Pet I.D. Day: What To Do If You Find A Lost Dog

A dog in an animal shelter, waiting for a home

It’s Pet I.D. Day and in lieu of talking about the importance of name tags and micro-chipping, we wanted to take a peek on the other side of the fence and talk about lost dogs.

It’s every pet parents worst fear and the dog lover in all of us has that moment where our heart sinks when we see a loose dog out and about, but what do you do?

We consulted the experts, our friends at the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society (GPAAS), who deal with this every single day! GPAAS Director, Corinne Martin, says it’s important to remember that each state has it’s own laws regarding stray/lost dogs, but here’s a few things to remember based on laws for the State of Michigan:

If you find a lost dog, DON’T do the following:

  • Don’t bring it home, give it someone else or to a “rescue”-Dogs are considered personal property in Michigan, this mean it’s NOT LEGAL to bring the dog home or give it to someone else.
  • Don’t try to chase a dog-this can be scary for the dog and could cause them danger, especially in high traffic area.
  • Don’t back a dog into a corner-If you think you have a chance of “catching” a loose dog, do not back it into a corner. A fearful dog is the most likely to bite and if he’s trapped in a corner, you’ve eliminated his options to deal with his fear.

If you find a lost dog, DO the following:

  • Immediately contact the police department in which you find the dog-Each police department has a procedure in place for their city. They may ask you to bring the dog to the police department, bring it to the animal shelter for that city or return it to the owner (if there’s a missing dog report).
  • If possible, getting the dog into a securely fenced yard is the best, and safest option: while it’s not always possible, if you’re able to contain the dog in a fenced in yard it can keep you and the dog safe until the authorities can arrive.
  • Be as observant as possible-Even if you can’t get close enough to the dog to get it to safety, any visible information you can collect can be valuable and help reunite the dog with its owner.
  • Post on social media sites such as “For The Love Of Louie” and “Craigstlist” to inform the owner which shelter they can look for their dog at. The licensed shelter will require valid proof of ownership in order to claim the dog.

If you’re a dog owner, DO:

  • Make sure your dogs i.d. tags are visible/secure on your dogs collar and up to date with your correct contact information.
  • Register your dogs microchip! A micro-chip is NOT a GPS tracker, if you don’t register your dogs unique i.d. from his chip in your chips data base, your information will not come up when the finder scans your dog for a micro-chip; making it useless!
  • Contact your local police department first if you lose a dog-Police departments have missing dog reports, which help keep a trail of paperwork between police departments, licensed shelter groups, etc. Your local police department has many connections for getting your dog home safe, so don’t underestimate the importance of informing them.

If you’re looking to add to your four legged family, check out the adoptable pets available through our friends at the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society.

Special thanks to Shelter Director, Corinne Martin for her valuable insight on this important topic!

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