What to do if you find a lost dog

I occasionally receive calls from people who have found wandering or lost dogs. There are a lot of roaming dogs around in our area and when people pick them up, they are often unsure of what to do with them.

Check for a name tag – If the dog has a collar with tags, check for a name tag with phone number on it. This is the first thing that most people do.

Check for a Council Registration tag – If the dog is registered with the council it should have a council registration tag on its collar. This tag will have a unique number on it. Call the Council on 1300 883 699 and they will be able to put you in touch with the owner using the number on the tag.

Check for a microchip – If the dog is not wearing a collar or has no tags on the collar, you can check for a microchip by taking the dog to the nearest vet. If the dog is chipped, the vet will be able to call the owner to come and collect their dog.

List the dog on Facebook – Many dogs are being reunited

with their owners thanks to Social Media. The biggest page for our local area is “Lost Pet Coordinator Bundaberg.” There are also a few others you can search for. Posting a photo and time and location that the dog was found will help. If you send the dog to the pound in the mean time, people will have another avenue of tracking them down through your post.

Door knock in the area the dog was found – By asking around you may find the owner or someone who knows who the owner is.

If the dog has no means of identification listed above, the last option is to call the council pound to come and collect the dog. The council will hold the dog for three business days before it legally becomes their property. They then send the dog to either the RSPCA or Red Collar Rescue. Before Red Collar Rescue came to our area, a lot of dogs were destroyed after their three days at the pound were up. But thanks to the rescue group, this is now a rarity unless the dog is aggressive to people.

Because of the fear of the dog being destroyed or having a fearful time in the pound, a lot of caring people really hesitate to hand the dog over to the pound. I can understand these feelings completely but you need to keep in mind a few things:

By keeping the dog with you, it is less likely that the owner will be able to find their dog as most people know to check the pound when a dog is lost.

If you decide to keep the dog for yourself, without the dog going through the pound system, this is against the law. If you want to keep the dog, tell the pound staff when they collect it that you wish to adopt the dog. They will then arrange for you to adopt the dog from the rescue group that takes it after it has done its three days in the pound system.

The best thing people can do to prevent their dog ending up in the pound is to microchip and register their dogs, and to use a name tag.

It is no longer considered safe or acceptable for dogs to roam the streets at risk of being hit by a car, so never doubt you are doing the right thing by helping out a dog at risk of traffic injury. Just think how worried you would be if it were your dog! And think too, how you would want the best chance possible to find your dog safely by people following the steps above. Make sure all your dogs are micro-chipped and tagged so that hopefully they never need to end up at the pound.

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