Author Archives: Susan

April 23rd is the Fifth Annual National Lost Dog Awareness Day

 

On April 23, 2014, Lost Dogs of America created and launched the first National Lost Dog Awareness Day (NLDAD), a canine-focused day aimed to bring attention to all dogs that are lost each year, while also celebrating the thousands of lost dogs successfully reunited with their families.

Lost Dogs Of America (which Lost Dogs Illinois is a partner) is an all-volunteer organization with the exclusive purpose of providing a free service to help reunite families with their lost dogs.

The tenacious efforts of the combined states’ volunteers efforts, along with over 500,000 fans have helped reunite over 100,000 dogs with their families since 2011.   Getting lost dogs back home reduces stress on owners’, staff at shelters/animal control facilities, other dogs in the facilities, and ultimately saves taxpayers’ money. It also opens up kennel space for truly homeless dogs.

“When a dog goes missing, many families give up looking for their lost pet. National Lost Dog Awareness Day was created to give hope to the families still looking for their dogs and remind the public that “not all stray dogs are homeless dogs”.

Click below to open and print press release
LDOA Press Release 2018

 

Tips for Dogs Lost From Car Accidents

It’s a terrifying thought. You are on an outing with your dog, enjoying the day, and all of a sudden your world is turned upside down because you have been involved in a car accident and your dog has been thrown from the vehicle.  Sadly, it is a fairly common occurance.  But there is hope!  This article will give you some tips on what we have learned from our experience regarding the best way to recover a dog lost from a car crash.

Due to the trauma of the crash, these dogs immediately fall into our “Shy Dog” profile and will generally behave as a shy, fearful dog, even though they may have a friendly personality. Dogs lost from car accidents are usually quite predictable in their actions and can be successfully recovered if everyone who is helping the owner understands lost dog behavior and agrees to follow some guidelines. Unfortunately, sometimes the owner is in the hospital and is unable to assist in the recovery.  Without strong, educated leadership from the volunteers helping, the recovery efforts can swiftly go off course.

The first thing to remember is that dogs lost from car accidents do not usually venture far from the scene of the crash. They may bolt at first but then they usually hide and may creep back to the crash location shortly after the accident (often the first night).  OR they may go further afield but then circle back around to the crash site in the upcoming days.

Use scent articles (the dog’s bed, toys and dirty articles of the owner’s clothing or bed sheets). This will help will keep the dog in the area.  Place them near the crash site but well away from the road along with smelly, tasty food and water.

RULE NUMBER ONE*:  Never call, chase, whistle, pressure or pursue a scared lost dog.  You risk chasing him away from the area and possibly into traffic, endangering his life.  The most frequent mistake we see is well-meaning but uninformed Good Samaritans who want to jump in to help but do all of the wrong things, including bringing large groups of people (search parties) or strange dogs, ATV’s, horses, drones, etc. to the site of the crash.  This invariably drives the dog out of the area, requiring the owner or the volunteers to flyer an ever expanding radius.

Sometimes there are people who wish to profit off the situation and will offer services for a fee. Make absolutely sure they are knowledgable and reputable before enlisting them. Make sure that they aren’t going to do any of the things listed above (tracking dogs, drones, etc.) It may be wiser to avoid fee-based services altogether because it can be difficult to do the due diligence required to check them out during this stressful time.

Generating Sightings

Instead of “searching”, volunteers should be enlisted to quickly print and deliver flyers or do driveway drops in the surrounding neighborhoods to try to generate sightings in case the dog does not quickly return to the crash site.

Make sure there is a reminder on the flyer that people should not call or chase the dog. They should simply call the number on the flyer immediately.    The greatest risk to a shy lost dog is that he will be chased into traffic and killed. The second greatest risk to a shy lost dog is that he will be chased into a body of water or onto thin ice and will drown. Do not offer a reward for your missing dog (click herefor more info) .  Rewards encourage people to chase the dog and can lead to the problems mentioned above.

Unfortunately, flyering is not as emotionally rewarding as trying to catch the dog, and the volunteers recruited to flyer may lose interest quickly and disappear. If the owner lives far away, or is in the hospital, they may be unable to flyer themselves and they may give up due to logistical or financial reasons.  Social media is wonderful but hand delivering flyers door to door in the area where the dog is missing is the Number One way that lost dogs are found. Posting flyers on bulletin boards and utility poles is not enough and may be illegal.  Affixing flyers to poles is dangerous to the utility workers.

Intersection signs are also very useful to alert passing motorists about the missing dog.  Remember to get permission before using intersection signs or you may be disappointed when they are taken down because they violate municipal ordinances or home owners’ association rules.

If you live outside the area, and your volunteer helpers are unwilling to do the hard work of door to door flyering, you may need to use a service such as the United State’s Postal Service Every Door Direct Mail.  Read more here.  There are other services available also, such as Pet Harbor’s Postcard service.  Details are here. Robo-calling services, although very useful in years past, have diminshed in effectiveness because of the increased use of cell phones and the decreased use of landlines. We no longer feel they are an effective way to get the word out.  People also tend to ignore voicemail messages that they perceive to be spam.

What if I See the Dog? 

If you see the dog, immediately sit on the ground facing away from him and toss a few tasty treats behind you.  Do not make eye contact and speak softly or not at all.  It may take a few minutes, or a few hours, but the dog may approach you. They will usually approach from behind. Most people give up too soon and then stand up and start walking towards the dog and chase him away.  Be patient! But if he doesn’t approach and you have to leave, put a few treats on the ground and leave the area without looking at the dog.  Allowing him to settle and relax is a far better strategy than trying to chase him.  Lost dogs that aren’t being chased will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely.

When is Too Much Media Coverage Too Much of a Good Thing? 

Car crash lost dog cases elicit a lot of sympathy from the public, social media and traditional media.   Unfortunately this can work against your efforts.  Highly publicized lost dog cases often backfire. Too much media can be detrimental to your lost dog search because the additional pressure from the public can chase your dog out of the flyered area or worse yet, into the path of traffic. The dog may also become nocturnal resulting in fewer sightings. Read more here.

Be patient. Dogs lost from car accidents may hunker down for a day or two and then creep back to the site of the crash – lured by the tasty food and scent items you left.

Please read through the rest of our articles on Shy Lost Dog Strategies and Humane Trapping.  Never give up!  Your lost dog is counting on you to bring him safely home.

*The only exception to this rule may be when you know the dog has been seriously injured in the crash. Only in this circumstance should a shoulder to shoulder grid search be used to search for the injured dog who may be hunkered down and hiding. Unfortunately, shoulder to shoulder grid searches are usually improperly done and the hiding hurt dog is not found because the walking searchers were too widely spaced.

Annie, the dog featured in the photo above was successfully recovered after being lost from a truck roll over in Wisconsin.  Read the owner’s story here.

Our tips, ideas and articles are based on information gathered from thousands of successful lost dog recoveries. Any advice or suggestions made by Lost Dogs of Wisconsin/Lost Dogs Illinois is not paid-for professional advice and should be taken at owner’s discretion.

Never underestimate a dog’s ability to survive – even a senior dog.

Stuey, a 12 year old Lab/Corgie, was on a walk with his owner at an off leash park on 1/31. They were just wrapping up their walk when 2 dogs rushed Stuey, quarreled with him and ran him off. Bruce walked and walked calling for Stuey with no luck. He put posters out at the park. Two days went by and nothing. Not being too tech savvy, the owners didn’t know about LDI, NextDoor and didn’t have FB accounts. Someone at the park noticed the sign and posted it on their page.
A few days later someone else posted a sighting of a small lab 1.5 miles north. Someone on FB made the match and an LDI fan got in touch with the family to start the process. Stuey was reported to LDI, Animal Services and posted on NextDoor. The owners embraced the process of generating sightings through signs and flyers. A sighting came in but then we hit the cold spell. Temps were -10 and windchills -20+. Another day, no sightings but the owner and helpers kept widening the flyer range… every day but were growing weary. Finally! Wednesday night they got a call that Stuey was seen that morning. Thursday morning the troops went out. Some of Stuey’s tracks were found and through more door knocking, more people reported seeing Stuey. While out flyering, a call came in that Stuey was in a cornfield about a half mile away. The owner and helper rushed to the sighting! Bruce had been coached that Stuey may not recognize him and to get low, use a slow approach and try familiar  commands. At first Stuey just looked at Bruce, debating whether or not to run. Bruce kept repeating the commands “want to get in the Jeep”…. phrases Stuey knew. It worked! Stuey snapped out of it and ran right over to Bruce!!!
Click on:  Stuey:  “I am coming home” video
This 12 year old boy lived 8 days in the brutal cold and traveled at least 3 miles overall! He has frostbite on his nose but besides that, he’s in fantastic shape!!!

Ouch, my nose!

Often owners can’t see their pets living through extreme weather, especially older gentleman like Stuey. Sometimes it’s emotionally easier to assume the worst. As a helper, I understand that. But believe us when we tell you, they are resilient; they are strong; they can make it!
Don’t give up. Push on for them! Flyers and Signs get dogs home! 💗

Stuey, at home, resting on his favorite bed and teddy bear.

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing Stuey’s story!

The Reunion That Almost Didn’t Happen

Simba, fox terrier mix,  went missing on January 22, 2018.   Simba’s family posted his flyer around their neighborhood and posted on local Facebook pages.  As we all know, many people still don’t know about Lost Dogs Illinois so Simba’s family did not file a report with us until January 29, 2018.  

On January 27, 2018 a person surrendered Simba as his own dog to Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) 
Copy of surrender form – dog’s name is no name with an arrow to that.
Since the dog was treated as an owner surrender, a rescue was able to transfer Simba into the
its own program the same day he was surrendered.    In our opinion, two red flags  made this owner surrender suspcious but were unfortunately ignored. First the dog did not have a name.  Second, there was no surrender questionaire done. Typically a rescue or shelter will ask questions about the dog’s medical history and behavior to help determine what he/she needs to be adopted into a new home.    It is very important that shelters and rescues ensure that owner surrenders are indeed owned by the person who is surrendering them.  Otherwise it is far too easy for someone to surrender a dog that isn’t theirs, as was the case with Simba. 

Luckily a Lost Dogs Illinois fan made the match to CACC’s Petharbor listing saying where Simba was transferred to.  Our director contacted the rescue to let them know that Simba was a loved family member who had been reported missing.   The rescue still required Simba’s family to pay an adoption fee instead of simply being able to reclaim him.   An anonymous supporter paid for Simba’s reduced adoption fee.  

There is still so much work to be done for lost and found dogs.  We need your help and cooperation!  Keep promoting Lost Dogs Illinois on the neighborhood pages so that owners and finders know that they should file a report with us!  If you know of shelters, rescues vet clinics and police departments that are not using our partner, Helping Lost Pets as a FREE centralized database to ist their impounded strays , please keep putting the pressure on them.  By gathering all of the listings in ONE place, there is a much higher chance that a match will be made quickly. 

Here is the video of Simba’s reunion with his family. Simba did not need a new home; he needed to go home to the people who love him.   I don’t think there will be a dry eye after watching this video.

Link: Simba Reunion Video

Please Send Our Open Letter to Police Chiefs and Superintendents

We would encourage you to email, mail, or drop off a copy at your local police district or headquarters. Thank you so much for your help! You, our fans, are the ones who help us to make small changes that benefit the animals and families. Don’t ever underestimate the power of one!

Dear Police Chief:

Thank you for helping reunite lost dogs with their families. As you well know, the status of dogs has progressed from the barnyard to the backyard to the home and now most dogs are considered a loved family member.

Even though the status of dogs has been elevated to loved family members, they are considered property according to state law.

Many times finders of lost pets are not doing their due diligence and keeping the pet as their own. That is theft of property as outlined in the state statute below.

(720 ILCS 5/16-2) (from Ch. 38, par. 16-2) Theft of lost or mislaid property.

It is a criminal offense and we are asking the police to help in these matters. Lost Dogs Illinois is encouraging owners to file a police report and bring their evidence of ownership to the police. Sometimes they are not taken serious at various police departments. We would like to see that change so this theft of personal property be considered as the serious offence that it is.

Thank you for taking the time to read our letter. We hope that your department will take these situations seriously and help reunite dogs with their rightful owners.

Regards,

Lost Dogs Illinois

To find out who the Police Chief/Superintendent for your city or district, contact your city government website.

 

Just a reminder….. Rescues and Animal Shelters

On January 1,2016, a new Illinois law was passed to require what is necessary if a rescue, shelter or veterinary clinic  holds a stray animal.  We also confirmed this information with Dr. Mark Ernst, State Veterinarian.

The law is Animal Welfare Section (225 ILCS 605/3.6) of the Illinois State Statutes.

Sec. 3.6. Acceptance of stray dogs and cats.
(a) No animal shelter may accept a stray dog or cat unless the animal is reported by the shelter to the animal control or law enforcement of the county in which the animal is found by the next business day. An animal shelter may accept animals from: (1) the owner of the animal where the owner signs a relinquishment form which states he or she is the owner of the animal; (2) an animal shelter licensed under this Act; or (3) an out-of-state animal control facility, rescue group, or animal shelter that is duly licensed in their state or is a not-for-profit organization.

(b) When stray dogs and cats are accepted by an animal shelter, they must be scanned for the presence of a microchip and examined for other currently-acceptable methods of identification, including, but not limited to, identification tags, tattoos, and rabies license tags. The examination for identification shall be done within 24 hours after the intake of each dog or cat. The animal shelter shall notify the owner and transfer any dog with an identified owner to the animal control or law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction in which it was found or the local animal control agency for redemption.

Definition of animal shelter:

“Animal shelter” means a facility operated, owned, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, or other non-profit organization for the purpose of providing for and promoting the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals. “Animal shelter” also means any veterinary hospital or clinic operated by a veterinarian or veterinarians licensed under the Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act of 2004 which operates for the above mentioned purpose in addition to its customary purposes.

While we understand the reasoning for this law, it still creates a maze of holding facilities for an owner to find his/her lost dog. For example:  If I lost my dog in Chicago.  I would first check City of Chicago Animal Care and Control to see if my dog has been taken there but then I find out my dog could have been taken Animal Welfare League (there are two of them), Animal Care League, Paws Chicago, even some rescues,vet clinics and police dept. hold dogs.

Our solution is to use Helping Lost Pets, a centralized database that Lost Dogs Illinois partners with.  www.HelpingLostPets.com/ORG . We recommend having a common login account that all of your staff share, allowing any of your staff to access private contact information for pet owners.

2017 Year End Celebration

Together as a community, more than 5,100 dogs were reunited with their families this past year! This is truly a community effort with our fans, LDI volunteers, staff/volunteers at shelters, rescues & animal control facilities, police departments and veterinary clinics all working together to get lost dogs home to their rightful owners.

The Lost Dogs Illinois Community Outreach program provided free microchips, ID tags and collars/harnesses/leashes to over 2,500 dogs. We also extended our outreach to Winnebago County, Lee County, McLean County and Whiteside County.

We believe in the power of compassion for both humans and animals. Your financial support is vital for LDI to continue our community outreach program to keep four legged family members with their loved ones.

Will you please consider making a gift now to help preserve the human/animal bond in 2018?
Donate here: https://goo.gl/PGcNq5

Thank you and may your generosity and kindness return to you many times for a wonderful 2018.

Where Could Your Lost Dog Be? 2017

As the year draws to a close we are going to ask you to click on this link and to look through our 2017Missing Dogs Albums one more time. or Helping Lost Pets. (If you are on a mobile phone, please search for albums or photos in the menu)  Although we have had an incredibly successful year (over 5,100 reunions so far) we have so many dogs that we are still searching for.

Where are they? In this blog post we’ll take a wild stab at our best guess (based on what we have learned over the last seven years).

A small percentage of the still missing dogs are probably sadly deceased. BUT, we do know that a body is usually found and we encourage all owners to not give up unless they have confirmed physical evidence that their dog is deceased.  By far and away, our largest single cause of death is dogs that have been hit by a car (usually when they are being called or chased by well-meaning but misinformed citizens who do not know that you should never chase or call a scared lost dog). Our next most common cause of death is being hit by a train. Scared lost dogs will use the path of least resistance, and railroad tracks often provide a convenient route of travel between their hiding places and food sources. Unfortunately, some dogs are killed when the train comes, but again, a body is almost always found.  Our third most common cause of death is drowning; either by falling through thin ice, or by making a poor decision and bolting towards a body of water.  Lost dogs that are not being chased, approached or pressured will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely.  Dogs that are being pressured or pursued will make poor decisions and may meet an untimely end.

Many people fear that their dog has been eaten or killed by coyotes. We do not find this to be common and very few of our deceased dogs have evidence of being killed by a predator.  Is it impossible? No. But dog/coyote altercations are almost always territorial (the dog is defending his yard or his territory) and scared, lost dogs are not territorial. They will defer to a larger predator.  Lost dogs simply want to survive – so they need to do three things – they will hide from predators (including man) and they will spend their time sleeping and traveling between their food sources and hiding places.   If a dog is killed by a larger predator – the body will usually be found. Predators do not tend to eat other predators and all members of the canine family are predators.

Where are the other still missing dogs? Some are still “out there” as described above. Scared and living in “survival mode”, these dogs may be rarely seen because they have become so adept at hiding and may be mostly nocturnal.  Eventually they will start to hang around one or more reliable food sources (often a farm that is leaving food out for outdoor cats).  If they are left alone they will become more domesticated and may be seen during daylight hours or even attempting to play with neighborhood dogs or farm dogs.  This is why it is SO important to continue to flyer in an ever-increasing radius of where your dog went missing from. Somebody, somewhere WILL see your dog and they need to know who to call when they do.

Some of our still missing dogs wandered far beyond their “jurisdiction”, out of the flyered area, and end up in the maze of animal sheltering and animal control. They may have been adopted to a new family or put down when their 7 day stray hold was up. These are a heartbreaker for us because the simple of act of posting pictures on line of impounded found dogs would bring most of these dogs home.  Our dedicated volunteers and fans scour the internet watching for possible matches but they cannot do this when there are no pictures available. Many Illinois shelters still do not reliably post pictures of impounded found dogs. Please ask them to do so. It is perhaps the simplest way to save lives and free up shelter space for those dogs that truly need it.

The last component (and probably the largest) are lost dogs that have been picked up by a Good Samaritan who meant well but then kept or rehomed the dog without searching for the owner.  Of course, this is illegal in Illinois, but it happens all too frequently. The current “rescue” phenomenon that is sweeping our country has kind -hearted people making false assumptions about the owners of a dog they find. They speculate that the dog has been abused, neglected or “dumped” and needs a new home. We have great success when we can get the finder to file a report with us so that we can post a flyer online.  This serves to dispel the false notion that people that have lost their dog don’t deserve him/her back.  We ask all of our fans to please spread the word to their friends, family and neighbors – Lost dogs don’t need a new home.  They just need to go home. Do not assume that you can keep a dog that you find. He/she is somebody else’s personal property and keeping him/her is illegal.

Thank you for helping us. Please take a few moments, scroll through our missing dog albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2017.