Slope neighbors, we took her to Animal Kind where they scanned her microchip for her owner’s contact information. While they took care of Lucy’s injured leg, the staff left messages with Lucy’s owner, but we later learned that it wasn’t until the owner came into the vet’s office on her own that she wasn’t getting their messages. The contact information wasn’t up to date.

Thankfully, Lucy got a happy ending. But mostly by chance. So make sure your contact information is always current! This leads us to…

Check local veterinarian offices and shelters.

Many people will take found pets to the closest veterinarian or shelter. Click here for a list of veterinary offices in Park Slope. Contact local shelters daily, such as Sean Casey Animal Rescue, with locations in Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park, BARC in Williamsburg, and AC&C’s various Care Centers.

At AC&C Care Centers, lost pets are held for 72 hours and are then evaluated for placement options. You can search their Found Pets Database, which contains pictures and descriptions of animals found and brought to their Care Centers.

Are you close to a park? Call the parks department and provide them with a photo of your pet.

Post lost or found pets online.

FIDO in Prospect Park regularly posts lost or found pet notices on their Facebook and website and will send an email to all of their 700+ members, free of charge. Email fidolostdog@gmail.com with information about your missing pet, and you can also post a notice on their Facebook wall.

File a lost pet report or found pet report with AC&C, and they’ll contact you if a match is found.

Or, you can post a lost or found pet notice on the Park Slope for Pets website, and we’ll send out an alert to our mailing list and social media followers.

Don’t forget Craigslist, FidoFinder, and the power of social media.

And definitely don’t forget about those fliers.

Get your neighbors involved. Sugar’s story shows that there’s still belief in the power of the good old flier. Belinda Cooper, vice president of Brooklyn Animal Action, says: “…our best results seem to have been with lots of sign posting (actual physical paper signs!) with telephone number strips on them.”

Make sure to use a recent photo of your pet, include when your pet was last seen, your contact information, and any other details you want people to know. Post fliers near parks, schools, in busy areas, and, for dogs, along their regular walking route.

For more tips for pets (and their owners) in the neighborhood, check out Park Slope for Pets.

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