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Compliments of Operation Kindness For Hernando County Animal Services, Inc.







“Oh Where, Oh Where Can He Be?”

What to do if Your Pet is Missing

Few things are more devastating than losing your family pet. Here are some steps to take to ensure that your pet gets home safe and secure.


  • First, thoroughly check your property. Cats and dogs can get into places that you’d never expect! They may also remain in that spot if they are frightened, or physically unable to free themselves.

  • If your pet is not found on your property, the next step is to search your neighborhood. Most pets are recovered well within a 2-mile perimeter of their home. Talk with everyone you meet and leave a description of your pet as well as your number ( leave your name or address and let your child go door to door unaccompanied by an adult.)

  • Post flyers on brightly colored paper in your neighborhood. If possible, place a photo of your pet on each flyer. Include the to your neighborhood, place flyers at intersections controlled by traffic signals, grocery store entrances and exits, and at local dog parks.

  • Once you are home, speak to your postal worker about your missing pet, providing a description and picture if available. Your postal worker has extensive contact with people in your neighborhood and can also be canvassing the area while he is delivering mail.

  • While home, Place strong-scented articles outside your home to attract your pet (i.e. some of your dirty clothes, your cat’s litter box or your dog’s favorite toy.) Never leave food as that may attract stray or wild animals.

  • Contact AND visit animal shelters in your area. If you live in Hernando County, these shelters include


        Hernando County Animal Services 352-796-5062

        Humane Society of the Nature Coast, Inc. 352-796-2711

        SPCA 352-596-7000

        Pasco County Animal Services 813-929-1212

        Citrus County Animal Control 352-746-8400

  • Don’t forget to also call local veterinarians’ offices, especially Animal Emergency Clinics. Even if your animal is not at one of these facilities, leave a description and photo. This way, they will have your contact information to give out should someone find your pet.

  • Place an ad in the lost and found section of your local paper. Be sure to advertise in the Sunday edition as well as during the week. Then, check the newspaper “found ads” everyday ( respond to a pet ad alone! Bring a friend and meet in a public place).

  • Get online. Send descriptions to all of your contacts on facebook, twitter and other social media sites. Ask your friends to share this information on their sites as well.

  • Place notices on and monitor the following web sites:

  • Craig’s list is another site to report a lost or found animal. In addition to checking this section, also review the “pets for sale” section should your animal have been stolen and put up for sale.

  • If your animal has a microchip, contact the microchip company as soon as you realize that the animal is missing to ensure that they have the correct information on file. Most microchip companies will then send out an alert to local veterinary offices and shelters.

  • An innovative way to get the word out is to write a message on your car windows. As you drive around, you will be getting your message out to 100’s of people. Be careful not to block your view.



Once your animal has been located, there are steps you can take to decrease the likelihood that this will happen again.


 1.  If not already done, make arrangements to have your animal spayed or neutered.           

  1. Get a microchip implanted and if your animal already has a chip, contact the microchip company to confirm that your animal is properly registered and that the correct information is on file. Remember, they can’t contact you if they don’t have your updated information.

  2. Make sure your pet is current on its vaccinations and has a county license.

  3. ID tags with phone number(s) and other pertinent information can be purchased at local pet shops. Be sure to have a new one made yearly or whenever the information on the tag begins to fade.

  4. Pet proof your yard. Check your fence for new escape routes on a regular basis and make sure that the locks are secure.

  5. Take clear photographs of your animal and update them regularly.

  6. Consider changing your collar to a martingale, which is specifically designed so that animals cannot slip out of them.

  7. Provide your animal with exercise, toys and other distractions so that they do not get bored and feel the need to leave home.

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