Santa Fe Scoop

Thanks to Cindy Roper for putting the bug in my ear. She, Sloan Cunningham, and Jan Hunt contributed to this list. Please provide your advice and lessons learned. Below is the contents of the attached document. The formating looks better in the attachment.

Lost Pet Help - Santa Fe, NM Area – August 2009

What to do now before your pet is lost (it CAN happen to you):
1. Collar and tags
• Pets should be wearing a collar and up to date tags with your current phone number (cell and home). A bright collar that contrasts your pet’s fur color is best. Consider a collar embroidered with your phone number. Sharpie ink fades.
• Custom tags with your phone # can be made at most local pet shops, vets, and shelters. Numbers can rub off the tags so be sure your information is still legible.
• Pets cannot always be traced by rabies tag ID or contact may be delayed if the vet requires your permission to disclose your contact information.
2. Microchip your pet and be sure the company has your most updated contact information
3. Photo - have a recent full body digital photo(s) of your pet showing unique markings
• Have it handy - email it to yourself and a friend and save the email so you have it when you travel.

Once you have determined your pet is missing ACT NOW - DON’T HESITATE!
1. Contact the local Shelter and file a lost pet report
• Visit the Shelter in person as often as possible (some Shelters keep pets only 3 days). Don’t rely on staff to find your dog and call you as they are likely dealing with dozens of new animals every day.
• Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society:; 505-983-4309 x 606
2. Contact the local papers
• Usually it’s free and posted for 4 days and you can call to repost. A photo will attract more readers.
• Use a more general location like major cross streets instead of an obscure small street name.
• Santa Fe New Mexican: 505-986-3000; email
• The Reporter: 505–983-1212 or email
3. Post on Craigslist
• Post under both COMMUNITY –> PETS and LOST & FOUND. You’ll have to re-word it to post it in two places at once and post every day if you can, or at least every other day
4. Post fliers (and get friends to help!)
• Include your phone number with area code in case someone from out-of-town sees your pet
• Include a recent photo, preferably full body
• Include if the dog was wearing a collar when lost and collar description (collars and tags can fall off and someone may find the collar which may not have your contact information)
• Consider using waterproof plastic sheet protectors or ziplock bags
• Kinko’s (depending on the employee) will print 50 black and white or 20 color copies for free
5. Hand out fliers (and get friends to help!)
• Go door to door around your neighborhood or point last sighted
• Stop cars, joggers, bike riders, and delivery drivers (mail, FedEx, UPS, propane, phone, etc.)
6. Search for lost pets on Petharbor
• Check all other Shelters in your vicinity for LOST pets. It’s best not to specify a BREED in your search as so many mixes are ambiguous. Consider not filtering by age or sex either as this can be subjective or entered incorrectly. You can sort by DATE received on this website, BUT not all Shelters post dates. Some Shelters take a few days to post a photo so check back frequently and call or visit the Shelter if you can.
• Other Shelters and Rescue groups not on Petharbor (like Raton, NM) may be on Petfinder:
7. Post your missing pet on websites such as: (Santa Fe area only)
• Other breed specific rescue websites: (Border Collie X for example )
8. Consider using a paid lost/found pet service to call or mail fliers to 100s of your neighbors will call 500 people in your neighborhood for $100 (landlines only); or will mail postcards
9. Don’t lose hope! Pets have found their way home weeks, months, and years after being lost! Happy stories of lost pets found:
10. Put a t-shirt or cloth with your scent and some dog food at the last place you saw your pet and recheck this site often. We know of one lost dog found this way in Santa Fe in Feb 2010.

Once the pet is found:
• CELEBRATE and tell everyone!
• Post the good news on all the lost pet websites and tell them what “worked” and led you to find your dog so the search can be concentrated on those still missing, and those still searching can learn from your experience

Other lost pet help links:
• Lost pet behavior:

Where to post fliers (if allowed) – the obvious and not so obvious:
• On main access roads, but not on road safety signs
• Mailbox clusters especially in rural areas
• Community meeting places like volunteer fire departments, churches, schools
• Grocery stores, restaurants, pet stores, vet offices….
• Bicycle shops: bike riding clubs are often out early riding main roads when there’s less traffic, but it may be the time your dog is out roaming
• Sporting Goods/Outdoors Shops
• Local government agencies (city, county, state, federal) – building inspectors, water meter readers, trash collectors, weed control crews, govt employees who are out and about during the day
• Emergency Vet (in Santa Fe 984-0625 near Rodeo Rd and Sawmill) and other local vet offices

Other considerations:
• Rural areas dog owners may want to consider training your dog to a mechanical whistle. The sound is distinguishable to your dog and carries much further than your voice.
• Call your Home Owner’s Assoc or Neighborhood Watch leader (if you have one) to see if they can email an emergency lost pet alert to everyone in your subdivision
• If you move/change phone numbers be sure your pets tags are updated and on the pet when the change happens.
• Consider special tags for your pet when you are out of town such as one with your pet sitters phone number
• Contact your vet to let them know the pet is missing in case someone calls trying to get your contact information from your pet’s rabies tag

If you see a dog, injured or in traffic call:
• In SF city limits, Animal Services is at 955-2701. On weekends and holidays, call SFPD dispatch at 955-2700.
• In SF county, Animal Control is at 992-1626. On weekends and holidays, call Sheriff's dispatch at 428-3720.
• If you see a pet running loose and can’t catch it take a photo if you can and watch (or post) Craigslist and the papers

Spiritual help ideas and contacts – please list your ideas and contacts on the forum!

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Replies to This Discussion

Super good work Julie!! Hope to see you again soon, but NOT out searching for dogs :-)
Absolutely WONDERFUL post, Julie!!!!

THANK YOU so much for taking the time to type all that out!
Great list, I can not think of anything to ad. Well done, thank you.
This is really interesting. A very kind woman came upon a dead cat with only a name tag w/ phone # on Airport Road. She posted on Craigslist. The phone # was disconnected but she got a name for that phone number and went to the County Assesor to try track the name to updated contact info. That didn't work so she called local vets with the cat's unique name (Sinja) and FOUND THE OWNERS WHO'D LOST THE CAT A YEAR AGO! The cat had been alive and roaming, or alive and kept by someone for a year who may not have been able to find the owner because of the disconnected phone # on the tags.

Hopefully this very kind person will post more info here. Here is the Craigslist post:
THANK YOU Shari! I met Shari online related to a local lost pet and hoped she'd share her insight and experience here so others can share and learn. Shari found a deceased pet on a local busy street recently and went to all extremes to find the owner The pet had a name tag with invalid phone #. She contacted the Shelter, looked up the phone number online, then eventually called local vets and found the owners who it turns out had lost the pet over a year ago. The pet was alive and well for nearly a year after going missing and had the tags on the whole time but no one called (or maybe did but the phone # was disconnected (Sloan?!)).

Shari brought closure. Not many people would go out of their way to do that. Shari, you are exceptional.
2 days after my beloved cat Lucy died in April of this year of lung cancer, I, too, found a dead cat in an empty lot across from my business. I called animal control and asked that it be picked up, mostly because many many school kids walk through that lot every day and I didn't want them kicking the cat around and also in hope it could be scanned and bring closure to a family. It was a beautiful Himalayan cat, no collar.

I waited from about 8 AM that morning when I made the call to Animal Control till 6 PM that night when my business closed for Animal Control but they did not come.

I decided to go pick the cat up myself. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, especially right after the death of my own cat. But I thought...what if this was MY cat? I'd want to know where it was, even if it was dead.

I put the dead cat in a box and took her home to my garage and the next morning I drove her to Animal Control and asked them to scan her. They found no chip.

I can only hope for similiar compassion and action from others to help people find their pets, dead or alive and get that much needed closure.

Thank you, Shari.

PS: This was on Airport Road as well.
YOU ARE KIDDING?!! THEY DON'T SCAN FOR A CHIP?! This is a problem. I've also wondered if they take the collars off and try call owners. Who picks up the deceased animals (NMDOT?) and what's the protocol when they find an animal?
Claudia, I can understand that pain. I know you and how much you care. There aren't many people willing to approach a deceased animal, and far fewer who are willing to check for tags and move the animal in the hopes of finding an owner and protect the animal from further harm. It makes me pause and it gives me hope. If I had a lost pet there are advocates out there. Heroes or angels maybe, or just animal lovers like me who hope we can band together and always watch out for each others' loved ones.
Just want to emphasize the importance of checking all area shelters. Don't underestimate the power of little doggy or kitty legs when traveling in an unknown area. Espanola or Las Vegas or Albuquerque might sound far to you, but if someone is driving and picks them up, that person may not know where other, closer, shelters are and suddenly, your pup is doing 85 on the highway rather than just taking a stroll in the neighborhood.
Great advice, and Nina would know! People who pick up a stray would probably take it to the Shelter closest to their home, not the one closest to where they found the pet.
Dear Julie & Co.,

I apologize for taking so long to respond; I only just noticed there was a note in my Scoop email box. When animal control picks up a deceased animal with a collar, we do call on the collar right away, but up until now, we have not scanned deceased animals for chips. It was an oversight, and starting today, every deceased animal without a known owner will be scanned for a microchip. Thank you all for this discussion, and I hope that this addition to our policies may bring some peace and resolution to those who lose an animal.

Hi Bill,

That's great news! Thank you!!! (and I only recently discovered the inbox thing myself after being a Scoop member for months).



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