By Janet Medcalf, Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society
“My pet is lost, and what can I do to find them?”
Those words strike fear into the hearts of animal lovers. But if you know what to do, you have an even greater likelihood of relocating your pet.
Here are steps pet owners can take to help prevent their pets from being lost or stolen.
1. Never leave your pet unsupervised when it's outdoors unless the pet is in a fenced area. If your pet is not inside a fence, then you'll want to make sure it's on a leash at all times.
2. Put locks on your gates to prevent someone from coming into your yard and stealing your pet.
3. Have your pet microchipped. A microchip is an inexpensive, permanent identification, approximately the size of a grain of rice, implanted in the back of your pet's neck. Most animal shelters and veterinarian offices can scan any found animal for a microchip. The cost of microchipping at the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society is $20. Many vets’ offices offer similar services.
4. Ensure that your pet always wears a collar with an identification tag including current phone number, rabies tag and microchip tag. For cats, a "safety" or "breakaway" collar is recommended. These may be purchased at the Humane Society or numerous area stores.
5. Have your pet spayed or neutered. This will prevent your pet from being used to breed or from being placed into a puppy mill.
6. Use safety harnesses or crates when traveling. Car accidents happen, and an unrestrained, uncrated pet will likely run from the scene of an accident, sometimes badly injured.
7. Give your pet the gift of obedience training. You will be more likely to stop your pet if it begins to wander away, if it knows even the simplest of commands, like "sit,” "stay” and "come."
In the event that your pet disappears, these steps can help you recover your loved one.
1. Alert your neighbors and ask them to be on the lookout.
2. Call Greene County Animal Control (423-798-1777) and the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society (423-639-4771) to let them know of the disappearance. Give them a detailed description of your pet. (It is also a good idea to go to both facilities every few days to look for your pet.)
3. Call The Greeneville Sun newspaper (423-638-4181). They offer a free five day lost/found ad in their classified section.
4. Call WGRV radio (423-638-4147). They will announce lost and found pets.
5. Use flyers. Flyers should be posted in all businesses in your area including all veterinarian offices. Please give a flyer to your mail carrier and your newspaper carrier, too, since they travel the area around your house on a regular basis.
6. Post your loss on Facebook, including a photo and description. Many animals have been found this way. On Facebook, the “Friends of Greeneville Greene County TN Humane Society” lists all animals brought to the facility on a daily basis. Other helpful Facebook sites include Greene Co. Lost & Found; Greene County Tenn. Animal Lovers; Greene County, TN Help for Animals; My Greeneville; and Greene County TN Animal Control
7. Most importantly, don't give up hope. Many pets have been returned home weeks, months and even years after they've disappeared!