If you suspect that your pet is stolen it is crucial to take immediate action. Here is a list of immediate steps you should take in order to try and ensure a speedy return.
1. Begin the search for a missing dog immediately. Enlist friends and family members to start searching your local neighborhood. Start your search on foot first. Circle around you block and then widen the circle to include the next block and the block around that until you are reasonably sure that you are including neighboring areas. Be sure to have a friend or family member wait outside your home in case your dog returns to your building or doorstep. Also make sure that you check all local parks and any of your pet’s favorite places.
2. Answer your telephone twenty-four hours a day in case someone contacts you with news about your missing dog. Keep the telephone line free!
3. Put together a clear, bold, easy-to-read “lost chihuahua” poster, The two- line, bold headlines should read: ,REWARD: LOST DOG.” The flyer should also your pet’s general physical description and temperament, the date and location of where your pet was lost and two or more phone numbers that people can call if they find your pet. While the flyer should offer a reward for the safe return of your pet, it should not specify the amount of the reward.
4. To prevent con artists from scamming you for the reward money and cruel pranksters from falsely raising your hopes, leave one or two physical characteristics off the description you offer on your missing poster. That way if somebody calls, you can ask if the dog has any other marks besides what was described.
5. Contact all local animal shelters, humane societies, veterinary hospitals, and animal control officers immediately and ask them if a pet that meets your description has been reported or turned in. Also contact your local police, sheriffs’ office, pet supply stores, groomers, boarding kennels, and training schools. This makes it harder for your lost pet to be sold to a buyer.
7. Contact agencies like Petfinders (1-800-666-5778) that specialize in recovering lost pets.
8. Place “Lost Pet” ads (with your pet’s photograph) in the ,Lost and Found, and ,Pet, sections of all local newspapers. Many times local community papers will run these types of ads free. Make sure you include your dog’s picture if possible.
9. The Internet is also a good place to let lots of people know about a lost pet. Send emails, complete with a picture of your pet, to everyone you know in your neighborhood and surf around to see if there is a localized ,Lost Pet, broadcast alert you can post your notice on.
10. If a caller claiming to have found your pet tells you to meet him at a strange or dangerous location, or to send him money in order to get your puppy back then chances are very high that you have been conned. Call the police immediately and they will deal with it.