When a beloved companion animal strays from home it can be a traumatic experience for both you and your missing friend. The Whatcom Humane Society receives many lost cats, dogs, and other animals daily and we try our best to match them with reports of animals that are missing. We want to reunite as many strays as possible with their guardians.
PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO THE LARGE VOLUME OF ANIMALS THE WHATCOM HUMANE SOCIETY RECEIVES EACH DAY, WE CANNOT IDENTIFY LOST PETS OVER THE PHONE OR VIA E-MAIL COMMUNICATION. YOU MUST VISIT THE SHELTER AND LOOK FOR YOUR LOST PET.
WE ARE CLOSED EVERY TUESDAY. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO LOOK FOR YOUR LOST PET UNTIL THE FOLLOWING BUSINESS DAY. WE OPEN AT 10:00 AM ON WEDNESDAY. THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING!
Finding Your Lost Animal
- Come in to WHS immediately to look for your animal. Attach a current color photo of your companion to the Lost Pet Report and be sure to note any distinctive markings.
- You are the only person who can identify your animal. It is critical that you come by WHS at least every other day. We hold stray animals for a minimum of five and a maximum of ten days. After that time they may be adopted to a new home or euthanized.
- Place an ad on Bellingham Craigslist in the “Lost and Found” and “Pets” sections by visiting bellingham.craigslist.org. Be sure to include a color photo of your pet with a detailed description. Make sure to put your contact information in the ad.
- Post lost pet information on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about your missing pet. Pay-to-use websites such as www.petamberalert.com and www.findtoto.com offer assistance issuing mass lost pet notifications to people and businesses in your area.
- Post flyers with your animal’s photo, description, your name, and all phone numbers where you can be reached. Consider offering a reward as an incentive for people (especially children) to look for your animal. It’s not important to cite an amount; give what you feel is fair.
- Post flyers in supermarkets, schools, veterinary hospitals, and local stores. If your town permits, tack them up on street corners and bus stops. Also leave them with your neighbors. If you live in an apartment complex, post them by the mailboxes.
- Inform your mail carrier, neighborhood children, garbage collectors and newspaper carriers of your lost companion. Go door-to-door soliciting help and asking about your animal.
- Visit all other animal shelters in the area. Contact area veterinarians and leave information with local emergency veterinary clinics.
- Enlist the aid of family and friends. Look in parks, playgrounds, schools and homes where other animals live. Early morning hours and sunset are prime times for finding lost animals. After dark is an especially good time to look for cats.
- If you’ve recently moved, conduct a search in your old neighborhood. Be sure to check in with animal agencies in that area too.
- Check “Found Animal” ads in newspapers and on Craigslist. Place a “lost animal” ad in your local newspaper. Ask local radio stations if they air lost animal announcements.
- If you’ve lost a purebred dog or cat, contact the rescue club for your breed. If possible, WHS will assist to provide contact information.
- Make sure current information is on file for your pet’s license tag, microchip, rabies tag, and any other traceable identification.
- When you find your companion, examine them for illness or injuries. Feed them only small amounts of food in case their digestive system is upset – you don’t know what they might have eaten while away.
- Be sure to notify WHS and other agencies with which you filed lost pet reports once you have found your companion animal.
- Don’t give up hope! It’s not uncommon for people to be reunited with their companions weeks or even months after they are lost.
Additional Tips for Finding a Missing Cat
- Place an item that smells familiar to your cat (favorite toy, food bowl, bedding, unwashed article of your clothing) in a cardboard box. Place the box in an out-of-the-way spot in your yard. Check it regularly, especially during the early morning hours.
- Thoroughly search your basement, attic, garage, shed and any other places a cat could hide. If you live in an apartment, check stairwells, hallways and any vacant apartments.
- Most cats don’t leave their immediate area. Talk to your neighbors, as well as the apartment complex staff. Ask them to check their attics, garages, etc. Ask neighborhood children to notify you if they see your cat rather than trying to catch him/her themselves.
- Search for your cat at night when it is quiet. Walk around calling your cat’s name allowing enough time for him/her to recognize and respond to your voice. Cats are more likely to respond with a cry rather than come looking for you. Search under and around cars and garages.
- If your cat comes running when you use the can opener at feeding time, try taping the sound and playing it when you are out at night looking for him/her. Also try shaking a can or box of his/her favorite treats.
- Cat traps are available for rent at our facility for a $50 deposit and a daily fee. Ask WHS staff for details.
For additional information, please see the recent Bellingham Herald Animal Tales article written by WHS Executive Director, Laura Clark.
Reunited….and it feels SO good!
Each year in the United States, millions of companion animals enter shelters as strays. There are many ways to prevent your four-footed friend from disappearing. These tips can help you beat the odds:
- Be a responsible pet guardian. Keep your dog or cat safely confined or closely supervised at all times.
- Spay or neuter your animal. The most effective way to prevent your companion animal from disappearing is to have them spayed or neutered. This will curb their desire to roam.
- Identification is a lost animal’s ticket home. Always keep a collar and ID tag(s) on your dog or cat. Consider having your animal microchipped, a permanent means of identification. Ask WHS staff about getting your animal microchipped.
- Safe travel. If you must travel with your dog, cat, or other animal, use a leash or carrier to keep him/her safe.
- An accurate description of your animal is vital. Keep a record of your animal’s size, with any distinguishing characteristics, along with a current photograph.
Other Animal Shelters in the Area
Humane Society of Skagit Valley
1641 Kelher Road Buerlington, WA 98233 (360) 757-0445
Abbottsford SPCA (British Columbia)
34312 Industrial Way Abbottsford, B.C. Canada V2S7M6 (604) 850-1584
Animal Emergency Care (After-Hours Emergency Care Facility)
317 Telegraph Road, Bellingham WA 98226 (Across from the Home Depot)