Article

Search and identification methods that owners use to find a lost dog

Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Impact Factor: 1.67). 02/2007; 230(2):211-6. DOI: 10.2460/javma.230.2.211
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To characterize the process by which owners search for lost dogs and identify factors associated with time to recovery.
Cross-sectional study.
Owners of 187 dogs lost in Montgomery County, Ohio, between June 1 and September 30, 2005.
A telephone survey was conducted.
132 of the 187 (71%) dogs were recovered; median time to recovery was 2 days (range, 0.5 to 21 days). Dogs were recovered primarily through a call or visit to an animal agency (46 [34.8%]), a dog license tag (24 [18.2%]), and posting of neighborhood signs (20 [15.2%]). Eighty-nine (48%) dogs had some type of identification at the time they were lost (ie, identification tag, dog license tag, rabies tag, or microchip). Owners had a higher likelihood of recovery when they called an animal agency (hazard ratio, 2.1), visited an animal agency (1.8), and posted neighborhood signs. Dogs that were wearing a dog license tag also had a higher likelihood of recovery (hazard ratio, 1.6). Owners were less likely to recover their dogs if they believed their dogs were stolen (hazard ratio, 0.3).
Results suggest that various factors are associated with the likelihood that owners will recover a lost dog. Both animal agencies and veterinarians can play a role in educating dog owners on the importance of identification tags, licensing, and microchips and can help to emphasize the importance of having a search plan in case a dog is lost.

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    Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 02/2007; 230(2):217-20. DOI:10.2460/javma.230.2.217 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To characterize the process by which people who find lost pets search for the owners. Cross-sectional study. Sample Population-188 individuals who found a lost pet in Dayton, Ohio, between March 1 and June 30, 2006. Procedures-Potential participants were identified as a result of contact with a local animal agency or placement of an advertisement in the local newspaper. A telephone survey was conducted to identify methods participants used to find the pets' owners. 156 of 188 (83%) individuals completed the survey. Fifty-nine of the 156 (38%) pets were reunited with their owners; median time to reunification was 2 days (range, 0.5 to 45 days). Only 1 (3%) cat owner was found, compared with 58 (46%) dog owners. Pet owners were found as a result of information provided by an animal agency (25%), placement of a newspaper advertisement (24%), walking the neighborhood (19%), signs in the neighborhood (15%), information on a pet tag (10%), and other methods (7%). Most finders (87%) considered it extremely important to find the owner, yet only 13 (8%) initially surrendered the found pet to an animal agency. The primary reason people did not surrender found pets was fear of euthanasia (57%). Only 97 (62%) individuals were aware they could run a found-pet advertisement in the newspaper at no charge, and only 1 person who was unaware of the no-charge policy placed an advertisement. Veterinarians and shelters can help educate people who find lost pets about methods to search for the pets' owners.
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