The heartbreak of a missing pet is just another burden for those affected by the tragic floods. There are hundreds of people who are desperate to locate lost pets and also many people who have found pets they wish to reunite with their owners. These tasks are made more difficult for many flood victims because they face a lack of access to resources such as pet-related documentation or even a car to assist with the search.
I urge people to make contact with the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and local council pounds as well as making full use of the web, including Facebook and Twitter, to spread information.
Locating a lost pet
Collate your pet’s details. It sounds obvious, but it is vital to have an accurate description of your pet including the breed, type, sex, colour, coat length, size, age, collar type and colour, the details engraved on the tag it was wearing, council registration details and micro-chip number. Also include any distinguishing features such as ears being pricked or floppy, tail being curled or docked, nose being long and pointy or short and rounded – the more detailed information you can provide the better. Shelter and pound staff indicate that owner descriptions of dogs and cats often bear little resemblance to how the pets actually look so getting this information right is vital. If you are able to provide a recent photo of your pet, this will also assist in identifying it.
Is your pet micro-chipped? If so, contact the organisation that your pet is listed with and let them know your pet is missing. Make sure they have your up to date contact details. There are five organisations that hold micro-chip records for pets registered in Queensland, so if you are not sure which one your pet is listed with, you may need to contact them all.
· Central Animal Records, http://www.car.com.au/, 03 9706 3187
· Australasian Animal Registry, http://www.aar.org.au/index.html, 02 9704 1450
· National Pet Register, http://www.petregister.com.au/, 1300 734 738
· Petsafe, http://www.petsafe.com.au/, 02 8850 6800
· Homesafe ID, http://www.homesafeid.com/Index.cfm, 1300 537 140
If you know the micro-chip number but not the company, go to www.petaddress.com.au and enter the number, you will be advised which organisation you are with.
List your pet with RSPCA Queensland Lost and Found service: 1300 363 736, 07 3426 9999 or rspcaqld
Contact the Council pound in your own municipality and in areas where you think your pet may be. If possible, ring the pounds every day and visit as often as you can as it may not be possible for the pound to contact you if your pet is not able to be identified by registration tags or a micro-chip.
Contact veterinary clinics in your area and surrounding areas – many displaced pets are currently being cared for in veterinary hospitals.
Use Social Media - Use Twitter, Facebook etc
List your pet on this website Queensland flood animals
Search your neighbourhood and talk to as many people as possible. Pets may stay hidden if they are frightened or injured, so carry a torch to check in dark areas. Check yards, sheds and areas that are out of the way.
Widen your search with a “flyer” that can be placed in public areas. It should include a description of your pet, a recent photo, your contact details and the date. Photocopy and distribute this as widely as possible: letterboxes, local shops, schools, supermarket notice boards, vet clinics, animal welfare shelters and council pounds. Keep one identifying characteristic, such as a marking on your pet, private so that if someone rings you can quickly check whether the pet is yours or not.
Place advertisements in Lost and Found in the local newspapers, including papers in major cities, and check the Found sections daily. Another good option is the web, there are a number of sites that have been set up including the Facebook page “Animals lost and found in Qld Floods”. Phone breed clubs of your breed as they often ‘rescue’ dogs of their particular breed from vets and pounds.
Phone radio stations as many will be happy to help the community at this difficult time.
Have you found a lost pet?
Keep the animal secure and take it to an animal shelter or vet as soon as possible so it can be scanned for a micro-chip. If the animal is micro-chipped the owners will be contacted so they can be reunited with their pet.
List the pet with RSPCA Qld Lost and Found service: 1300 363 736, 07 3426 9999 or www.rspcaqld.org.au.
Notify Councils in your area that you have found a pet. If you are unable to care for the animal temporarily, they may be able hold the pet at their pound or shelter.
List the pet on this website Queensland Flood Animals
the Animals Lost and Found Facebook Page
Place a Found notice in local papers or post information on web sites specifically set up for the floods.