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Find Your Missing Pet, Loss Prevention, Part 3 of 3

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July 25, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today is the final part of our series on finding your missing pet and loss prevention. Hello. I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today, we are speaking with Dr. Carla Huston, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Associate Professor.

Dr. Huston, in past segments we talked about, first, preventing pet loss by knowing exactly where your pet is at all times, not letting them roam too far from your home, installing home surveillance systems, pet microchipping, pet tracking collars, as well as pet loss response, how it's so important to act quickly and involve law enforcement, social media and public facilities and venues, especially if you think your pet was stolen.

So today, we're discussing what a person should do if they see an animal that someone could be searching for. If you were trying to advise people on how to react if they happen to find your pet, should we make sure that we tell potential searchers not to chase our pets?

Carla Huston: Yes. When you're telling people that you've lost a pet, you want to request that they immediately contact you. Make sure you provide a phone number where they can reach you immediately, whether it's a cell phone number or a work number. Because often times, when pets are lost, they're scared, and they don't want to come to people. So if you chase them, they're going to run or hide even further. So make sure to tell people to call you, to not chase the pet. If it's a very friendly or very valuable animal, you might not want to advertise that, in case somebody doesn't want to return your pet.

But it is important that you let people know how to contact you because minutes count. And when you see an animal, it may be gone in five minutes.

Amy Myers: Exactly. Always have them contact you immediately, as soon as they see the pet. And it's good if they can take a picture of it and then send it to you and text it to you or call you. Also, even if they do know the pet's name, it's good that they don't scream the pet's name out. Is that correct?

Carla Huston: It depends on the pet and the situation. Sometimes it's helpful to know the pet, especially if the pet is from your neighborhood or you're familiar with the pet, because the pet may hear your voice and it be a familiar voice. But often times, if you scream a pet's name, and the pet doesn't know you, it may scare them. So really dependent on the situation.

Amy Myers: And also, if the pet is friendly, you might not want to advertise that it is a friendly pet, because someone might get ahold of that animal who could harm it or use it for illicit purposes. Also, when you post on social media or if you post an advertisement that your pet is missing, it's, most of the time, better that you don't advertise what the pet's name is. Because sometimes, and this doesn't happen every time, but sometimes people who might harm your pet might see there has been a pet advertised as missing, and if the pet's name is on the advertisement and a person of questionable integrity knows what the pet's name is, and if they happen to see it, they might be able to catch the pet and do something undesirable. Is that correct?

Carla Huston: Again, it depends on the situation, in terms of what type of pet it is. Usually if pets are lost, they're going to be scared. And the other issue with scared pets is scared pets tend to fear bite. So that is another reason why we don't always want people to run after and chase our pets when they're lost. But as you've said, take a picture of the pet, contact you immediately so that you can get there or have somebody familiar to the animal go out and see if they can't catch the animal.

Amy Myers: Also, new forms of animal identification are really effective in cracking down on pet theft and animal theft, and these include things like animal tattoos and tracking devices. Because animal theft and pet theft are actually getting pretty bad. So tell me how we can find more information on this.

Carla Huston: Amy, the best source of information for pet identification will be your local veterinarian. They can help set you up with microchips and other forms of identification. Breed tattoo identifications can also be used. If you need assistance finding a local veterinarian, you can also call the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Amy Myers: Thank you so much. Today we've been speaking with Dr. Carla Huston, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Associate Professor. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Animal & Dairy Science

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