Category Archives: Rescues and Shelters

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

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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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Revisit the ordinance to reduce the stray hold period for cats and dogs in Chicago

As most of our followers know, we supported and reposted the petition for Mayor Emanuel and Chicago City Council to revisit the ordinance to reduce the stray hold period for cats and dogs. We want to explain why we agree with the petition.

Last November we voiced our concerns on our Facebook page about the ordinance being passed by the budget committee. We asked our supporters to contact their aldermen and the Mayor to ask them to table it for public discussion. The next Wednesday our director attended the meeting to voice her concerns during public comments and was dismayed to find out that no public comments were allowed. The resolution was passed with 49 ayes. Alderman Pope moved to reconsider the foregoing vote. Motion was lost.

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What could have been done differently?

First of all, the Mayor and the Aldermen could have set aside the ordinance and asked the Commission of Chicago Animal Care and Control (advisory board) to research ways to increase the return-to- owner rates for Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).

Here are some ideas that other cities have adopted to increase their return-to-owners rates. (tax dollars being spent wisely)

  1. Offer a “Free Ride Home Program.” Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Washoe County (NV) have similar programs. Animal Care staff will give a pet one free ride home per year if it is wearing a City pet license. No ticket will be issued for the first time licensed pets run at large. This puts licensing in a positive light showing the benefits of what it can do for an owner and their pet.
  2. Offer free or low cost ($5.00) microchip clinics. Washoe County, Nevada offered one year of free microchips and saw a 30% increase in their return to owner rates. (Side note: CA based Found Animal Foundation offers $4.95 microchip with free lifetime registration) In a recent study of US animal shelters, 52.2% of stray dogs and 38.5% stray cats with registered microchips were reunited.
  3. ID Me programs – ASPCA study found shelters that provide engraved ID tags with collars at the time of adoption or redemption show that pet owners will keep the collar w/tags on their pets which provides instant identification.

These are just a few simple suggestions to increase a shelter’s return-to- owner rate. There are many more.

We would like to have these questions answered regarding the reduced stray hold:

  1. Where was the discussion on how this would affect hundreds of thousands of families and their loved family pets in Chicago?
  2. What are the safeguards if a family of a dog or cat of “unknown ownership” comes in after the stray hold with proof of ownership? Can they get their dog or cat back? What is the procedure?
  1. Animal Welfare League (AWL) is the one of three non-city agencies that holds animals for City of Chicago. They do not post photos of found animals. Are the animals held for 3 days at AWL and then transferred to CACC to be held for another 3 days or does the stray hold clock start clicking at AWL.
  2. Because the new ordinance states “In the event the executive director determines that an animal of unknown ownership suffers from severe behavioral issues, the executive director may allow any disposition, of the animal after three days.” What is the definition of severe behavioral issues? What are the qualifications of the person who is determining these behavioral issues?
  3. Finally, where was the public campaign to explain this ordinance to citizens who considered their pets loved family members?

Many lost pets go unclaimed because it is virtually impossible for the average citizen to figure out the “system” in Chicago and Cook County. The owners are looking, but not in the right place, they don’t know where to look and the shelters make the false assumption that the animal is a “stray” or has been “dumped”. Factor in that a large percentage of the urban population speak limited English, have limited finances, transportation and computer access. They may work two jobs or shift work, and cannot visit the stray holding facility during normal business hours. This makes it difficult for people to claim their animals. The reduced stray hold exacerbates the problem.

Again, we are asking that you continue to sign and share the petition. Please send in your questions and comments to your aldermen and the Mayor. Thank you for your support and taking the time to read our blog.

City of Chicago Aldermen

rahm.emanuel@cityofchicago.org  Mayor

@ChicagosMayor Twitter

Mayor’s Facebook Page

susana.mendoza@cityofchicago.org  City Clerk

City Clerk’s Facebook Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Top Five Reasons Shelters/Stray Holding Facilities Should Post Pictures of Lost and Found Pets on Facebook Or Their Website

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5. Shelters/stray holding facilities that post pictures and flyers of lost and found pets on Facebook or Websites generate goodwill, positive press and donations.

4. Shelters/stray holding facilities will elevate their reputation in the community from “dogcatcher” to compassionate life-savers. Since “stray” contracts are funded with taxpayer money, they will show that they are using their funds wisely.

3. Pictures and information about lost and found pets are widely shared.  This will increase a shelter’s Facebook “edgerank” making their other posts appear more frequently in their supporters newsfeeds, generating more adoptions and donations. We post a shout out on LDI’s Facebook page  if your organization is posting “found” dog pictures on your organization’s Facebook page.

2. Since an estimated 40 – 60% of animals in shelters are lost pets, proactively working to get them home by posting pictures will reduce overcrowding and disease, and free up kennel space for needier animals.

1. And the NUMBER ONE reason that shelters/stray holding facilities should post pictures of lost and found pets on Facebook and Your Website?   Because it makes reunions like this happen. Need we say more?

Pebbles & Sydney 12.2014

Reunited ~Peebles and Sydney from Chicago were reunited within seconds of their owner posting on Lost Dogs Illinois Facebook page.  One of Lost Dogs Illinois loyal fans checked Petharbor and found their listing on the website.

Thank you to all of the shelters who do post pictures and share flyers of lost and found pets on your Facebook page and Websites.  YOU are saving lives.

 

 

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Where Oh Where Could My Lost Dog be Held in Cook County?

Cook County, Illinois, population 5.2 million encompasses 1635 square miles and includes the City of Chicago, the third most populous city in the United States (2.7 million citizens).

If you assume that Cook County residents mirror the national average, then over 65% of households own a pet. With many households owning more than one pet, it can be safely 10752093_10205148870672529_1897965488_nassumed that there are potentially several million owned pets in Cook County, Illinois.

When these pets go missing, where do they go? Where are they taken? That’s where the real mystery begins.

Since dogs and cats have four legs and walk, we can safely assume that many lost pets venture outside of their local “jurisdiction”. There are over 130 municipalities (excluding Chicago) in Cook County. These municipalities have “stray holding” agreements with various facilities including shelters, vet clinics, and police departments. These facilities do not cross-communicate with each other. In fact, most of these facilities do not even post photos online of the lost pets they have impounded. It is also very common for a Good Samaritan who finds a lost pet to take it to the “wrong” facility (outside of the jurisdiction where it was found), complicating matters even further.

Many lost pets go unclaimed because it is virtually impossible for the average citizen to figure out the “system”. The owners are looking, but not in the right place and the shelters make the false assumption that the animal is a “stray” or has been “dumped”. Then factor in that a large percentage of the urban population speak limited English, have limited finances, transportation and computer access. They may work two jobs or shift work, and cannot visit the stray holding facility during normal business hours. If by a stroke of luck, a lost pet IS located, reclaim fees are often so high that the owner can not afford them. (For example, fees at Golf Rose Animal Hospital are as high $35 per night for some contracted cities).

Unfortunately, the outcome for many of these pets is death. “Pet Overpopulation” is blamed, and efforts to increase adoptions and speedy transfers to rescue groups are introduced. These pets don’t need a new home. They already have one. They need to go home.

Here is a limited sampling of some of the stray holding facilities in Cook County. If you live in any of the cities or municipalities that are not listed, please call your local non-emergency police number and ask where a stray animal is held. Then call the facility and ask if they post pictures of impounded pets on their Facebook page or website. When you have gathered this information please email it to us at lostdogsil@gmail.com so we can update our list.

City of Chicago Animal Care and Control. Found pets are posted on Petharbor but not on any social media sites. There is no proactive program in place to get lost pets back home. Owners must wait for guided group “tours” of the facility to see if they recognize their impounded pet.

Cook County Animal and Rabies Control – No facility. No listing on their website to indicate where the lost pets for the over 130 municipalities in Cook County are taken.  No database of “found” animal pictures. No pictures on social media.

Animal Welfare League holds “found” animals for the unincorporated section of Cook County and maybe other cities. No listing of which municipalities contract their services are on their website. No pictures of “found” animals on their website or Facebook page.

Golf Rose Animal Hospital is the holding facility for the following:

– Schaumburg          – Hoffman Estates

– Palatine                  – Elgin

– Barrington Hills     – South Barrington

– Arlington Heights  – Rolling Meadows

– Roselle                    – Mt. Prospect

– Carpentersville      – South Elgin (part time)

– Elk Grove Village (Emergency Medical Only)

– Certain unincorporated areas of Cook County

No pictures are posted on Golf Rose Facebook page or website. As far as we know, there are no pictures posted on any City Facebook pages.

How do we resolve the issues of Cook County’s animal control system? Please speak out 10808265_10203498734689201_1875989022_nstrongly to your local elected officials about this issue. They are our pets, and we deserve the right to know where they are being housed. Simple changes like posting “found” dogs pictures on social media/website or posting the list of stray holding facilities website can make a huge difference.

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Reuniting Lost Dogs With Their Families – How Shelters Can Help

Patty, an Animal Control Officer at Winnebago County Animal Services in Rockford , Illinois checks the kennels for dogs matching the descriptions in the Lost Dog reports.

Patty, an Animal Control Officer at Winnebago County Animal Services in Rockford , Illinois checks the kennels for dogs matching the descriptions in the Lost Dog reports.

There are more lost dogs now than there have ever been.  Pet ownership is up and we, as a nation,  are saving more dogs, with many more people choosing adoption as their option. This is a great thing but it comes with its challenges. For many people, this is their first experience owning a shy, rescued dog. These dogs are often high flight risks and can quickly escape through a door or wiggle out of an ill-fitting collar, harness or slip lead.

Searching for a shy lost dog is expensive and time-consuming. Most shelters and rescues are obliged to help search for a dog that has gone missing from a newly adopted home, a foster home, their transport or their facility. Publicly funded shelters and stray-holding facilities are also obligated to proactively return lost pets to their owners, because they are taking taxpayer money to do it. Please read our series “Harnessing the Energy” on how rescues and shelters can organize teams of volunteers to help capture a lost dog.

But unfortunately, many shelters do not proactively help reunite lost pets. The average national Return to Owner (RTO) rate for dogs is 20%, for cats – a dismal 2%.  You only have to walk down the aisle of a shelter and read the kennel cards and see how many of the animals are listed as “stray” to realize the enormity of the problem.  If shelters could get more lost pets home, it would reduce shelter deaths and save taxpayer money.

Shelters that are introducing proactive programs (often entirely volunteer-run) are seeing their Return to Owner rates rise.  Some shelters are reporting RTO rates higher than 70% for dogs.

What can a shelter do to improve their Return to Owner rate and why would they want to?

Goodwill, positive press and donations are generated when an animal control agency or shelter takes a proactive approach to reuniting lost pets with their families. Heartwarming stories and photos (easily posted on Facebook) elevate the reputation of the facility from “dog catcher” to compassionate life-savers.

A shelter typically has two windows of opportunity to help people find their lost pet.

1. When a person who has lost a pet comes in or calls to file a report.

2. When “stray” dogs and cats are picked up and impounded at the facility.

There are different levels of staff and volunteer participation that can be utilized to help facilitate more reunions. Starting with just a few simple changes can make a difference!  Animal control officers should be encouraged to do field redemptions whenever possible.  Equip animal control officers with microchip scanners and laptops or smartphones. Getting lost pets home before they even enter the shelter system lessens the workload on the kennel staff, decreases overcrowding and illness,  and reduces euthanasia.

Volunteers and staff can be trained to implement many parts of an RTO program. Here are some ideas that have been successful:

Reuniting “Owned Strays” with their owner:

  • Scan every animal that is brought to your shelter for a microchip using “Best Microchip Procedures”.
  • Keep detailed records about where and when an animal was picked up and make this information available to the public.
  • Use a dedicated email address for lost and found reports. This will help keep these reports separate and out of the general email stream.  example: lostpets@abcanimalshelter.com
  • Keep detailed records of calls your facility receives from people who have lost a pet. Use an online reporting system also, so they can fill it out after hours. Request that they email or fax a picture and show the photo to your staff members and volunteers immediately after you receive them.
  • Have volunteers or staff members compare lost pet reports with the animals your facility is holding to see if any match. Store the reports and photos in a binder that is easily accessible to staff and volunteers.
  • Depending on volume, either set up a dedicated Facebook page or use albums on your  regular Facebook page to post pictures of lost pets that were brought to your facility. Allow the public to post as well.  Facebook allows other people to share the posts and many times reunions happen because a neighbor or friend recognizes the dog.  Websites are usually only viewed by the owner.  It is easy to train volunteers to maintain and moderate a Facebook page.
  • Set up an account with Helping Lost Pets.com, an international, map-based website that makes it easy for staff, owners, finders of dogs, volunteers and the general public to get involved in matching lost dogs with their owners. Here is an article on the HeLP system: http://lostdogsofamerica.org/helping-lost-pets-provides-one-national-website-for-all-missing-pets/
  • Post the same pictures on your website for those people that don’t have a Facebook account. Using the Helping Lost pets system will provide a “shareable” link to the photos to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Use a volunteer “greeter” that can help people that enter the facility looking for their pet.  This will lessen the workload of the front office staff. This volunteer should know what the requirements are and be able to easily communicate this with an owner (eg. proof of ownership, vaccination records). Have these printed out in both English and Spanish to give to the owners so lost pets can be reclaimed as quickly as possible.  Many pets are “abandoned at the shelter” because the reclaim fees are too high.  You always want to facilitate fast reunions to reduce this abandonment.
  • Negotiate and lower fees to reduce abandonment at the shelter. Authorize front desk staff members to negotiate fees. Many owners are embarrassed to ask or don’t know that the shelter will negotiate. Make it easy to reclaim a lost pet.
  • Have volunteers monitor other internet and community lost pets listings including Craigslist, community newspapers, Facebook pages and websites.
  • Trained volunteers can track down the owners of impounded pets with disconnected phone numbers or lacking current microchip information. Here is an article that will help: https://www.lostdogsillinois.org/how-to-trace-dead-end-microchips-and-tag-information-on-found-pets/
  • Mention whether a dog that is adoptable or impounded was brought to your shelter as a surrender or a stray.
  • Scan every animal in your shelter one last time before allowing him or her to be adopted or euthanized.

If the owner’s lost pet is not at the shelter, compassionate, customer-service oriented volunteers can be trained to assist the owner by doing the following things.  Extra assistance may be needed for elderly owners; owners without internet, computers or transportation; and those owners for whom English is a second language.

  • Assist the owner in filling out a lost pet report form. Explain to them how to “red flag” their missing pet with the microchip company and/or update information if it isn’t already done.
  • Provide them with our 5 Things Flyer in either English or Spanish. The 5 Things Flyers is good for both dogs and cats.
  • Provide them with an Lost Dogs Illinois business card if it is a dog. Our website has a lot of valuable information that can help them find their dog.  If it is a cat – provide them with the link to any Lost Cats or Lost Pets Facebook pages in your area as well as the catsinthebag.org and missingpetpartnership.org websites.
  • If they already have a flyer made – post it on the shelter bulletin board. Volunteers should keep the bulletin board tidy and up to date.  Date each flyer and then call owners after a certain number of days to do follow up and provide more support and assistance.
  • Develop a “pet detective” team  that can help owners  develop a strategic plan for finding their lost pets based on the circumstances regarding their disappearance, their breed, location, etc.
  • Provide trap rentals for the public.  Here is a series of articles on trapping: https://www.lostdogsillinois.org/humane-trapping-before-you-begin-part-9-in-a-series-2/

Shelters should be willing to dedicate a portion of their website to helpful advice for missing pets. May people lose their pets late at night and frantically look for information on the internet to help them with their search. Providing links to good information on your website will work for you even when your staff is busy or the office is closed. You will appear to be a “helpful” resource in the community even if people only accessed the information via your website.

At Lost Dogs Illinois, we are committed to helping reunite people with their lost dogs. Together with the help of shelters and stray-holding facilities we can make a difference. Please contact us at lostdogsil@gmail.com if we can be of assistance to offer training to shelter staff and/or volunteers. We have numerous power points for all components of our volunteer training that we would be happy to present.We would love to hear from you!

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Using Facebook to Maximum Potential

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Lost Dogs Illinois was designed to help individual owners and finders of dogs who are keeping them in their homes while looking for the dog’s owner. We provide  postings, a website, tips and suggestions to help happy reunions happen. We are thrilled that the idea has taken off and has become so successful. We are often asked if we can post pictures of “strays” in shelters, veterinarian clinics, police departments  or other animal control or stray holding facilities. We would love to accommodate them all; but unfortunately this would defeat our purpose. When we “overpost” Facebook has a sneaky way of hiding our posts in our fan’s newsfeeds. This would also overwhelm our volunteers who generously give of their time to help lost dogs.

Instead, we encourage every shelter, vet clinic, police department or other agency that holds “strays” to develop their own Facebook page to help lost pets in their community. We will gladly share the link to the page and feature it on our website. We truly believe that with today’s technology and social media availability that it is the ethical responsibility of every animal control and stray holding facility in America to make sure that they are using all of the tools available to get lost pets back to their owners. Reuniting lost pets frees up kennel space for the truly needy animals and saves lives.

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