General advice: What do you do if you find a cat or dog? What do you do if you lose a cat or dog? Our advice is given below along with phone numbers and links to relevant organisations who can help you.
Many owners could so easily avoid the trauma of losing their pets. Do you keep a collar and disc on your pet, even in the house? Nobody intends to leave doors and gates open, but sooner or later someone will, and a missing pet with no identificatioan will inevitably have problems in being reunited with the owner. The requirement for dofs to be microchipped is clearly a great help in reuniting lost dogs, but this is effective only when owners and finders act responsibly.
Our long experience with missing and found dogs has taught us some basic lessons. Above all, a collar and disc will usually result in a speedy return, with relatively little expense and effort by all involvescd. Assuming the dog has been microchipped, the Dog Wardens, some vets and Welfare Societies (including Heswall) have the necessary scanners, but unfortunately many owners do not remember to arrange for the Microchip database to be updated if they change their address or particularly their telephone numbers. Similarly, the database must be updated if a dog is passed on to a new owner.
The first thing to do if your dog goes missing is to tell the Dog Wardens. Neither the police not the RSPCA in Wirral are able to deal with lost dogs, although the RSPCA may be involved if the dog is injured. It may not have occurred to you, but do you know if your dog has any distinctive markings, or what breed it resembles? If you are within a few miles of the County boundary, you should tell both Wirral and Cheshire West & Chester Dog Wardens. At weekends and outside normal office hours it will be more difficult to contact Dog Wardens. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for telephone numbers.
The next stage is to tell the Animal Welfare societies and also the Vets, not only locally but also further afield, since sometimes people find an injured animal and take it to their own vet many miles away, and report it only in their own district. After a few days, check again to make sure your first calls were noted and remembered. If you use Facebook, this can be a very effective way to inform your friends and spread the word.
There are things you can do in your neighbourhood, such as putting notices (if possible with a photograph) in shops, in open spaces and anywhere dog-walkers may be found. Tell paper boys, postmen and milkmen, and make sure there is a phone number which will be answered if the dog is sighted. There are occasions when a dog is found but not declared, and it is only the publicity which causes the finder to think twice and not risk being accused of theft.
The more the owner does to try to find a missing animal, by advertising and contacting as many people and organisations as possible, the more successful will be the likely outcome . When you eventually find your dog, please remember to inform all those people and organisations you have previously contacted, so that they can record that the dog is found and end their own attempts to find it. It can be frustrating to have spent a lot of time trying to locate a missing dog, only to find that it has been reunited with its owner and nobody has bothered to tell you!
If you find a dog, you must by Law report it to a Dog Warden. Outside normal working hours you may not be able to speak directly to a Dog Warden, and you may have to keep the dog until the Dog Warden’s premises are open. The Dog Warden may wish to see the dog to check if it has been microchipped, but if you are the finder and wish to keep the dog if it is unclaimed, it should be possible for you to keep the dog by arrangement with the Dog Warden, but you have to allow 28 days in which the owner can claim the dog before you can consider it yours.
The telephone numbers for the Dog Wardens are as follows:
Birkenhead (covering the Merseyside part of the Wirral): 0151-556 1220
Cheshire West & Chester (covering the Cheshire part of the Wirral): 0300 123 7038
Arrangements outside normal hours (i.e. evenings and weekends):
Birkenhead: If you cannot keep the dog until the Council Kennels are open, you can ring 0151-556 1220. You may then be expected to take the dog yourself to the kennels, where you will be met at an agreed time.
Cheshire West & Chester: Ring 0300 123 7035 to contact the Dog Warden. In evenings and at weekends, dogs go to Acorn Kennels, Heath Road, Whitchurch, SY13 2AA. Tel: 01948 662 931.
If a cat turns up on your doorstep, it isn’t necessarily lost or abandoned! If you believe it is a stray, and start to feed it and give it shelter, it may well decide to remain with you. You must then be prepared to take responsibility for looking after it and paying for any veterinary treatment which may be necessary.
There is no single system for recording details of all lost or found cats on the Wirral. If you lose a cat, we advise you to advertise widely, to enquire a Vets and animal rescue charities, including the Wallasey RSPCA, and ask neighbours to look in sheds and buildings in case it is trapped inside. Many cats are now microchipped, especially the less common breeds, so if you find a cat for which you need to trace the owner, you need to go to a Vets to have the animal scanned. PetLog have a system for reporting lost animals which have been microchipped.