The July 4th holiday is the number one time of year for pets to go missing. This year, animal advocates worry that it may be a record year because the 4th is at the end of a long weekend. “We are afraid that people will start partying and exploding fireworks on Friday night and not stop until Monday night,” says Deborah Wood, manager of Animals Services for Washington County and the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter.
The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro will be open on Sunday and Monday for people to bring in “found” pets from Washington County and for people to pick up their lost pets.
Here is advice for people who have lost a pet – and for people who might find them:
Lost a pet?
**Check with your local county animal shelter – those are the organizations that take in stray animals. In Washington County, that is the Bonnie Hays Small Animal Shelter. “Every stray animal in our shelter is on our web site within an hour,” says Wood. To see lost pets, go to www.WashingtonCountyPets.com and click on “Lost and Found” then “View Lost Pets.” Other local county shelters have similar information about lost pets in their shelters at their web sites.
**Also check shelters throughout the metropolitan area. “Sometimes animals that started out miles away end up being found in our County – and animals who live in Washington County find their way to other communities,” says Wood.
**Scour your neighborhood as soon as you know your pet is missing. “Ask your neighbor if they’ve seen your dog or cat. Children often know everything that’s going on, and may know exactly where your lost pet is hanging out,” says Wood. Make flyers with your pet’s photo and your phone number on them. Put them up in the neighborhood and go door-to-door in the area the pet was last seen. Also check with your local pet-related businesses, such as veterinarians, pet supply companies, and other local places where people might take a pet.
**Make it inviting for your pet to return home. Immediately put out tasty treats, water and your pet’s bed or an item with your smell on it. Your pet may return once it calms down, especially if it senses a piece of home.
Found a pet?
If you find a stray dog or cat, assume that it is someone’s beloved pet that has accidentally gotten away and not a “dumped” or neglected animal. A few easy steps can help reunite people and their pets:
**Bring the pet to your local county shelter, or call and make a found pet report. In Washington County, that’s the Bonnie Hays Shelter in Hillsboro. “This is the place that people come to find their lost pets. It’s the best bet for reuniting an animal with its owner,” says Wood. Shelter staff can scan pets for microchips and they actively look for owners.
**If a dog has a Washington County license, you can look up the owner on your home computer. Just go towww.WashingtonCountyPets.com, click on “Lost and Found” and click on “License Look-Up.” When you type in the dog’s license number, you’ll get the phone number of the owner. Multnomah County has a similar service. This can save you (and the dog) a trip to the shelter.
**Talk to your neighbors. Kids are especially likely to know where a lost pet lives. You can also put up a “Found Pet” sign in your own front yard, where an owner might see it if they are out searching.
The Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter will be open on July 3rd and 4th to intake stray animals and reunite lost pets with their owners! Hours will be 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
The Bonnie L. Hays shelter is located at 1901 SE 24th Avenue in Hillsboro. It’s just off the Tualatin Valley Highway by Lowe’s and Home Depot. Phone: 503-846-7041.
Helpful web sites:
Washington County Animal Services: www.WashingtonCountyPets.com
Multnomah County Animal Services: www.multcopets.org
Clackamas County Dog Services: www.clackamas.us/dogs