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"The question is not
'Can they reason?',
nor 'Can they talk?',
but rather, 'Can they suffer?'"

Jeremy Bentham, English Philosopher

<< Click Here for a Listing of Animals in our Lost & Found Dept >>

Contrary to popular belief, animals don't always return home when they become hungry. The sad truth is that every year in this province, thousands of pets become lost; many are never seen again (at least not alive).

Animals can be curious creatures, and sometimes curiosity can lead them far from home - too far to find their way back. Some die from extreme temperatures, starvation, or injuries (or a combination of these); some are picked up by animal shelters and 'put to sleep' if no one arrives to claim or adopt them after a certain amount of time (usually 3 to 7 days). What could be more heartbreaking than the thought of this happening to your animal friend? Animals euthanized at animal shelters are sometimes owned by people who think they should give Fluffy some time to find his own way home - this is a major mistake! Don't wait. Most animals, if they are able, will return home within a few hours of leaving the house. If your pet is overdue, we advise that you follow the directions below. For a list of emergency numbers, please click here.

It is important to spay or neuter your pets!
Many animals 'stray' because they are not spayed or neutered. It is estimated that up to 70% of unneutered cats become lost at some point. The instinct to mate is powerful - make sure it isn’t also fatal to your pet. Responsible pet owners ensure that spaying or neutering is a top priority when a pet joins the family.

First, call the shelters in your area, and then call the ones that are farther away - animals have been known to travel long distances. Be prepared to give a detailed description of your pet to the shelter worker who answers the phone.

VETERINARIANS Call all veterinary clinics in your locality: your pet may have been injured or killed and brought to any one of them. Most vets keep a list of missing and found animals, so if your pet hasn't been brought in yet, be sure to leave a detailed description.

Note: Don't just call the vets in your immediate area - your pet may have wandered out of your area and been injured, or if someone hits your pet with their car they may choose to take the animal to their veterinarian, which might be some distance from where you live.

Knock on your neighbours’ doors and ask if they have seen your pet. Be sure to inquire if they have a shed or anything else on their property in or under which your pet may have gotten trapped. (This is particularly important in winter because the entrance your pet used may have become blocked by snow.) If your neighbour isn't in when you call, leave a flyer in the mailbox (for tips on flyers continue reading).

Most radio stations broadcast descriptions of lost and found animals several times a day as a public service. Someone who is not familiar with the shelters (yes, there are still people who aren't aware that shelters exist), but who listens to the radio may have found your pet.

Distribute flyers throughout your neighbourhood that contain a detailed description of your pet (and a picture, if possible) and the date that the animal went missing. Also, ask that people check their property, especially places that your pet might have become trapped in or under, such as greenhouses and sheds. It is a wise idea to offer a reward for the safe return of your pet. You should leave a flyer with all the shelters and veterinarians; they have bulletin boards and a high traffic-flow of animal lovers -one of them may have spotted your pet!

If you can afford it, take out ads in local newspapers and magazines. Ads should contain the same information as the flyers. Although there are no guarantees, following this advice will increase the chances of being reunited with your furry friend.

Note: If your pet comes home, remember to tell everyone whom you notified of the animal’s disappearance—and don’t forget to take down those flyers!

Do everything that is listed in the 'Lost' section. As with people who have lost animals, we encourage people who have found animals (and we commend you for helping them!) to report them immediately. Sometimes people think that because the animal they've found is dirty, timid or underweight he or she must have been abused by the owner and doesn't deserve to be returned. However, the animal may very well just look that way because he or she has been lost for quite awhile; there is probably a family out there missing their pet terribly. So, no matter what the condition of the animal, we urge you to call.

Sometimes people are reluctant to report an animal they've found to a city animal shelter or others that euthanize animals; they think that if they call, the shelter will come and pick up the animal and destroy him or her if the owners don’t show up or a new home can’t be found. This isn't true: they won't pick up the animal unless you request it. If you don’t call, you're greatly reducing the chances that the animal will be reunited with his or her family. The first thing most people do when their pet is missing is call the shelters.

If you can, please foster the animal until he or she is reunited with his or her owner or a new home is found, so that the shelters can save space for animals who really need it.

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