Lost and Found pets: What to do
Last week we had an adorable two year-old Basset Hound for a house guest. She was wandering around collarless near a busy intersection by our house in Morgan Hill. We picked her up and began the quest to find the owners.
Of course, what exactly should you do if you find an animal which you’ve determined is safe and friendly? The flyer-on-the-pole is one approach, yet there are other ways to report a lost or found pet.
1. Call your local Animal Control (the police or sheriff can redirect you) to file a found (or lost) animal report. This never initially occurred to us as we have the thought that Animal Control = Impound and Put Down. You’ll learn about jurisdictions when you call. When we called Morgan Hill Police, they first had to determine if we were in city limits or unincorporated Santa Clara County, so they could properly route our call. (Anyone who lives in those old areas near Westfield Valley Fair are technically not in San Jose, but Santa Clara County, and the same applies to parts of the South Valley).
As an aside, pets found in Morgan Hill are not necessarily able to be taken to the San Martin animal shelter, but San Jose instead. San Martin is for animals found in unincorporated areas around town. San Martin still took the report since logic would dictate that they might be the first place people would call due to its proximity.
2. Have the animal scanned by law enforcement or a vet. Many pets have a microchip implanted in their back or neck which has a serial number, which can assist in the recovery and identification of a missing pet. Unfortunately, this Basset had no chip.
3. If you are lucky enough to live near a pet groomer (we have two), take the animal in (or take a picture of it)…never know who might have a thing for a certain type of animal (I notice Dachshunds as a rule, and who is walking them).
4. Flyers and Craigslist might work, although Flyers tend to be immediate and on-the-spot.
5. See if there is a local club if you find a dog that has a clear breed association. We could tell this was a pure-bred and started looking up local dog clubs for the breed.
We were informed that technically and legally, if you maintain shelter and possession of an animal for five days, and you have taken steps to find the owner, the animal becomes yours.
After four days of caring for her (and dealing with her new found status of being ‘in-season’, heh), we were able to track down the owners by way of an e-mail address from a Mercury News web listing, which we traced to the owners’ MySpace page, something we didn’t quite expect to be the final outcome.
It was sad to see her go, as we (and our neighbors and their kids), began to consider what would happen next. Would we keep her? Would our neighbors keep her? Would we contact a local Basset club to find her a home?
Her name? Daisy. We miss her a little, but we’re happy she’s home.