Joyful Rescues
How to Find a Lost Pet



It is heart-breaking if your pet either runs away or becomes lost. It can be particularly difficult for an older, deaf or visually impaired pet to find its way home, and this is made more difficult in the winter when banks of snow and snow-covered ground cover familiar sights and smells.

The majority of dogs found wandering or lost do not carry any form
of identification, which is a requirement of section 112, Article 7,
New York State Agriculture and Markets Law. Therefore, be certain
your dog carries identification at all times. Cats too.
​MICROCHIPS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. Be sure to
​register & keep your information up to date. ​​


Also, as per New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, Article 7,
section 118, any unidentified dog, lost or roaming shall be held for a
period of 5 days, or an identified dog for a period of 7 days, by an
impoundment agency, e.g. Humane Society, DCO, whilst efforts are
made to locate the dog’s owner. After the time specified, an owner
who fails to redeem his dog, forfeits ownership and the dog may be
made available for adoption or euthanized!


The following is a list of actions to take, without delay, if your pet is lost, or runs away:
(Please print and save)

1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA - With today's technology, you can spread the word of your missing pet quickly. Post on your social media pages and ask your friends to share. Post on the several missing pet Facebook groups. Search Facebook to find these groups in your area. Search Facebook for dog control, humane societies and rescues. They often will post found pets. 

A few Facebook missing pet groups are below (be sure to search for others):​​

Allegany County Missing Pets​​

Missing Pets Rochester, NY

​​​Lost Pets of Buffalo NY WNY 716 Missing Pet Finder Alert


​​2. ​​Inform your town/village Dog Control Officer and all area Dog Control Officers. (Dogs can roam a great distance) You can obtain the Dog Control Officer’s telephone number from the town/village clerk.

3. Inform and visit (if have open hours) your local SPCA/Humane Society and Rescue Groups as well as the SPCA and rescue organizations in surrounding counties.

4. Place a large sign in your front yard about your lost pet. Many people who find a pet will drive around the area looking for the owner or to see if the dog reacts to a house.

5. Make copies of a recent photograph of your pet with your telephone number and email address and distribute them locally, in neighboring towns, veterinarians offices, animal shelters, public notice boards, shop windows, laundromats, social networking sites, etc.

6. Contact your neighbors, friends and relations, delivery men, truck drivers, postal carriers, etc. and enlist their help.

7. Walk or drive around your neighborhood often while calling your pet's name - take another dog your dog is attached to if possible. Wear sweaty, dirty clothes that would have your scent on them. If you must set a live trap, leave such items of smell in the cage.

DO NOT STOP SEARCHING, do not give up. Repeat steps frequently. Remember, pets have been found weeks, months, even years after leaving home.