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Finding Your Missing Pet, Loss Prevention Part 2

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July 18, 2019

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

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about finding your missing pet and loss prevention. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Carla Houston, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Associate Professor.

Amy Myers: Carla, I understand that it is so important to act immediately when we notice our pet is missing.

Carla Huston: Absolutely. As soon as you know that your pet is missing, make sure that you get the word out first of all, to the people around your local area. If you're in the city limits, you want to contact animal control, the animal shelter.

One thing we have now that we didn't have years ago is social media. Many of the agencies, both public and private are great about posting ads for lost or missing pets.

Amy Myers: And of course have good, sharp, clean photos that show all of their markings and put those on the lost and found pages that citizens have created. And also on your own Facebook page, there's a lot more than just one lost and found page on Facebook. So it's good to find multiple pages and put those on there. And also put extremely clear, detailed information about what date your pet went missing and what location.

And a common mistake that folks make when they are posting this information is they don't put information in each individual photo caption and when they do updates, they only comment in the comment section. And that's not as useful as updating the actual picture that you posted because people tend to overlook comments and they won't see all of your answers and updates if they're only in the comments section.

Carla Huston: The good thing about social media is that you have an endless audience. So start with the basics. Start with the Humane Society, the animal shelter, your own personal page. Make sure you allow people to share the photos. And also again, veterinary clinics and other public places.

Amy Myers: Oh, and also go to the local shelter in person, not just one local shelter, but if you have a few within about an hour of your house go there in person, right?

Carla Huston: Absolutely. Go in person because they often get so many animals that come in, they may not know what animals were brought in recently.

Amy Myers: Even the pet sale, the pet sale and pet trade sites, with the pet community knowing they might be more likely to see that your pet is missing. Is that correct?

Carla Huston: That's correct, yeah. The pet trade is always changing and you may have lost your dog or lost your pet and it's been found by a citizen who thinks that the animal's been abandoned. So it's always possible that somebody else may have your pet and is trying to find them a different home, not knowing that the pet already has a home.

Amy Myers: Right, and they can be taken to flea markets such as the one Ripley, Mississippi, and there's also one in Muscle Shoals Alabama. Not to insult anybody and say that anybody is intentionally doing this, but sometimes it does happen that missing pets come up at these flea markets where pets are.

Carla Huston: I've heard of cases before where missing pets are found for sale, whether it's at a flea market or maybe there'll be offered for sale online, and oftentimes it's often a simple misunderstanding that the pet got lost and the person who found the pet didn't realize that the pet had an owner. But of course there are some cases too where the pets may be taken for resale or for illicit purposes.

Amy Myers: Yes, and that's what is unfortunately something that you suspected might have happened to the pets that were stolen from you. Is that correct? How did they get found?

Carla Huston: Unfortunately, Amy, yes, I think you're correct. The puppies that I had stolen seem to be of a certain breed or type that would be desired for illicit purposes, and they were found in areas that we're known for dog fighting.

Amy Myers: And it just so happened that a police officer, he happened to be on site and he saw the puppies and there they were.

Carla Huston: Yes, I was very fortunate. I had placed flyers in the break rooms of the police department, both on campus and [inaudible 00:04:04], and the officers who were on patrol those evenings recognized the animals and when they were out on other calls, identified the animals and were able to recover them.

Amy Myers: And you got a few of them back. You didn't get all of them back.

Carla Huston: I did. I got half of the puppies back and they went to their new homes.

Amy Myers: Well, that is a very wonderful story, I hate to hear that you didn't get all of them back, but that is much better than none of them, because no matter what breed the dog is, they can be used for all different kinds of illicit purposes, for harmful purposes.

Thank you so much, Carla. Today we've been speaking with Dr. Carla Houston, Associate Professor for Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. 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.

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