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- You’ve found a lost pet. Now what?
- Take the pet to your local animal shelter
- Keeping a found animal
- Consider an animal “lost,” not abandoned
- How to report a found animal
- Have the pet scanned for a microchip
- Take a picture of the pet
- Let others know you have found a lost pet
- Look around
- Give it time
HONEA PATH, SC
Terrier, Pit Bull/Mix
Terrier, Pit Bull/Mix
You’ve found a lost pet. Now what?
- Always be cautious. Even a friendly pet can bite or scratch when scared, lost, or hurt. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching an animal, DON’T. When in doubt, always play it safe and call Animal Control.
- Call local Animal Control right away. Greenwood City and County Law Enforcement manage Animal Control functions and can be contacted at (864) 942-8632. (If you are outside the Greenwood County, SC area please contact the non-emergency phone number for your local law enforcement agency.)
Take the pet to your local animal shelter
- If the animal is friendly, and you feel safe securing it, stray/lost animals from Greenwood County can be brought to the Greenwood County Animal Shelter. Intake hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 4:30pm. There is no fee for bringing a pet to the shelter, we only need to gather important information to help locate his/her owner. You may contact the shelter at (864) 942-8558,
- Please note: If you bring a pet to the shelter and do not have a carrier, crate, or leash (dogs only), please leave the pet safely inside the vehicle – with air or heat on depending on conditions – and let us know that you need assistance. When a pet first comes to the shelter, he/she is exposed to sensory overload, may react out of fear, and run way or cause injury to you or itself. We want to ensure your safety and the pet’s.
Keeping a found animal
- Lost pets need to be reunited with their owners. If you find a pet, you are legally obligated to help find the pet’s owner, rather than keeping it or finding it a new home. (SC Section 47-7-20) While there is certainly no harm in keeping a found animal safe, please remember that legally, a found animal cannot be kept and claimed until certain steps have been taken.
Consider an animal “lost,” not abandoned
- Many animals are considered “dumped,” “abandoned,” or “abused”, and therefore the finder isn’t inclined to try to find the owner. When in fact, many of these animals are lost family pets. Even an animal who is skinny, covered in flea/ticks, matted, or injured can be a lost beloved family pet who has been roaming the streets or woods for several weeks trying to take care of itself. It doesn’t take long for a beautifully groomed poodle to become matted and filthy if they are running scared through the woods. Also, an animal who is lost from its home is often frightened and confused, which can lead it to be skittish. These dogs or cats are often mistaken as “abused” because they cower and slouch away, when they are merely frightened.
- There have been instances when an animal has been mistreated or neglected, but not at the hands of his owner, but by someone who found him. An animal who was stolen and not provided adequate care can decline in health and appearance, all the while his worried owner is looking for him.
How to report a found animal
- If you find a lost pet, please contact the shelter to file a report. You may file online or call the Greenwood County Animal Shelter at (864) 942-8558. This aids our efforts to find the pet’s owner and protects the finder from being accused of stealing the pet. Found animals can also be reported to your local law enforcement agency if there is no animal control or shelter in your area.
- When reporting an animal, try to be as specific as possible. Is the animal spayed or neutered? What color or breed do you think it is? Is it wearing a collar? Where was it found? Is there anything about the pet that stands out in particular, such as a scar or limp or unique marking? Because hundreds of animals are reported missing each month, even the smallest detail can help our investigative efforts to return the pet to his home.
Have the pet scanned for a microchip
- Microchip identification has become very affordable and pet owners are taking advantage of its long-range benefits. Animal shelters and animal control services routinely look for microchips to return lost pets quickly to their owners, avoiding expenses for housing, food, medical care, outplacing and euthanasia. Many shelters place chips in all outplaced animals.
- The only way to know for sure if a pet has a microchip is to have it scanned. Any vet’s office, animal control agency, or humane society should have a microchip scanner and there should be no charge to have a pet scanned. Always have a found pet scanned! Scanning services are provided at the Greenwood County Animal Shelter Monday through Friday and at the Adoption Center on Saturdays.
Take a picture of the pet
- If possible, provide a photo of the found pet to the agency you’ve contacted. Whether through text, email, or other options, most groups can receive these pictures. This is helpful, as even with the best description possible, it can be difficult to match lost pet reports with found pet reports.
Let others know you have found a lost pet
- Getting the word out that you’ve found a pet increases the chances of finding his owner. Some methods are:
- Contact local groomers and vet offices
- Place an ad in the local newspaper and online news sources
- Post a photo and information of where pet was found on social media sites
- Put flyers out around your neighborhood.
- Let your mail carrier know because he or she may know where the pet belongs
- To verify someone’s claim to be the pet’s owner, hold back some piece of information that only the owner would know, such as the color of the collar or whether the pet is spayed or neutered. Also ask to see photos of the pet. If in doubt, contact your local shelter or law enforcement for help.
- Keep an eye on the above mentioned areas for lost pet notices or flyers. Just as a finder may place posters or information online, an owner looking for their pet may post fliers and notices as well. Newspapers, websites, vet’s offices, and humane societies or animal shelters are just some of the places an owner may post their information. Also remember that an owner may call their missing pet a different breed then you would. Call any and all notices that could match the pet you have.
Give it time
- Many owners assume, whether correctly or not, that their pet will return on its own. This is especially true with cats, who have a tendency to wander. Often an owner may wait a day or two or longer before earnestly looking for their pet. It is common for a shelter to get calls about a lost pet a week or more after the pet has been missing. This is not necessarily a sign that a family doesn’t love its pet. Many people genuinely don’t know what to do.
- If you are unable to find a lost pet’s owner you can relinquish the pet to the local animal shelter, rehome it, or keep it yourself. Remember that each state has different laws governing what must be done with regard to lost and stray pets. Before placing an animal, or keeping an animal, please contact your local law enforcement agency and animal shelter to make sure you are abiding by the laws in your area.