Category Archives: Rescues and Shelters

Articles and tips for shelters/rescues to help capture a lost foster or adopted dog.

Patience, setting up a feeding station, creating a safe zone and luring Minnie to safety!

Minnie was what we call a “Kentucky Stray”.  She was transported from a high kill shelter in one of the states south of Illinois and brought up to a rescue.  Minnie went into a foster home but unfortunately escaped.  Dogs who are used to being out on their own take time and patience to get them comfortable with a home environment.
Flyers were posted when Minnie first went missing.  Calls were coming in and her foster mom would rush to the location but she would be long gone by the time anyone got there. Minnie was figuring out where to find her necessities; food, water and shelter.
After she was missing for about a week and a half, a group of volunteers offered to start mapping the sightings, doing more flyers, and doing “driveway drops” hear sighting locations.   She was very, very, close to her home but a busy street was between the area where she was living and her home.
With the flyers and drops, more sightings came in and a pattern of location and time started to emerge.  She seemed to travel at night, which is very common  for dogs in survival mode.  It keeps them safer from predators, including humans.  It’s quieter at night…
While looking at her pattern, we noticed a few houses on Caton Farm that had pole barns.  One of the volunteers knocked on a door and asked if she could look around the property.  The owners were eager to help and let us do whatever we needed.  The volunteer found a pole barn, with an opening in the back. She also found several canine prints that were Minnie’s size, along with some dog poop.  The home owners had dogs but said theirs did not go back to that part of the yard.  The back of the pole barn was alone a fence line, and on the other side of the fence was a subdivision of town homes where there had been sightings of Minnie.  She was definitely there.  We thought maybe staying in the pole barn for shelter.

Signs that a dog was living there.

Minnie’s safe place.

Using a crock pot of smelly food to keep Minnie in the area. It was very cold out.

Since the flyers were doing their job, the next step was food and a game camera.  A camera was put up on Friday and food was trailed into the subdivision and along the fence where we thought she was traveling. Saturday morning proved what we thought.  Minnie showed up the night before and was eating the food.  That night a trap was deployed, more food trailed and within a half hour of setting it all up she was back.  It took a short time for her to decided she wanted the yummy chicken legs in the back of the trap and she was safely caught!

Minnie checking out the trap

Minnie trapped safe!

After a week and a half of trying to catch a glimpse of her when the sightings were called in, more flyers went up on day 13, driveway drops done on day 14, sightings mapped on day 15, camera and feeding station on day 16 and safely trapped on day 17.  Following the advice of Lost Dogs Illinois and Helping Lost Pets make this a textbook rescue.  Minnie was eventually adopted by her foster family and is now known as Lucy and is loving life.

Minnie now called Lucy

Thank you, Elaine, for sharing Minnie’s story.

When Every Thing Goes Right – Capture of Leia

When a good friend and someone I have learned much from, Katie C, reached out to me to help with another loose rescue pup name Leia. I said yes. We followed our usual routine and started  a group message with volunteers and the rescue. The rescue was totally engaged in doing whatever was needed and as was the foster family. This in itself helps the whole process in general. Sometimes we use the word “textbook” loosely because when helping with a lost dog anything and everything can happen. But , I do know this. There are some steps that have proven to make the journey easier. Leia went loose on a Saturday and was safely trapped by Tuesday morning

Steps taken:

  1. Flyer. Flyer. Flyer. (This was done immediately for Leia)
  2. Sightings start coming in

    Leia being sighted in a backyard.

  3. Speak with callers and get better details. Leia was seen several times in yards where flyers had been given to homeowners. Guess what? They called.
  4. We established a good area for a feeding station and camera and trap. All the meanwhile still flyering.
  5. Learned and saw for our own eyes Leia in the area and actually engaging the zip tied trap baited with irrestable food. We knew she was comfortable and….
  6. Set and watched the trap.
  7. Safely trapped Leia

Leia checking out the trap!

 

 

 

 

 

Gotcha Leia

 

 

To say this went like clockwork is true. Flyers generated sightings. Sightings told us areas where she was. Homeowners were willing to allow us to use the tools we needed. Finally, patience and observation helped us capture Leia safely.

 

 

Thank you, Rosanne, for sharing Leia’s story.

Follow-up on LDI’s meeting w/the Mayor’s staff and Cook County President’s staff

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Update on December 18th Meeting with Rosa Escareno, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor.

LDI’s Director, Susan Taney and Kathy Pobloskie, LDI advisor, along with five members from Advocates for Chicagoland Animals and Chicago Rescue Round table, were asked to meet with Rosa to discuss what we felt was needed to hire an Executive Director for Chicago Animal Care and Control. Rosa said the Mayor had received our petition, calls and letters from Chicago residents for a nationwide search for the new ED. An ad has been posted on three national websites with applications closing January 11, 2016. We were very pleased with the meeting. We want to thank everyone who took the time to sign the Advocates for Chicagoland Animals petition or called their aldermen and the Mayor. They heard us.

The second meeting that day was with Martha Martenez, Cook County’s Director of Administration, who oversees the department of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control. We discussed the following:

  • Encouraged Cook County Animal and Rabies Control to use reasonable priced microchips which includes registration. Profits from these sales could provide low cost or free microchip clinics for under served areas.
  • Search for grants to help fund these types of clinics. Gave them names of organizations that may have available grants.
  • Encouraged the County to use Helping Lost Pets, a free national map based database, since there are multiple stray holding facilities in Cook County and Chicago
  • Gave them our municipality listing for Cook County animal holding facilities.
  • Asked that they add Lost Dogs Illinois to their website as a resource.
  • Asked for the copy of the ordinance saying that rabies tag monies have to be spent towards rabies education, etc.
  • Asked what the plans are for the surplus of money for CCAC.  As of 2015 that was approximately $8 million.
  • We were told that CCAC are working with the Cook County Sheriff’s department.

We, at LDI, hope to continue a working relationship with Cook County and CACC.

 

 

 

Fireworks and Reuniting Lost Dogs with Their Families

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Last year we were honored to present a free webinar for ASPCA Pro that included a lot of helpful information for shelters and owners for dogs that go missing after the fireworks on the 4th of July. Please feel free to share this link.
“In preparation for July 4, experts from Lost Dogs Illinois and Lost Dogs of Wisconsin will give you practical advice to offer support, resources, and tips to worried families searching for their lost dogs. Teaching people how to find their lost pets and avoid common mistakes can avoid heartbreak for many people and animals.
This free, 60-minute webinar will benefit staff and volunteers from any animal welfare agency.”

Click this link to view the webinar slides and access the webinar recording: http://www.aspcapro.org/webinar/2014-06-18/fireworks-rto

Keeping Our Fans Informed!

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Since the Chicago City Council and Mayor approved the 3 day stray hold, the Director of Lost Dogs Illinois has made a commitment to try to attend the City of Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) Commissioners Meeting. The meetings are held every two months at CACC starting at 8:30. After the meeting is over, the public is allowed to read a statement or ask questions.

On March 19, our Director read this statement to the Commissioners.

Our Director attended the next scheduled meeting. This is the statement she read: “Since Animal Welfare League and other facilities have been approved to hold Chicago stray animals, aren’t their Return To Owner statistics posted publicly like CACCs.

  • What are the fees and fines that each facility charges and are they posted publicly like CACC does?
  • What is the cross communication among these facilities in order to help owners find their lost pets?
  • Since all these facilities have been approved to hold stray animals for CACC, why are they not required to post photos on the internet or Facebook?”

CACC is supported by Chicago taxpayers. As taxpayers, you have a voice and should not settle for anything less than excellence from CACC. The next meeting is Thursday, July 16th at CACC.

For more information:

Commissioners Meeting Schedule

Miracles and happy endings do exist!!!

Coqueta

Coqueta was reunited with her family the next day after her mandatory three day stray hold at Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).

Miracles and happy endings do exist!!! Thanks to the guidance and help from the two animal welfare organizations, Red Door Shelter and New Leash on Life; Coqueta’s Good Samaritan was able to pull Coqueta from CACC and foster her. A team of volunteers distributed fliers and in one night she was reunited when her owners saw one of the posted fliers.

One of Lost Dogs Illinois’s (LDI) concerns with reducing the stray hold from five days to three days was owners would not have time to find their lost dogs. Coqueta’s story verifies this. Many owners who are looking for their dogs do not find them within three days. More time is needed.

A LDI shout out to this special Good Sam who went the extra mile to find Coqueta’s family! Coqueta didn’t need a new home. She just needed to go back home.

PLEASE SUPPORT House Bill 4029 – A Bill That Would Help Reunite More Lost Pets With Their Families

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WE NEED TO PASS House Bill 4029

We can’t quite understand it.  Why would a common-sense piece of legislation that would require animal shelters to scan all dogs and cats on intake and notify owners be opposed by an animal shelter organization such as the Illinois Animal Welfare Federation?

We can’t figure it out. This  Illinois Animal Welfare Act pretty much mirrors the Illinois Animal Control Act, which already requires animal controls to scan all dogs and cats for microchips and notify owners.

510 ILCS 5/10, http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1704&ChapterID=41  Impoundment, redemption for animal control

So why shouldn’t shelters be required to make every attempt to find the owner before placing the animal in another home or facility or euthanizing?

Here’s the new legislation:
See 225 ILCS 605/3.10 new http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=88&GA=99&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=4029&GAID=13&LegID=90246&SpecSess=&Session=

Seems pretty straightforward. We believe that every facility that shelters animals should seek to verify ownership, even for “owner surrenders” because we can easily imagine scenarios where a disgruntled neighbor, angry ex-spouse  or someone who finds an animal could take it to a shelter to relinquish it

This only makes common sense to verify ownership at the initial intake before transferring, adopting or euthanasia. This also allows the opportunity for a family to claim their animal.

During the committee hearing process, the Committee accepts Witness Slips to enter your support of the bill.  So please take the few minutes to register per the instructions and send in your electronic witness slip for support.  Instructions to register.

Then register your support for the bill through the Illinois General Assembly website.

  1. On the General Assembly’s homepage, click on “GA Dashboard”
  2. Click on “House” in the left hand menu
  3. Click on “Committees”
  4. Scroll down to “Executive Committee”
  5. Click on the gavel icon on the right hand side of the screen to “View committee hearings.”
  6. Click on “View Legislation” box, on the right
  7. Scroll down to HB4029 and click on the “Create Witness Slip” icon, on the far right
  8. Fill out your witness slip and be sure to check “proponent” and “Record of Appearance Only”

The Executive Committee meets this Monday, April 20 at 4:00 pm to consider this bill.

Please register your support by 4:00 on Monday, April 20.

The bill’s sponsors are: Deborah Conroy and Silvana Taberes

Members of the Executive Committee are:

Chairperson: Daniel J. Burke

Robert Rita

Chad Hays

Edward J. Acevedo

Luis Arroyo

Greg Harris

Eddie Lee Jackson, Sr.

Joe Sosnowski

Ed Sullivan

To Hold or Not To Hold – Is it the law? – That is our question

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Almost every week, we get comments from Good Samaritans who state they took a “found” dog to a shelter or vet clinic to be scanned for a microchip . If a microchip was found, the facility employees told the Good Samaritans they needed to sign over the dog to them because it is “the law”.

We can’t find that darn law. We have actually reached out to directors/managers of other animal control facilities and vet clinics in Illinois to find out if such a state law exists. We check ed other facilities’ policy. They told us that they take the Good Sam’s information so when they contact the microchip company, the owner can call the Good Samaritan directly to retrieve their dog. Therefore the dog never has to enter the shelter. There are not any impound fees or opportunities for the dog to be exposed to other animals with unknown medical histories. This is especially important now when the canine flu is so prevalent. . I think we can all agree that this totally makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is needlessly impounding found dogs into an already over-crowded shelter, exposing him/her to stress, illness, and possible death by lethal injection. Of course, this also causes stress for the owner and the shelter staff.

Keeping animals out of shelters should be everyone’s goal. If such a law exists that says found dogs with microchips must be impounded, we haven’t seen it.

So Lost Dogs Illinois says Show us the Law!

Use Facebook to Help Increase Your Shelter’s Return to Owner Rate

dogx-topper-mediumMany animal shelters in America have contracts with local municipalities to hold “stray” dogs for the state-mandated stray hold to give owners an opportunity to reclaim their lost dog. This period of time varies from state to state.

A shelter typically has two windows of opportunity to help people find their lost dog:

  1. When a person who has lost a dog comes in or calls to file a report.
  2. When “stray” dogs are picked up and impounded at the facility.

Today we want to talk about using Facebook to maximum potential to help lost dogs get home. We are thrilled to see so many shelters and animal control facilities (big and small) using Facebook to try to reunite lost dogs with their owners.

We have been in the Facebook game since our inception in early 2010 and we’ve seen a lot of changes along the way. We have gained a large following and have learned many lessons from our successes and failures. We have seen what does and doesn’t work. We have also seen some shelters start to post impounded found dogs on Facebook and then stop, claiming that it isn’t working or that it requires too much time.

We would respectfully like to offer some suggestions that may help make everyone happy:  shelter management, the taxpayer, the shelter donor and volunteer,  the dog’s owner and of course the dog that gets to go back home!

The benefits of posting found dogs on Facebook are numerous:

  1. You will decrease the length of stay for animals in your shelter.
  2. You will free up space for needier animals.
  3. You will increase your shelter’s reputation and goodwill (and possibly generate donations from grateful owners and fans). Nothing tugs at heartstrings better than happy reunion photos when an owner reclaims their dog. Make sure you have a camera handy!
  4. You will become a resource in the community for owners who are missing their dogs. Post articles and tips to help people find their missing dogs. Also post happy reunion stories, microchip clinics in the area, and lost pet flyers for members of your community who are missing their pet.
  5. You will help your community make a “paradigm shift” that not all stray dogs are homeless.

If your “stray” intake is low use your main Facebook page to post them. The beauty of posting lost and found dogs on Facebook is that a neighbor or complete stranger might “happen chance” to see the post of the found dog and know where he/she belongs. Or, they might see the lost dog and then see the post.

Yes, the people that are actively matching (the owner, our volunteers and members of the public who enjoy doing this) will seek out the info where ever it is stored, whether it be on a website or a separate Facebook page but that only takes care of the actual matches (where a lost report matches a found report) which is still a fairly small percentage of the reunions.

The best chance for a “happen chance” reunion is to get the posting in front of the biggest audience possible, which is almost always your main Facebook page that you use for all of your shelter Facebook posts. Pictures of impounded pets are one of the most widely shared posts on Facebook (much more than adoptable pets) so posting them on your main Facebook page has the added benefit of driving traffic to your page so that your adoptables, fundraisers, etc. are also more likely to be seen.

A common mistake we see is shelters that try to run a separate Facebook page for found pets and then not actively working to build the fan base of that page. The average person is not going to stumble across the Found or Stray page by accident and Facebook does not make it easy to search.  So you will only reach those that are actively looking for your page and the likelihood of “happen chance” reunions will be greatly diminished.

If your shelter has such a high intake of “strays” that posting them on your main page is not feasible, then yes, perhaps setting up a separate Facebook page is the best solution.

Here are a few suggestions if you set up a separate page:

  1. Make sure that you include your location name and county in the title of the Facebook page. Make it as easy as possible for people to find it. Include it on your website and in any literature you distribute.
  2. Include links to the Stray page in the “About Us” section of your main Facebook page.
  3. Drive traffic to the Stray page at least once per day (more at the beginning) by sharing a post from it onto your main page and reminding your fans that “All impounded pets at xxxx shelter can be seen by visiting our Stray page”. Use hotlinks and Facebook tags whenever possible so that people can just click and be taken directly to the new page.
  4. Ask one or two volunteers to help you with this page and give them full access to it. They should engage with the fans and commenters. It’s called “social” media for a reason!  Make sure they answer every question and respond to comments. Get your community actively engaged in helping reunite found pets!
  5. Volunteer Facebook administrators can also share the posts on other neighborhood pages – including police departments, newspapers, radio stations, vet clinics, dog parks, town pages, garage sale pages, buy/sell pages and popular neighborhood hangouts like bars and restaurants. This can quickly increase the fan base of your page and makes an excellent and rewarding volunteer opportunity for someone who cannot make it into the shelter to do hands-on work.
  6. Do not get discouraged if the public offers to adopt the dog rather than trying to find the owner. Create some standard responses that your volunteers can copy and paste below these comments. And remember! You are lining up potential adopters if an owner does not come forward.
  7. Link your “Stray” page to a Twitter account with a free Facebook app that will automatically retweet everything you post. Once it is set up it is seamless and maintenance free.  You will reach a much broader audience especially if you use hashtags in front of the location. Many police departments and media outlets monitor twitter via hashtag and will retweet your posts for lost and found dogs.

Thank you for helping more lost dogs get home! You can find more tips to help increase your Return to Owner rate in this blog post: Reuniting Lost Dogs with Their Families – How Shelters Can Help