Let’s Define The Word
When you find a stray dog and they will not come to you willingly, do not whistle, or call for them, or chase with your car. These actions are considered to be “chasing.” A stray dog or even owned dog can go into a survival mode and any of the above actions could cause the dog to run away, potentially into oncoming traffic.
Instead, try to take a photo and note gender, general size, coloring, the time of day, and any major cross streets where the dog was last seen.
Report any siting to social media outlets, a few are listed below:
Total Rescued Dogs
Total Rescued Cats
Total Other rescued Animals
Found A Dog.
Meaning You Have Them In Your Possession.
Take the time to make a “Found” report on all social media outlets, in addition, please fill out a report on the following sites. If possible provide a clear photo of the dog to attach with the report. DO NOT show collars, harnesses, leashes, or any unusual marks. This way you can require those claiming to be the owner to identify these. You may also require them to provide pictures/videos and vet records for the safety of the animal.
Another great way to help is to take the dog to a local animal shelter, pet store, or veterinary hospital, where they can have the dog scanned for a microchip. Generally, this is a free service.
If a chip is found, the chip company will contact the owner directly or may provide you with the owner’s contact information. If the chip company is able to get in contact with the owner, the owner will in return contact you to reclaim the dog. Sometimes the chip company provides you with the owner’s contact information, then you can make arrangements for the dog to be claimed. Always require that those claiming to be the owner provide some type of proof of ownership (ID that matches the chip registration) for the safety of the animal.
If you are unable to hold for the entire duration of the country required stray hold (Marion County has a 14 day – Section 531-208, Other counties may differ) and no chip found, please surrender to a trusted local shelter so that the owners still may have the best chance of finding the dog. Next, take the time to update your online posts to let everyone know where they have been taken. In Indianapolis, you can also make a report via Request Indy and the report will go directly to the animal control officer on duty.
If you have the ability to hold until owners are found, you must contact your local city shelter. Then you must make a found report, this is so that it shows on record. Additionally, you must also retain possession of your county’s required stray hold. You may also find it helpful to make reports to the surrounding county shelters, just in case the dog was able to travel across county lines. It is also a good idea to speak with local businesses/neighbors where the dog was first seen because a lot of the time they know where it belongs.
You may also make found signs with a picture, and place these near the area you found the dog. If the owners are not on social media, they might not be aware of the lost/found groups potentially they may see the signs instead.
Remember, it is illegal to keep, rehome or sell a stray animal without making every attempt to locate the owner, and to follow all the county-required stray hold. Make sure to check your local county ordinances if you reside outside of Marion County.