Sadly, dogs go missing all over the country every single day. In fact, according to official police data, throughout 2015 there were 1,670 dogs reported missing. That's the equivalent of five dogs every day. These are only the missing dogs brought to the attention of authorities. Unfortunately, the true figure could be much, much higher. However, there are also thousands of people working hard to ensure that lost dogs get reunited with their families. If you ever find a lost dog, there are a few things you can do to help reunite the dog with their owner as quickly as possible. The following guide is compiled from advice from UK rescue centres such as Battersea, Dogs Trust & Blue Cross.
Check for ID / Contact your local authority
The first thing to do if you ever find a dog that you suspect is lost is to check if they have an ID tag on them. If they do and you are comfortable calling the number, then go ahead and do so. You can arrange to meet the owner in a public place, or let them know if you're taking the dog to a shelter. If the dog has no ID tag or you suspect it is a stray, you should report the dog to your local authority who will be able to come and collect the dog from you. If this is not possible, you can take the dog to a local rescue centre. Make sure to ring ahead as many shelters are overrun with animals so they may not always be able to take another in.
Keeping the Dog in your Home
You may decide to keep the dog in your own home until the owner is found, especially if you're struggling to find a rescue centre with space for them. If you do decide to do so, be sure to take the dog to your local vet or rescue centre to be scanned for a microchip and report them to your local authority in case the owners are looking for them.
Register the Dog as Found
Spread the word about the found dog by creating a found poster and put it up around the area where you found the dog, share a photo of the dog on social media and on any lost dogs websites. DogLost is a national online lost and found website that can be helpful in reuniting dogs and their families. Dog theft is sadly on the increase, Blue Cross has some good advice on helping to prevent dog theft here.
If all of these tips are followed, there is a good chance of the dog being reunited with their family or finding a new loving home if they were a stray. For more information, you can visit the Battersea, Dogs Trust & Blue Cross websites.