What should I do if I find a lost pet?

Steps to take toward returning a missing pet

ORLANDO, Fla. – Pets are like members of the family and tend to be frantically sought by their owners if they get loose, so what should we do if we find someone's furry friend?

There are a few things you can do to help reunite the animal with its owners.

First, use caution while trying to get a hold of the pet. Many are friendly and will come right to you. But if it won't, call your local animal services. There's no reason to put yourself in harm's way, even if you're trying to do a good thing. 

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If you are able to restrain the pet, first, of course, check for an ID on its collar. 

If it doesn't have one, many people take photos of the pet and post them on their city or town's local community Facebook page or group. That's a great place to look, and while you wait for responses, it's a good idea to take the pet to either a veterinarian or nearby shelter so it can be checked for a microchip. Hopefully the pet does have one, and hopefully the owner's information is updated, as well.

Those who scan the chips can also let the microchip company know to mark the dog as lost and/or found so that if the owner checks with their company, they'll be notified that their pet was found.

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In the worst case, you could bring the animal to a shelter in hopes that its owner will eventually locate it. Most people will check shelters if their pets are missing, so at least they'll know where to look to find their furry family member.

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