All non-injured pets that are picked up by the Animal Safety, Services & Protection Division are transported to the Humane Society of St. Lucie County (HSSLC) located at 100 Savannah Road or to their second site located at 8890 Glades Cut Off Road. All impounded domestic pets are held on a 5 day stray hold in order to give their owners a chance to file a lost report and claim them from the shelter. Stray or lost pets can also end up at the shelter by being brought in by the Sheriff’s Department, private citizens who find them, or as an anonymous source drop off.
As soon as your pet goes missing, you should begin your search for your missing pet immediately. Time is of the essence. Be sure to check inside your home to be sure your pet isn’t just hiding somewhere. If your pet is not located, begin checking your property, adjacent properties and nearby roads continuing in the direction your pet was last seen.
If you are unable to locate your pet, contact the HSSLC at (772) 461-0687 and file a lost report to see if your pet was dropped off at the shelter. It is also advised that you physically go to the HSSLC and do a walk through their stray buildings every few days. We also recommend you contact the surrounding counties and file lost report with their Humane Societies in case someone picked up your pet, drove to the neighboring county and turned the animal(s) in at their facility which is not uncommon.
Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County
Humane Society of the Treasure Coast
Social media can be an effective and powerful tool when you’re searching for your lost pet. Facebook lost and found pages, yard sale pages and missing animal sites are popular and useful social media sites that will work well when integrated into your search campaign to spread the word of your lost pet. Here are a few additional missing animal sites that you can use to send out alerts for your missing pet:
http://craigslist.com (lost/found section)
You should also check with the local veterinary clinics to see if anyone has brought your missing pet into their facility to be scanned for a microchip or brought in for treatment for an injury.
When searching for your pet, be sure to post missing pet flyers in the immediate area with a photo and information about your pet along with your contact information. Be sure to speak with all of your neighbors and provide them with a missing pet flyer, as well as any walkers/joggers, lawn care people and delivery people. The more you get the word out that your pet is missing, the more likely someone is to contact you if they seem them.
More Tips for Finding Your Pet:
- If you have lost a cat, sprinkle some of its used litter around the parameter of your yard, if the cat is in the area it will be able to pick up its scent and find its way home.
- You can also try to put your pet’s favorite blanket that they sleep on outside, in a crate, by your front door in an attempt to allow them to find their way home by their own scent.
- Most pets become frightened when they are in unfamiliar areas and will not come when you call to them so be sure to use ca calm and inviting voice when calling to them.
- Searching for your pet at night when the area is quiet enough for you to hear them is another proactive way you can search for your pet.
- Try not to leave food outside during evening hours to prevent attracting unwanted wildlife.
If you have found an animal, the first thing you should do is take the animal into a veterinary clinic to be scanned for a microchip, even if the animal is not wearing a collar. Just because the animal does not have a collar on does not mean the animal was abandoned. The number one reason that is given for an animal not wearing a collar is the owner forgot to put it back on after the pet was bathed. Accidents happen and the overall goal is getting the animal back home safely. If the animal does not have a microchip, contact the HSSLC and file a found report. They will be able to tell you if an owner has called in a lost report so you can reunite them instead of the animal having to be turned into the shelter.
If you plan to hold onto the animal for a few days in an attempt to locate an owner, use social media sites to post found ads. Only release a photo, the date the animal was found and a general area in which the animal was found. Be sure that whomever claims the animal can give you specific details about the animal before handing the animal over to them (i.e. identifying marks, male or female, etc…).
Things aren’t always what they seem… Before keeping the animal that you have found, give the owner a few weeks to try to claim. There are times when pet sitters or care takers do not inform the pet owner that the animal has gone missing and the owners do not find out until they are back home; which can range from a few days to a few weeks. If you plan on keeping the animal, be sure to document all attempts you have made to locate an owner in case someone comes forward down the road to attempt to claim the animal.
Things you can do to increase the chances of getting your pet back in the event they become lost or stolen
- Microchip your pet: this serves as permanent identification for your pet. Be sure to keep your information up to date with the microchip company.
- Be sure your pet has an ID tag on its collar with up to date contact information. People are more likely to attempt to contact a registered owner rather than call an Animal Safety Officer to impound a stray pet.
- Make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations annually and their County License is renewed annually, or as otherwise required, to prove ownership in the event your pet is stolen and ownership is questioned.
- Be sure to have plenty of photos of you and your pet to prove ownership in the event your pet is stolen and ownership is questioned.