An escaped and lost pet is a very stressful time, leaving you feeling helpless and wondering what steps to take to help bring your loved one back home. AZSDR wants to equip you with the valuable information that you need, in order to help you find and bring your pet back home as soon as possible.
Remember time is of the essence!! In Maricopa County pets are considered to be personal property, and county shelters are only required by law to hold stray pets for 72 hours. After a pet’s stray hold, they can go to adoption, another rescue in or out of state, or be euthanized immediately due to space or temperament.
Check with both county shelter facilities in person, and daily; Shelter staff get busy and can make mistakes, and the only sure way to determine if your pet is at the shelter is to go in person daily. Many times photos posted online may not look like your dog due to lighting or posture of the animal due to fear; ie. Ears down instead of erect, hunchbacked, tail tucked, etc.. Also, check with local independent rescues in the area who accept stray surrenders.
Post “Lost” signs at the shelter and around the neighborhood; Make sure that the signs include a photo and are on a brightly colored paper. Post them in English and in Spanish. Be sure to post them around supermarkets, schools, gas stations, and major intersections. Speak to your local mail carrier, they are a great resources as they drive around neighbors; Leave a sign in or on your mailbox if you are unable to talk directly to them. Post a free lost dog ad on Craigslist, Petfinder, Nextdoor Community Page and in the local paper. Make a report with Maricopa County Animal Control, and add a photo and location lost on their stray animal map tool. Use our Petco partner’s website search tool to create a lost pet posting to help a finder reunite you with your lost family member at Petco LoveLost. Be sure to ask the neighborhood children if they recognize the dog – they are far more observant than adults! If you are a Facebook user, join the groups Straydar, Lost dogs of Arizona and Arizona Rescue to search those listings and post your own. Check all of these sites daily! In addition to posting on all these sites, leave your dog’s bed and some of your dirty clothes which have familiar scents for your dog; According to some research papers, dogs can sniff up scents up to 12.4 miles away under the right conditions.
Dogs can travel far; either on foot, up to 8 to 10 miles a day, or by a good Samaritan mistakenly thinking a pet is homeless and taking them to their home in hopes of re-homing them. Often times, we have seen reunions of lost animals with their families who are sometimes found in different cities, counties, and even several states away, months or years later.
HARTT (Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team) is an invaluable rescue partner and community resource that can help reunite families with their lost pets. They have extensive experience in helping find lost dogs and have created the following guidelines. If you lose your dog, we encourage you to print their document found on this link immediately and follow their steps.