Getting the word out to citizens and rescuers in the area that your dog or cat is lost is critical. Missing Pet Partnership’s web site has great instructions on how to create large, neon REWARD LOST DOG or REWARD LOST CAT posters. The size of the poster and neon color capture the attention of people who may not notice smaller (letter-size) flyers. For specific instructions and photographs, click here.
In some cases, you might even want to stand on a street corner at a busy intersection holding up large neon posters to capture the attention of people and spread the word that your dog is lost. This technique is called an “Intersection Alert.” Not only are you making people aware that a dog is missing, but you are also conveying how much your dog means to the owner, and how motivated they are to get their dog home. Generally speaking, people want to be helpful, but they are more likely to offer help when they see all of the effort that is being put into the recovery effort.
To conduct a successful intersection alert, you will want to schedule a group of volunteers, family, and friends to help you for several hours, make 4 to 10 large, neon signs and hundreds of 8.5″ x 11″ flyers (handouts), choose an intersection location and time based on local traffic and based on the circumstances of the dog’s disappearance, and be sure to conduct your intersection alert in a safe manner. If you have lots of people who want to help, then you can spread them out in groups of four to eight at strategic intersections. With more people, it may be handy to stay in touch with two way radios, but at least make sure everyone has each other’s cell phone numbers.
Each two person team should set up facing a lane of travel, near the stop sign or stop light. Have one person hold the sign so people can read it – you may wish to slowly rotate the sign as people roll up to the stop light so they can see it most easily. If someone rolls down their window, the second person should hand them a flyer, providedyou can do so without disrupting traffic or putting yourself at risk.
Most people won’t have specific tips on your dog, but they will take the flyers home and call you if they see something. At most Intersection Alerts, you will get a few leads. Ideally, someone has your dog, and they can lead you right to him.
Intersection Alerts work well for dogs is that dogs travel farther, they are noticed by people, and they are picked up and “rescued” by people who often tell friends and family about the “abandoned” dog they found.
Missing Pet Partnership highly recommends the Tru-Catch brand of humane traps (the brown trap shown on the right – which is the size “30D” and fits small cats like this 10 pound gray tabby). Order the size “36D” if your cat is larger). Compared to other traps (like the one on the left) which close loudly when shut, the Tru-Catch is much quieter and is less likely to panic a cat when initially trapped. Most likely, you won’t find these traps at the local hardware store but you can order them on-line at www.trucatchtraps.com.
If you have a second dog who your missing dog is familiar and friendly with, take that dog with you but keep him on a long leash. If you come across your panicked lost dog, it is very possible that you can use your friendly happy dog to attract and capture the panicked dog. Missing Pet Partnership has used this technique of a “magnet dog” along with a device called a slip lead or “Snappy Snare” to capture panicked dogs.
Wildlife Cameras and Feeding Stations
Missing Pet Partnership recommends the use of digital wildlife cameras combined with feeding stations, especially in cases where a cat is displaced in an apartment complex where there are zillions of cats, in areas where there are many raccoons, or in other situations where a humane trap would be difficult to use. The concept is setting out food with a wildlife camera that will snap photos of all the animals that eat that food so that when you come back the next morning, you can pull the SD card, put it in your computer, and see photos of raccoon, raccoon, raccoon, cat! From that point you could work to strategically humanely trap your cat while avoiding other wildlife and other cats. Missing Pet Partnership recommends infrared cameras that do not flash (because then no one sees them and they are not likely to be stolen). Missing Pet Partnership uses Moultrie Spy 40 Game cameras, but there are many brands and models out there.