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What to do if your dog escapes

Tips for owners on getting their best friend back

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January 15, 2013
CUMMING, Ga. — On average, the Forsyth County Animal Shelter takes in about 100 lost or stray dogs a month, not including owner turn-ins.

Last month, about 200 dogs were turned in, with about half being owner surrenders.

In the summer months, the numbers tend to increase.

If a dog is micro-chipped, it is easily returned to its owner, but most dogs are not micro-chipped.

"It's only $45 to have your dog chipped," Angela McLeod of Crestview Animal Hospital said. "If your dog is chipped and gets out, any vet can check for the chip and contact the owner."

The dog owner can also contact the micro-chip company, who then contacts local vets via fax.

"Chipping a dog isn't major surgery, but can be uncomfortable," McLeod said. "It's best to do it when you're having your pet spayed or neutered."

McLeod also said if your pet is already spayed or neutered, your vet can give them a local sedative to provide comfort.

Don't want to chip

If you don't want to chip your dog, there are several things you can do if your dog gets loose.

Even if your dog is an inside dog, make sure it has a collar and a nametag with the pet's name and a contact number.

Immediately search the surrounding area, while someone stays home and makes pull-off phone number signs with the dog's photo.

Contact the homeowners associations and ask them to send an email to their community.

Use social networking sites such as Facebook to spread the word.

Community pages and local business pages will often post the information for their subscribers.

Contact your local animal shelter, vets and humane society with a description of your dog and contact information.

"We don't actually take dogs in, unless it's the weekend," Gidget Meade of the Forsyth County Humane Society said. "But if you contact us, we put the lost pet information into a book and will contact you if we have any information."

Meade suggests posting signs on streets in your neighborhood and at local businesses.

Make sure to check back daily with the shelter, humane society and vets in the event your dog has been found.

Keeping your dog contained at home starts at home.

Make sure doors are closed, fences are in good condition and gates are secured.

Establish family rules for keeping your pet safe and what to do if it gets out.

"When we receive calls from people who have found dogs, we encourage them to foster them until the owner is found," Meade said. "So putting signs up in places people frequent is key."

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Tags: Community & Outreach

  1. report print email
    Reuniting Pets in Shelters - Fulton has a Great Option Right Now
    January 19, 2013 | 12:32 PM

    Thanks for this article. Most pets at shelters are simply lost. A pet should have a tag AND a chip. Not all shelters have the right scanner for the exact chip and often miss them. Also it is imperative to keep the information updated on the chip with the microchip company. Craigslist is helpful in reuniting pets with owners as they have a lost and found section and it's free. Don't know if you heard about the momentous decision before Fulton County right now? They are deciding who should take over animal services. LifeLine, a long standing excellent non profit with a goal of saving all healthy and adoptable pets is the obvious choice but not to the County.We need an organization like LifeLine that will have an emphasis on reuniting pets with owners. Here are more details.

    Alison Hector
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