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Lost your dog or cat? Here's where you can find help

A lost pet is a stressful thing to go through. Here are some things you can do to spread the word about your missing pet.

You’ve seen the posters before.

The big black nose and open mouth smile of a family dog, staring at you from a bright coloured page stapled to a telephone pole with thick, bold letters asking “Have you seen our dog?”

More recently, it was probably also a post on your Facebook newsfeed.

Maybe you’ve been the one driving the streets at dusk calling out your dog’s name and shaking a bag of treats.

Nancy Kay has been doing all of the above and more since Thanksgiving when her dog Delilah got spooked during a walk and ran away. Currently, the search continues.

Kay and her husband adopted Delilah two days before the dog ran away. Kay had never owned a dog, but always wanted to. Her husband had dogs before.

They adopted Delilah after several visits to a shelter in Severn.

Delilah came from a puppy mill where she had three litters of pups before her fourth birthday. She is shy of humans and ran away from the shelter once as well. At that time she was missing for 21 days.

She’s officially been missing for 22 days now, and Kay and her husband have been working hard to find her. The search is a little harder since Delilah is scared of most people. When she was finally caught last time, the shelter had confirmed sightings in a local area and put out motion cameras and live animal traps with bait.

In the meantime, Kay has been spreading the word to as many people as she can, hoping she can piece together some sightings of her dog.

“There is a network in place, and area resorts, convenience stores, pet stores, construction crews, dog walkers, hikers, and cyclists have been contacted,” said Kay. “As many posters that are allowed have been placed.”

Kay added that many posters have been taken down, though she’s not sure by who.

She has called every animal control officer from Meaford to Clearview, and she’s on various local and regional Facebook pages for lost pets. Kay has been handing out small information cards with a description of Delilah and a number to call if she’s spotted. She’s been asking people not to approach the dog, but simply to call the number if they see Delilah.

“She has been known to stay relatively close to the comforts and safety of residential areas and we're hoping that she is still in the area but hiding in plain sight,” said Kay.

As she navigates the process of searching for a lost pet and spreading word through local networks, Kay has noticed there’s a lot of repeating the same information to different sources.

“Animal control officers in various regions and municipalities need an alert system, a direct text or email alert that informs them whenever a lost pet is registered,” said Kay. “One contact for multiple net casts.”

She’s also been struggling to put up posters in some neighbourhoods and condo areas where they are not permitted, and suggested it would be helpful to allow posters in more places to access more sets of eyes.

“There are many informative websites and articles to aid in your search but communication is first and foremost,” said Kay.”Do not allow that door to be slammed in your face. Your pet, my Delilah's life, is counting on you to stop if from closing.”

In Collingwood, when someone calls the animal control officer to report a lost pet, the town bylaw officers will enter the information into a database so they can all share it. They will also check the same database to see if any pets matching the description have been found.

If a bylaw officer finds a pet, he or she will capture it where possible, check its microchip, if there is one, and contact the owner registered to the microchip or town dog licence.

If the bylaw staff cannot reach the owner, the pet is taken to the Georgian Triangle Humane Society, which acts as the town pound.

From there, word is spread about a found dog or cat, and typically they are reunited with their owners within the first 24 hours.

According to Sara Almas, town bylaw staff brought 26 dogs to GTHS in 2018. The percentage of dogs claimed by their owners was nearly 80 per cent. If a dog is not claimed, the GTHS has a process (and waiting period) to put the dog or cat up for adoption.

“The ideal is pairing an animal with the owner before we send them to a shelter,” said Almas.

The Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS) has created a web page with instructions and phone numbers helpful for both those who have lost a dog and those who have found one. You can visit that page here. There is a GTHS lost pets Facebook page here as well.

A lost pet handout prepared by the GTHS suggests starting your search closeby in your home and its immediate surroundings, in some cases an animal hasn’t gone far, but is hiding.

Next the GTHS suggests combing the neighbourhood on foot or by car, then making a poster and canvassing door-to-door. Next, start working the phones, call local veterinarians, radio stations, and animal control officers. Post about your lost pet on Facebook and join some of the local lost pet Facebook pages to add your post there. For the full checklist, click here.

The search for Delilah continues. She was last reported seen on Oct. 24 in the Craigleith/Blue Mountains area. She originally ran from the Cranberry Golf Course area. Delilah is mostly black with white markings on her chest. She is a basset hound/ lab mix. She is weary of humans, so if seen, do not approach. Simply call 705-443-1297 to report when and where she was seen.

You can see a lost dog listing for Delilah here.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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