The Humane Society of Elkhart County
The Humane Society of Elkhart County works to prevent animals' suffering and neglect through education, public service and adoption. The group will be sharing stories about upcoming events, pets, volunteers and more in Paws & Post.

Humane Society of Elkhart County shares tips for preventing, recovering and helping missing pets

Fourth of July firework shows can be scary situations for pets and can even cause them to run away. Here are some tips for keeping your pet safe this weekend and information on what to do if he or she goes missing.

Posted on July 3, 2014 at 4:35 p.m.

How to prevent losing your pet

Collars and Identification

Your animal cannot tell us where it lives, but you can! By keeping a secure collar and current tag on your dog or cat, anyone who finds him or her will know who the pet belongs to. A visible ID tag can spare your pet a trip to the shelter. Even dogs or cats that are always kept inside should have collars and tags. They can be easily frightened by things like this weekend’s firework celebrations and may run away.

The Humane Society of Elkhart County works to prevent animals' suffering and neglect through education, public service and adoption. The group will be sharing stories about upcoming events, pets, volunteers and more in Paws & Post.

Microchips provide a permanent internal identification for animals. When scanned, microchips display alphanumerical codes that are linked to owners in the microchip database. The advantage of microchips is that they cannot fall off like tags and collars. Shelters and veterinary clinics have microchip scanners, and microchip companies can help reunite stray animals with their registered owners. Microchips can be purchased through local veterinary clinics, as well as through the Humane Society of Elkhart County (HSEC).

c8b1cf8f-76d1-4f52-998f-561b2495978Safe and Secure

Your pets are safest inside your home, especially while people are shooting off fireworks, which can be very scary and confusing. Ideally, pets should be in familiar environments with supervision. Doors and gates are often left open and unlocked during family gatherings, allowing for escape opportunities. Even cats that have always been dependable outside can easily be startled by the Fourth of July commotion and find themselves lost in strange areas. Scared animals run.

Record Keeping

Keep a file on hand with your animal’s most recent vaccine records and a variety of photos. The photos are helpful if you ever need to create missing posters or if you need to ask your neighbors if they have seen your pet. Animals in the state of Indiana need to be current on their rabies vaccines. Proof of this is required if you ever need to reclaim your animal from a shelter.

If You Find A Pet

Before you bring an animal to a shelter, try and locate the owner. Never assume an animal has been abandoned or dumped. If the pet is wearing an identification tag, call the owner and reunite them. No leads? Start knocking on doors and asking the neighbors. Pets are often found close to home. Walking a dog around the neighborhood and asking people if they recognize him or her can help get the animal home quickly.

The Humane Society of Elkhart County will be closed on July 4. If you find a stray animal on July 4, you have three options if you cannot locate an owner. You can keep the animal in your home overnight and bring it to us when we open at 9 a.m. on July 5, or you can contact local law enforcement for your city or for Elkhart County. They provide animal transport when we are closed. Lastly, you can file a found report with us on July 5 and continue to provide temporary care for the animal for up to 10 days as we work together to find its owner.

What to do if you lose a pet

Start Your Search

Don't assume your pet will find its own way home! Remember, that big, scary noise he or she heard came from your house. Canvas your neighborhood with a recent and clear photo of your animal. Often pets do not go far. The more eyes looking for your pet, the better chance you have to be reunited. Make sure that the voicemail for your contact number is clear and set up so that people can contact you if they have leads on your missing animal. Also, if your animal is microchipped, be sure to contact the microchip company to report the animal missing and make sure your personal contact information is current. HSEC is here to help too! Continue on to learn more about our services.

Lost Pet Behavior

Your animal’s personality will play a role in how it acts when lost. Friendly dogs often go to the first person they find. More aloof or fearful dogs tend to travel further distances in search of a safe place. Dogs in urban areas travel less by foot due to human barriers such as roads and fences. Your dog will take the path of least resistance and not follow human streets. Imagine which way would be easiest on four legs when planning your search area. In areas of low population, dogs travel further, as there are fewer people to find them.

Cats like to hide low to the ground and in dark places; check under decks, sheds and in garages. Indoor cats tend to stay silent when they hide. A meow may tell a predator where the cat is. You may need to set a humane trap to lure your cat to safety. The humane society provides trap rentals to Elkhart County residents.

HSEC Services

Missing and stray pets in Elkhart County (except the city of Nappanee) are brought to the Humane Society of Elkhart County. If a pet is found in the city of Nappanee, it will be taken to the Animal Welfare League in Kosciusko County. You can file a lost report with us during our regular business hours. Your lost report will be crosschecked against any found report in hopes of connecting you directly with the person who may have found your animal. Due to the volume and variety of animals we receive, we cannot tell you if your animal is at our shelter over the phone. We do require owners to come into our shelter to search for their pets. We provide lost animal tours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. In addition, you may post a missing pet flier at our shelter.

We hope these tips ensure your four-legged family members have a safe and happy holiday!

Would you like to be a community blogger for The Elkhart Truth?

Get in touch with community manager Ann Elise Taylor at ataylor@elkharttruth.com.

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