You Found A Loose Dog
Assess the situation. Use common sense. If you are not comfortable approaching the dog or the dog will not come to you, call animal control immediately and monitor its movement from a distance. Again it is vital that you do not chase or call out to the dog. If you determine that the dog appears to be calm and approachable do so slowly and with caution. Sometimes a lost dog will approach if you are low or on the ground with an enticement such as treats or a toy. Always use a calm reassuring voice. Avoid direct eye contact, lunging towards the dog, and sudden movement as the dog can perceive these actions as threatening behavior. Be patient. It may take the dog some time before it feels comfortable coming to you. When the dog is close enough, gently try to attach a leash or use a slip lead. This will help keep the dog secure with you.
Call Animal Control. Many people do not realize that it is a state law that you report a found dog to local authorities. Often lost pet owners will call animal control to report their dog missing and see if their pet was brought into them. Animal Control can scan for a microchip and keep the dog safe while the owner is being located. In Connecticut Animal Control is required to post found dogs for 7 days giving the owner a chance to come and claim their dog. If the dog remains unclaimed after the 7-day “hold” the dog can go up for adoption.
Keep the found dog Secure and Safe. While you are waiting for Animal Control isolate the found dog from your children and other pets. At this point you do not know this dog and how it will react to a variety of situations. For the safety of your two and four footed family members, and the found dog's welfare, be sure to contain the found dog in its own space.
Help find the owner. DGR has a few suggestions on how to help get the dog reunited with its owner.
- Check to see if the dog is wearing any identifiable information on the collar or tags. Rabies tags can be traced back to the owner by contacting the veterinary office stamped on the tag and number associated with it.
- Take a picture of the dog and print off a few 8x10 pictures. You can use these to make a few found posters and flyers.
- Make a large bright neon colored FOUND DOG poster. In BIG BOLD lettering write Found Dog at the top. Next place the 8 x 10 picture in a sheet protector and seal it to the poster with packing tape. On the bottom of the poster write At Animal Control. Next place this poster in the area you found the dog. It is possible that the owner may be out looking for the dog and see your sign. Furthermore, it is helpful if you can place posters at the nearest intersections and staple them to telephone poles where there are stop signs or traffic lights. (Check to be sure the town allows posters stapled to the telephone poles first.)
- You can post a picture of the found dog on different social media sites. Search for local Animal Control and community, and Lost and Found Pet groups in your area’s Facebook pages. You can also post on Craig’s list in the community Lost and Found and Pet sections. Additionally, there might be community online pages such as The Patch.
- You can search these social media sites for any lost dog postings and compare them to the dog you found. If you think you may have found someone's dog call them and let them know Animal Control has their dog.
Were you able to reunite the dog with its owner? If so DGR would like to Congratulate you. That was such a FANTASTIC thing you did and we can’t THANK YOU enough! More than likely you become a hero in the family’s eyes when they received the call that you found their dog. Additionally, you helped get a loose dog off the streets where it could be suffering and become a danger to itself and others. Finding the owner also helps keep one more dog from needlessly spending excess time in a shelter or rescue.
For every person that finds or sees a dog running loose in your yard or your neighborhood please think, lost not abandoned, and not a stray. Even though the dog may look disheveled, unkempt, injured, thin, hungry and/or appear frightened or aggressive it does not necessarily mean the dog was abused or dumped. It does not take long for a dog’s appearance and behavior to change dramatically when a dog is on the run. This very well could be someone’s pet who is loved and is missed dearly. The best thing to do is try to keep the dog safe until it is captured and attempt to help reunite the dog with its owner.
When you see a lost dog it is vital you don’t chase after it. There is a high probability that the dog may become frightened and run from you possibly into traffic. On the other hand, a frightened dog could even try to attack you. DGR volunteers recommend the following steps if you happen to see any dog loose in an area.