May 27, 2021

What to Do if You Lose or Find a Pet

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Did you know HSPPR took in more than 9,000 lost and stray pets last year alone?

We know losing your pet can be scary, but we want to make sure you have the resources you need to get your pet back as soon as possible. As a socially conscious shelter, we believe pets and people are better together. Plus, we never want an animal in our shelter if he or she already has a loving home. We reunited almost 4,000 lost pets with their families last year, and we want that number to be even higher this year! Here’s everything YOU need to know about Lost & Found at HSPPR.

How to prevent your pet from getting lost in the first place!

Keep an ID and a current pet license on your pet’s collar whenever possible, and make sure your pet is microchipped. With this trifecta of identification, your pet’s finder should have no trouble getting your pet back to you in no time!

Keep your pet on a leash – yes, cats too! Not only is it the law in many parts of the cities we serve, but by having your pets on a leash every time they are outdoors, you’ll be able to keep them safe and ensure they don’t run off.

If your pet is microchipped, make sure your contact information is up-to-date with the microchip registry. Many people change their phone number or move and forget to update their pet’s microchip information.

I’ve lost my pet! Now what?

Complete an online lost report immediately. This is to make sure your pet’s information is searchable in our system and alerts our staff, so we can begin searching for your pet immediately. People who have found an animal also look at these reports to see if one of them matches the pet they’ve found. Completing a lost report every 10 days while your pet is missing will refresh your lost report in search results.

Come to the shelter to look through our kennels every few days. We do our best to match lost reports with animals coming into the shelter. But dozens of pets come through our doors every day. It is you who knows your animal best and can identify them the fastest. Check in with our Lost & Found team when you arrive at the shelter so they can assist you with your search!

Review our online listing of stray animals daily. You can view animals currently at the shelter, as well as found reports from people keeping stray animals in their home using the links on our lost pet page. We do our best to ensure our listings are up-to-date. But pet owners are still highly encouraged to come look through the kennels at the shelter in person at least every three days – you should not rely solely on the online lost report.

Unfortunately, some pets that come to us are deceased. In order to help provide closure for pet owners searching for their missing pet, we keep a list of deceased pets received at our facility available here. Please know this is not necessarily a comprehensive list; this list only includes deceased pets that end up at an HSPPR facility. This list is typically updated daily, Monday – Friday.

Use community resources. Time is critical when your pet goes missing. It is imperative you begin a search immediately, and there are many online options for lost and found help, including the local Colorado Springs Lost Pet Alert Facebook page, Petco Love Lost, Nextdoor, and Craigslist.

I’ve found a pet. What’s next?

Don’t KITnap! When it comes to finding a litter of kittens, sometimes you can help them by NOT taking action. Mother cats don’t often abandon their kittens, but they will leave them to search for food or to find a more suitable location to move the family. If the kittens are not in any obvious danger and appear cozy and clean, simply leave the area. Don’t hide nearby because the mother cat can still smell or notice your presence. Check back in a few hours to see if the kittens have been moved and/or the mother has returned. Keep in mind that kittens have the best chance of survival with their mother. If they look healthy and well cared for, leave them for the mother cat to raise.

Bring the animal to the shelter. If the animal is safe to transport, you can bring him/her to the shelter. HSPPR does its best to match lost reports with animals coming into the shelter during their stray waiting period, which is 3-5 days.

Call us to pick up the animal. We’re here to help. Often, the animal you find may be unsafe to bring into your home or transport to the shelter. Or, maybe you’ve found an injured pet and don’t want to risk moving them. In these instances, call 719.473.1741, and we can dispatch an Animal Law Enforcement officer to your address. Due to local ordinances, we are unable to pick up stray cats and cannot pick up stray dogs outside of the city limits of Colorado Springs, Fountain, or Monument.

Temporarily care for the pet in your home. Please be sure to file a found report immediately, which remains active for 5 days. If the animal is wearing a license or rabies tag, we may be able to trace the owner. You may also take a lost pet to a local veterinarian or to HSPPR to have him scanned for a microchip. In addition to completing the found report, we suggest you check with neighbors and area veterinarians, hang signs in the neighborhood, place ads in local papers, and post notices on social media sites such as Facebook, Nextdoor, and Craigslist.

We’re dedicated to reuniting stray pets with their owners. We know that losing a pet is never easy, so follow the tips above to ensure the best chance of finding your pet!