Lost beagle makes it home 5 months later
Not far from my home is the headquarters of a local organization founded more than three decades ago with the express purpose of helping lost dogs get back to their rightful owners. I have reported wayward dogs to the Lost Dog Registry in the past but never knew much about this long-standing resource for pet owners in Kansas City.
Laura, a volunteer with Lost Dog Registry, answered the following questions. She has some great advice for anyone who loses a pet or finds a wayward one.
CW: What was the genesis of this organization?
LDR: In the early 70s an avid animal lover named Janice Martin liked to frequent dog shows that featured schipperkes, as this was her favorite breed. During this time she met and became friends with a woman who was just opening a shelter called Animal Haven. Through this experience it became evident there was a need for someone to help reunite lost pets with their owners. This gave birth to the idea of the Lost Dog Registry, which Janice started in 1973. She was very active in the organization until her death more than 30 years later.
CW: What do you do?
LDR: Currently we have 5 active volunteers that come into the office. We take reports of lost and found pets, both over the phone and online through our website. In addition to searching for matching reports we talk with the individuals and provide instruction to them about what steps to take and where they can go in their search.
We provide a centralized website(1) where people can display a picture of both Lost and Found Pets and provide viewable pictures, either through a link or posting, of recent animals that have come into several area shelters. For those that have found a pet we will assist them in whatever way we are able if they are willing to hold onto the pet while locating an owner, thus reducing the overcrowding at the shelter and giving the owner an opportunity to reclaim their pet without having to pay hefty fines.
CW: Why did you get involved with this group?
LDR: I personally became involved with Lost Dog Registry after I lost a pet to tragic circumstances. Getting involved and helping others find their pet was a form of therapy for me initially. I have always loved animals and becoming an active volunteer in a way felt like it was a sort of memorial to my pet—that somehow his death was not so senseless if something good came out of it.
CW: How many reports were filed with Lost Dog Registry last year?
LDR: We currently average about 100 reports a month, approximately 1200 reports annually -40% attributable to lost pets and 60% to found pets
CW: What trends have you noticed over the years?
LDR: The reports have pretty much remained consistent throughout the years – we still see many dogs that go missing without collars and a greater number of Found dogs reported than Lost dogs.
CW: Can you share a special success story tha the Lost Dog Registry has been involved in?
LDR: It is always a wonderful feeling when you can reunite an owner with his beloved pet and you remember every reunion. There is not really one which has more emphasis than any others. The most recent match made was of a beagle that disappeared from Barry Road in October.
About 2 weeks ago she was brought into the KCMO Shelter by Animal Control and I remembered seeing a picture of a lost one that looked similar so I pulled the report and sure enough it was her. At first when I contacted the owner I don’t think she really believed it could be her dog considering the dog had been missing for 5 months and I am sure they had given up hope of ever seeing her again. However after I sent a pic message to them of the dog they rushed to the Shelter and it was indeed their missing “Nellie.” And boy was she happy to see her family. Just witnessing the reunion truly made my day.
The one thing that I would like to stress is that having a picture of the missing pet is essential, especially if the pet is missing for more than a couple of weeks. I looked at a snapshot of the online reports filed in the past 3 months and counted 39 lab or lab mixes, 23 beagle/mixes, 18 pit bull/mixes, and so on….so simply providing a short description is not enough to clearly identify your pet once it has moved beyond its home vicinity.
CW: What advice do you have for pet owners in the event that their animal goes missing?
LDR: Start looking for your pet immediately by patrolling the area on foot, knocking on doors, posting online, hanging posters, visiting shelters. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Carry a clear picture with you when walking the neighborhood to show neighbors, the mailman, children playing in the neighborhood. Post a picture in your online ad and on your lost posters and flyer. Be diligent and do not give up.
CW: What about someone who finds a wayward animal?
LDR: Do everything within your power to locate the owner yourself and if at all possible do not take the animal to a shelter. Notify the shelter that you have the animal in case the owner comes there looking for it and post ads online as well as putting up posters. If no owner is found try to find a good rescue for the dog or else adopt it out to a good family. Every animal that comes into the shelter reduces the time another animal has to find a home. Shelters should be used to house homeless, stray animals who are truly in need of a good home. Every lost pet that is brought into the shelter, even if only for a day, will most likely cause one of these “homeless” animals to be euthanized and never given the chance to find a home.
A fun story at Lost Dogs Found about Butler, a Boston Terrier, that LDR founder Janice Martin personally helped in 2009.