I have seen a lot of lost dogs and cats posted as found on Next Door and Facebook lately. While most people are generally concerned about the safety of the dog and getting it reunited with its owner, I have seen quite a few people decide for themselves how to handle the situation and do some things that will make it impossible for the pet to ever be reunited with their lost dog or cat.
Here are my thoughts and recommendations regarding the subject. My goal is to keep everyone including the pet as safe and healthy as possible and to follow local laws. A loose dog is in a great deal of danger. Where I live the greatest danger will be cars, natural predators, and bad people looking for bait dogs to use in illegal dog fighting. Cars are by far the most imminent danger in Los Angeles where I live.
With all the dog walking apps, I see lost dogs posted far too often. It breaks my heart every time I see another dog that has gotten away from a walker or child that was playing with them. I have known people that were bringing in their groceries while their senior pet went exploring out a door that was left open just a little bit too long. They were devastated and wracked with worry until they located their beloved little explorer - which they did thankfully. It doesn’t take much for a dog to escape. Do be vigilant and take every precaution to keep your dog safe. If you have a husky, you are going to need a tall fence. If you have a digger, you better be checking your fence every single day. Just don’t assume that, because the dog got out, that the owner must be a scumbag. Sometimes a chip will migrate out of a dog’s body. My dog, Betty has been chipped twice because her first chip was not scanning at all. When we move or change phone numbers, we need to update the information with the micro-chip companies - but sometimes we don’t think about it. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love our pets. It just means that we missed it and we are human. It could happen to you.
What would you want someone to do if it was your dog that you loved? That is what we need to do.
I am not naive enough to believe that everybody is good and nobody would dump a poor trusting and helpless dog. I know that there are rotten people out there that dump animals all the time. I just don’t believe that is everybody. And, even if the found dog WAS abandoned, the steps listed above give them the best chance of receiving medical care and finding a good home if the owner doesn’t show up. If you are struggling to keep your dog and you think that "dropping" them off in a public place will be better for your pet than keeping them, please read this for other safer options for your pet.
This is what I do with a dog that I find. The majority of dogs that are running loose have collars and valid tags so it is not usually much work to reunite them with their families. I have done every one of these steps. It is not a hassle-free nor an easy process when there is no tag or chip. There is a lot of following up involved and a good amount of stress and worry while the dog is in the shelter system. But, it works and it has saved lives and reunited found pets with their owners. I have helped abandoned pets find new homes with these actions.