The New Year has just begun and already we have been hit with people not knowing what to do when their animal escapes.
Following the correct steps can help you do the best job possible when it comes to locating your furry best friend.
Just last week we had a family that had searched frantically for their lost dog. They insisted that they called us in search of their little girl Hope.
Each call is documented and we knew that they had not called here looking for her. After Hope being gone for almost ten days they were reunited.
We kept Hope a little longer than normal due to VVHS being closed for the holidays. There were still no phone calls or visits so Hope was scheduled for adoption the very next day. We had some very happy people that day along with some very sad people.
Many people have told me that they have cut this information out and kept it in a safe place. It seems like a good idea since when we panic we forget things.
You can also call the shelter at (928) 634-7387 and we will help you with the steps for recovering your animal.
It can happen even with the greatest of care being used, a door may be left open and our furry "best friend" may decide to explore the outdoors. This experience can be just as frightening to them as it is to us.
When you realize that your pet has escaped, the normal reaction is to panic. It is very important that you calm yourself and develop your plan of action.
The first step you need to take is to call VVHS at 634-7387 (634-pets) and file a "lost pet report." If your animal comes in there is hope that the two of you will reconnect.
Also call the other shelters in the area. Animals can cover a great deal of territory in a very short time.
Sedona Humane can be reached at 282-4679 and the Prescott Pound can be reached at (928) 778-7701.
If your pet has proper identification your mission may not be quite as difficult. At VVHS we scan every animal coming in; this is where a micro chip helps in the outdoors.
If you would like to get your pet micro chipped, please call us at 634-7387 to set up an appointment. It will only take a few minutes of your time and could save you heartache in the future.
When you begin your search for your lost pet, it is important to know that if you live in the Verde Villages, that area is considered County, not Cottonwood.
Your animal may be taken to the Prescott Pound instead of VVHS. Stop at nothing, animals can cover a great distance in a short period of time.
The next thing on your agenda should be to grab a friend or a neighbor and start looking in places that your pet might be hiding.
Comb the neighborhood and surrounding areas. Take some treats or you pet's favorite toys, remember that they are just as scared as you are.
Stop and talk to everyone you see and describe your animal. How about the UPS driver and the mail carrier? They see many things as they go through the day.
Be assertive in your mission. If at all possible, take a picture of your pet with you and possibly a number where you can be reached.
Your next step should be to post "missing pet" fliers with a photo and good description of your pet. These posters should be very visible to drivers.
For safety reasons, don't put your name or address on the fliers. Just give your phone number and vicinity in which your pet was lost. Place these fliers everywhere you go.
You'd be amazed at how far a pet can go in a short period of time. One Monday morning a lady from Camp Verde came in looking for her cat.
Much to our amazement, her cat had made its way to Cottonwood after only being gone for two days. What a happy reunion that was to see.
Next you want to visit all of the shelters where you put in a missing pet report. Take a picture for the staff to see and post on the bulletin board.
Remember, staff members will do their best to help you find your animal, but it's your job to keep making the rounds to look for your animal.
Try placing an ad in the local newspapers. Withhold one or two features about your pet, so that if someone calls you, there will be a way for you to know that they have your pet.
At VVHS, more than 35 percent of all dogs that are impounded are claimed by their owners. Approximately 2 percent of cats are claimed.
How could you not know or care that your animal is missing? Why would you not look for him or her?
What would keep you from trying to find them? Let's work together and increase these figures over the next year.
Cat owners; don't assume that the coyotes got your little friend. Obviously they don't get them all. VVHS is continuously full of stray cats, just like dogs.
With approximately two percent of the cats being returned to their owners tells us that things need to change.
Please understand that VVHS does not pick up any animals. Animals are picked up by officers from local Law Enforcement Agencies or by concerned citizens.
As strange as it may sound, often animals walk right up the street and impound themselves.
A few years back we had a pair of dogs that kept escaping from their yard together. Animal Control repeatedly brought them in. The owner was very upset after about the third impound.
One day my staff members asked me to come outside because I wasn't going to believe what I was going to see.
Here they came, the same dogs running up the street to VVHS. They came right through the back gate that we opened for them.
When the owner arrived he informed us if they ever came back, they were ours to keep. We haven't seen them since that day.
When animals come into VVHS they are scanned, checked for ID tags, temperament tested and then placed outside in a clean kennel.
They are then fed, watered and vaccinated against Parvo/Distemper and Kennel Cough. Cats are also given a four-in-one shot to prevent kitty diseases.
Being vaccinated not only protects your animal, but also the animals already at VVHS. There is no way for the staff to know the shot history of stray animals. Better safe than sorry they say.
Animals then wait for five days waiting to be claimed by their owners. If they picked up in that time frame, they are brought inside and placed up for adoption.
If your animal is at VVHS, we're sorry to say that it can't be a "free service" which is sometimes thought.
Animal shelters and Humane Societies all over the U.S. have to charge for their services. It takes money to care for the animals and pay a staff.
Think about it, would you rather your lost animal be running the streets and possibly get hit by a car or attacked by another animal?
Most people are very thankful that their animal has been so well cared for.
Finding your animal is your responsibility. Be diligent in your search. Don't give up after a couple of days.
It's your job to find that lost family member. Leaving your lost pet in the shelter because it ran away is an appalling thing to do.
Walk through our doors and see how many animals have never been looked for. If you have a heart, be prepared to see one of the most astonishing things you have ever envisioned. You will see cage after cage filled with wonderful animals that no one ever claimed. It doesn't matter how long I have been here, it's something that I will never understand or become accustomed to. Please, look for your pet. You owe it to them.
Remember to visit our thrift store, the Good Buy Shoppe where you will find many treasures to please anyone in your home.
Shop, donate or volunteer at the store and you are helping the animals at VVHS. The proceeds come to help the animals at the shelter live longer than the five days they have by law.
Over the past few months we have animals adopted that have been living with us since August. This was made possible thanks to everything you do at the Good Buy Shoppe.