Many stray animals found outside could be abandoned, or they could be lost pets. If you have found an animal or lost one, there are ways to get help.
I Lost My Pet
You may contact us on Facebook to share your missing pet information with our followers. The more pertinent information you can give the better. Please consider including the following in your post:
- a recent photo (photos of pets are shared more than simple postings)
- where and when the pet was last seen, including both street name and town
- the pet’s name and age
- breed, size, color, and distinct markings such as scars, spots
- whether it’s spayed or neutered (in the case of neutering, it can cut down on potential found pets that could be yours)
- whether it has a microchip or a collar and/or tag
- relevant behavior (such as skittish or friendly, and let finders know if they should approach the pet or if you should be called with the location first)
- special considerations such as deafness, blindness, or needs like medication
- how to contact you
In addition, you will want to check listings on Quinte Lost Dog Network, Lost Cat Network, and post your own ad there as well. You will also want to contact your local veterinarians about anyone reporting a found pet matching your description.
Dogs found in Campbellford and the surrounding area, if not held by the person who found it, are typically transferred to Quinte Humane Society via Animal Control. That is not the case with cats, however, and you might have to check various shelters if yours is missing. We highly recommend visiting QHS in Belleville to see if your pet is there and to file a lost pet report. You may also speak to CCI in case it’s one that has ended up with us, although that’s rare since we’re not a shelter. It is always a good idea to bring a recent photo. Some finders also bring the animal to their nearest shelter, in which case your pet could end up at Northumberland Humane Society, Peterborough Humane Society, or you could perhaps check Lakefield Animal Welfare Society.
Many animals find their way home. In the case of cats, we recommend putting something familiar like their bed or a blanket/towel that smells like you and your other pets so they can pick up the scent. (Common advice has been to put their litter box out–we do not recommend that, as the scent could attract predators.)
Indoor cats who get out tend to hide and be silent–you might walk right past them and not know it, because they’re too frightened to cry out or come to you. Check at dusk and dawn, bring treats, and contact us in case we have traps available for borrowing.
You can also make up a lost poster, including the pertinent information suggested above, and leave it at pet food stores, Cat Care Initiative’s storefront, and other community bulletin boards, as well as throughout your own neighbourhood.
How do I claim my pet?
This varies depending on whose care the animal is in. If you pet is microchipped and registered to you, you’ll likely need to show proof of address and photo ID. If your animal ends up at QHS, you can view their requirements here which include ID, proof of ownership, and various holding fees. In the case of CCI, we require proof of address and proof of ownership. Proof of ownership can be anything from recent vet bills, a vaccination record, adoption certificate, rabies tag number, spay/neuter record, or purchase receipt.
Why do these places require proof? It’s my pet!
We want nothing more than to reunite lost pets with their owners, however we must also do due diligence. There are many awful reasons people will claim a free animal that isn’t theirs, from bait animals in dog fighting rings to selling them on Kijiji to make a quick buck. We also want to ensure the right animals go to the right owners. Sometimes we get multiple people looking for animals that are visually similar and we wouldn’t want to give your cat to someone who isn’t you (and if your pet has been missing for some weeks or months, that can take a physical toll on the animal and you might not initially recognize it). This policy is for both the safety of the animal and to protect the rightful owner.
We highly recommend microchips. Indoor cats can slip outside your home (or vehicle if you have to travel to the vet) no matter how careful you are, and especially during emergencies such as a fire; even leashed dogs can slip their collar or escape backyards. Accidents happen to even the most responsible of pet owners. Particularly if your pet is outdoors, a microchip is vital to ensuring your animal is returned to you. Many vets will chip pets during common spay/neuter surgeries; you can also find low cost microchip events in Belleville, just $25 each. Contact your local veterinarian for their costs as well.
I Found a Pet
Check first to see if the animal has a tag on their collar with either a phone number to call or a town license you can trace to the owner. Even then, the owners maybe have changed numbers and you’re left unable to contact them.
You may contact us on Facebook to share information with our followers. The more pertinent information you can give the better. Please consider including the following in your post:
- a photo (photos of pets are shared more than simple postings)
- where and when the pet was found, including both street name and town
- breed, size, color, approximate age (if you can tell)
- whether it’s neutered (to narrow down potential owners searching)
- whether it has a collar and/or tag
- how to contact you if you’re keeping it in your care or what rescue/shelter you’ve transferred it to
You can bring the animal into any veterinary office (call to ensure they’re open) for a free chip scan. It takes only a few minutes and if the animal has a chip, hopefully it is registered and their owners will be easily found. The vet office might also have a record of someone calling in search of it. Check community bulletin boards, particularly at pet food stores, in case someone has placed a poster.
If you cannot keep a dog while seeking the owner, you can call Animal Control to pick it up and transfer it to QHS. In the case of cats, you may have to contact various shelters to see if any can help. You may also call us in case we have room or know of a foster situation, however the Cat Care Initiative is not a shelter and typically do not have space ourselves. We may be able to point you to other resources or have a record of someone looking for their cat.
Someone claims this is their pet–what should I do?
We recommend doing due diligence just as others do, even to confirm unique markings not apparent on a photo of the animal you’ve provided, and asking to see identification. If you’re worried about insulting them, don’t be: responsible pet owners will be grateful that you care enough to ensure the animal is safe rather than handing it off to a stranger.
The animal I found is in rough condition and I’m worried it might be in an abusive or neglectful situation.
If you witness abuse or are worried, contact the OSPCA. Document the condition the animal was found in, including injuries (old and new), dehydration, and whether it was starving. Sometimes pets slip out and, if frightened, go missing for weeks and months where they can’t find food or shelter and end up in terrible condition. Other times, owners are genuinely neglectful and abusive. It’s okay to request the OSPCA investigate the situation if you think there might be a problem. They are professionals; it’s not something for you to handle on your own. No matter where you are, you can dial 310-SPCA to report abuse/cruelty.