Basic Search Procedures

By Debbie Hall

Leave food & water outside door normally used when walking the dog, as well as something with a familiar scent, such as the dog's blanket, crate, toy, owner's smelly shirt or used pillowcase. Try to keep items dry. Dogs may return to where they bolted from at any time, familiar place or not.

Create a FLYER with picture of dog. Post and distribute quickly.

Call surrounding towns' ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER (ACO) immediately, no matter what the hour. If necessary, leave a message. You can call a town Police Department's non-emergency number to get the name/phone number of each ACO. The ACO may be full or part time. Some towns share, big cities may have several. Ask who picks up dogs hit by cars. Get a flyer/picture to them ASAP. They need detailed descriptions. Next, get flyers to police dispatch, veterinarians, shelters & rescue groups, kennels, dog groomers/walkers/sitters, feed and farm & pet supply stores in area. Visit restaurants big/small, rubbish transfer stations or local "dump". Go to doughnut shops, convenience food stores, golf courses, amusement parks, airports, senior centers, churches, libraries, fire stations, athletic fields and junkyards. Contact the managers of Dept. of Public Works, Highway, Parks & Recreation, School Grounds, Cable, Gas and Electric companies and give them a flyer for the employees to view. Tape flyers on your vehicle while in area for maximum exposure & publicity. A brief ad with picture in local newspaper is helpful. See if local "free" paper will run an ad for you. Stay "ahead" of dog & go to homes within a 3-mile radius and hand out flyers. Skip around if necessary, but cover key areas.

Be sure to post at intersections, school districts and athletic fields. If you have time & helpers, the search area can be expanded immediately or on a "as needed" basis. It is better to talk to people in the area than to stuff a mailbox (not legal). Leave flyers on windshields, under flowerpots, in newspaper bins, etc. The newspaper carriers might help by giving flyers to their customers. Give flyers to people walking dogs, joggers/walkers, mail delivery trucks, FED EX, UPS, landscapers, construction crews and rubbish/recycling trucks.

Smile, be polite, courteous & always on a positive note. Go to search areas with flyers at different times throughout the day/evening. Make people aware that they are vital to successful lost dog search efforts. Reinforce "Do Not Chase - Call US". Tell everyone if they see flyers posted, the dog is still missing.

Reprinted with permission of Debbie Hall