If you lose a pet....Act immediately!
Found animals are to be taken to Madera County Animal Control. If you lose a pet, go to Madera County Animal Control Shelter at 14269 Rd. 28, Madera CA 93638 to look for your pet and file a lost pet report. Please take a picture of your lost pet. To get directions to the shelter, call (559) 675-7891.
Utilize Lost and Found pages on Facebook. All Mountain Cat Connection and Mountain Dog Watch are good sources. Be sure to provide a photo of the lost or found pet if possible.
Don't just call....
Your description of your pet may not match theirs.
Be sure to check the 'found cat/dog book' that is at the admissions desk The 'found cat/dog book' is a listing of pets that have been found, but are not being brought to the shelter. Stray dogs and cats brought to the animal shelter are held for a minimum of 3 full days. If an animal is not claimed, they are evaluated for adoption. Please visit the shelter, since their description may not match yours.
Do not assume that your animal still has its tags on. Finding your pet is your responsibility.
The Madera County Animal Shelter is responsible for all stray animals within Madera County.
Posters! Posters! Posters!
Place posters everywhere!! Make the posters as visible as possible. At first, begin closest to the last known location of the pet, and work outward, targeting a two mile radius of the area for dogs, and a 4-5 block radius for cats. Dogs tend to circle back to the area, cats tend to stay close to home. If necessary, expand the poster area outward. If possible, work in teams of two people, one to drive and the other to post the flyers. Go door-to-door with the posters. Use repetition, posting a series of signs to arouse people's curiosity. When approaching a traffic light, place the posters on the 4-5 telephone polls leading up to the traffic light. Use a map of your area to mark the location of where the posters were placed to avoid unnecessarily doubling back on the area. Include a picture of your pet: (this is important) if you do not have a picture, use a drawing or a picture from a book, magazine or pet food box. Include a brief description: give size in weight, rather than small, medium or large, and provide familiar landmarks near which your pet was lost, along with cross streets.
When offering a reward
The words REWARD and LOST CAT/DOG should be placed prominently on the flyer. Remember, the more posters you use, the better your chances are of recovering your pet.
Community Bulletin Boards
There are many community bulletin boards, e.g. pizza places, churches, barber/beauty shops, community and senior centers, gas stations, feed stores, laundromats, groomers, dental and medical offices, and veterinarians. Place the flyers where anyone has a moment to notice what is posted on the wall. e.g., when someone is waiting for their change, laundry, or for service. Remember to send flyers to all veterinarians and shelters within a 30 mile radius of where the pet was lost. You want to make it easy for someone if they do find your pet, to find you.
Try to attract your pet back home
Place articles with a strong scent of either yourself or the pet outdoors. We suggest the cat's litter box, bedding or clothing that you have been exercising or cooking in. Change the article every few days to maintain a fresh scent. If your pet has been sighted in an area, go to that location and leave something there with your scent on it, along with a flyer. Only put out a small amount of food, (you want your pet to remain hungry so they will come back to where the food is). Please remember to also put out water. Try to attract the pet back to your home, and make it easy for the pet to gain entry into the house.
Talk to people in the neighborhood
The mail delivery and trash collection people, those walking their dogs, delivery people, children, community volunteers, (e.g., meals on wheels), dads and moms waiting for their children to get on the school bus may see your pet. Let people know you are looking for a lost pet and inquire who in the neighborhood feeds stray animals. Ask people, "Will you help me find my pet?." and try to place the flyers in their hands. Your audience is everyone.
Place advertisements in the local paper
Please continue to check the FOUND ads in the newspaper. Depending on the newspaper, these found ads will only be printed one week.There are many local sites on social media to check, as well. It is not unusual for pets to be found after 5-6 weeks...it seems like forever but don't give up. And...we believe your furry friend is less likely to wander if they are spayed or neutered.
Looking for your pet
Stay in one area, shake a box of food. If you are going to walk around the neighborhood, check storage sheds, garages, and dumpsters. Also walk around on trash night. Please remember to bring a strong flashlight. We find the early morning hours are the best time to look for a pet (cats are nocturnal). The streets are quiet and your voice will carry farther. With lost dogs, start searching the area going into the wind. Most dogs will search out food or a mate. They may be trying to pick up the scent of the owner, or to track the owner back to their home. Missing cats that are strictly indoor pets have a tendency to hide in closed in areas, e.g., under porches, under decks, crawl spaces, window wells, and small storage sheds. They have a tendency to be close to home but can hide very well. Consider renting a cat trap from a feed store, or veterinarian to help with the return of these pets.
Check all local veterinarians
Check all the veterinarians within a 30-mile radius and the veterinary emergency hospitals. Sometimes people will take a stray pet to the veterinarian before allowing this pet to have contact with their other pets.
Change the message on your answering machine. Include in the new message that the caller has reached the correct number concerning the lost pet, e.g., "Yes we are looking for a lost dog, please leave any information concerning this pet."
Look at animals that have been found
Go to the Madera County Animal Shelter to look at any animal that the description may resemble yours. Your description of your pet may not match theirs.
When your pet is returned
Remove all (yes, all) of the posters, and notify the shelter that your pet has been returned.
Take your pet for a vet-check. Examine for fleas, ticks, lice, intestinal worms, (heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms) discharge from eyes or the nose, and distress from eating or drinking questionable food or water.
Consider having a mircochip inserted. A small microchip is permanently placed between the shoulder blades of your pet and is coded with an I.D. number. The EMCSPCA offers low cost microchipping at Animal Hospital of the Sierra (formerly Hoof n Paw) in Oakhurst. The fee is $25 which includes lifetime registration. Call Animal Hospital of the Sierra at 559-683-3313 to make sure a technician is available to insert the chip.
Call the EMCSPCA
The EMCSPCA often receives calls about found pets. Call the EMCSPCA voice mail line at (559) 683-1266 and leave a description of your pet and when and where it was lost along with your contact information.
If you find a pet.....follow similar procedures with calls, posters, free ad in the Sierra Star. Post on social media. Have the dog or cat checked for a microchip at any veterinary hospital.