Eyes of a Friend

Life with companion animals

Looking for your lost dog – especially in Maricopa County Arizona

A girl rescuing a missing puppyMany dogs go missing every day – some are found safe, and other die from injuries (hit by car, attacked by predators – other dogs, wild animals, mean people), some are taken to local animal shelters and either adopted out to new families or killed before their family finds out where they are. Others remain missing – possibly found by other people who do not know how to find their family, or don’t bother to try, or become stray dogs trying to survive on their own.
There are proven methods of search that improve your odds of finding your dog (hopefully before it is injured or killed) – if you want to improve your chances of finding your dog, learn where to start – close to where your dog went missing.

SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY – many friendly dogs, especially little ones, are picked up by someone close to where they went missing (someone walking by them or driving down the street) – you need to knock on doors and ask people if they have found your dog or have seen your dog. Don’t just drive up and down the streets of your neighborhood looking – although that might be the first thing you try if the dog just now got out the door or the gate. Talk to every person you can in the area to find out if they found your dog or saw your dog – if you can show how important it is to you to find your dog, some nice folks will offer to come out with you or at least keep an eye out for your dog when they go for their next outing. If you take your dog for walks, go looking in the areas that you spend fun time with your dog.
SPREAD THE WORD – using flyers and signs (like yard sale signs) with a picture of your dog and your phone number. Put the FIRST sign in YOUR front yard – so everyone walking or driving by can see the photo and know that your dog is lost and know where the dog belongs. Make BIG signs,using “neon poster board” (heavy 11 x 14 paper in fluorescent colors – pink or yellow and a black magic marker) so they can easily be read by people driving by. Post at major intersections and places where traffic is heavy. Take photo flyers to nearby vet clinics (many people who find dogs take them to a vet to have them scanned for an ID microchip) and file a report with your local police department – as evidence if someone later tries to claim your dog. Ask the postal carrier on your route to take a photo flyer and keep an eye out for your dog.
When choosing the photo(s) to use for your signs and flyers – find one or two GOOD photos of your dog – one that shows its full body and one that is a close up of its face. One that shows any special markings (facial blaze, chest, socks, etc.) is best – people will use your photo to compare with ones they see on websites and Facebook pages. Post a Lost Dog ad on Craigslist for Phoenix (or area where lost) – ads don’t cost money to post, and they reach a lot of people. Craigslist may not be a safe place for some things, but it gets seen by a lot of people, and you want them to know that your dog is lost. Go to http://phoenix.craigslist.org and click “Post to Classifieds” then choose “Community” and then “Lost & Found.” Include the word dog and the word “Lost” in the title. Write a brief description of your dog, the date lost – don’t say “yesterday” or “Saturday”, and where you last saw it.
Do NOT post your address, but give the town name and major cross streets where your pet was last seen. Someone might have picked up your lost dog in west Phoenix while they were on their way home to Tempe – so your dog could be miles away in another city, but that person may look for a lost dog ad from your area.
DO think about including your phone number- you will receive email answers, but a phone call could be quicker. But you might get phone or text messages late at night, and some may be from crank callers. (there are some cranks who make a hobby of sending mean responses to lost dog owners). After you have written your ad, you can upload photos. You will get a confirmation email from Craigslist that allows you to make changes or delete the ad when you no longer need it. You need to click on the PUBLISH button to post your ad on Craigslist and make it show. Check to make sure it shows up on the Craigslist website.
Hours later, or a day later, – you have searched your neighborhood – or are continuing to knock on doors after setting out signs to alert people of your lost dog, and now need to also include the County shelters. This step needs to happen within the first day after your dog has gone missing because when Animal Control picks up a dog, or has a dog brought into them by the public as a stray, there is a SHORT legal period of time allowed for you to find them in the shelter before Animal Control takes possession of them – called “Stray hold”. Arizona law says that “Each stray dog impounded shall be kept and maintained at the county pound for a minimum of seventy-two (72) hours or one hundred twenty hours (120) for an animal that is wearing a license, unless claimed or surrendered by its owner”.
TIME is short for animals housed in shelters. If animal guardians don’t know how or where to look for their lost dog, or are unable or unwilling to visit often enough, their dog may be adopted by someone else, taken into one of many animal rescues to be adopted out to someone, or KILLED if it does not meet shelter requirements to be labeled adoptable.

MCACC operates two full service Animal Shelters – in Mesa and west Phoenix. If you live in west Phoenix – your dog still may be taken to the shelter in Mesa, and if you live in Mesa or another east valley city, your dog may be taken to the west shelter – it depends on where they have openings and where the truck is headed when they catch or pick up your dog. If you do not go to both shelters because you think your dog will only be kept at the one near you – your dog may be killed or adopted out to someone else without you ever knowing s/he was in the shelter.
If your dog is wearing an up-to-date county license and/or is microchipped with up-to-date information at the chip registration company – your dog may be brought to your home or you may receive a phone call informing you that they have your dog. Some chipped dogs have not had their chips found at the shelter, but your chances of being reunited are better if your dog is wearing a current county license and/or a microchip with current registration.

All Maricopa County animal shelters are open seven days a week, except holidays.
West Valley Animal Care Center – 27th Ave/Lower Buckeye
2500 S. 27th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009
HOURS: 11 am to 5:30 daily – HOURS for Lost pet recovery: (search for your lost pet) 11 am to 5:30 daily

East Valley Animal Care Center MCACC
2630 W. Rio Salado Parkway Mesa, AZ 85201
(8th Street/Loop 101)
HOURS: Lost pet recovery: (search for your lost pet) 11 am to 5:30 daily

Arizona Humane Society, by state law, cannot take in healthy stray dogs which must go to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. But, AHS will accept or rescue stray dogs of any age that are sick, injured or abused – at Sunnyslope Facility 9226 N. 13th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85021 (602) 997-7585

If you live in Pinal County or live in Maricopa County NEAR the borderline to Pinal County (or if someone finds your dog in Maricopa County but lives in Pinal County – they might drop it off at a Pinal County shelter)
Apache Junction Animal Control
Paws & Claws Care Center 725 E. Baseline Rd. Apache Junction, AZ 85119
(East of Idaho Road and West of Tomahawk Road on the South side of Baseline) Phone: (480) 983-4405
Our office and kennel is open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00am to 3:00pm.
Closed Sundays and Mondays

Pinal County Animal Control (if your dog is lost in San Tan Valley/ Queen Creek area, it might be picked up by or taken to this shelter.)
764 N Eleven Mile Corner Rd, Casa Grande, AZ 85194
Phone:(520) 866-7600

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