If You Lose Or Find A Pet, Then What?



Pets are lost every day. Some escape because the owners did not adequately secure their yard while others are very skilled escape artists. Dogs jump out of cars and trucks or run if frightened or a good opportunity arises.

According to Don Tanner of Payson Animal Control, most lost dogs are found, but current identification makes a big difference.


Mike Spaulding, Gila County Rabies Control officer, scans for a microchip. This is an important part of the procedure when a dog is brought to the Payson Humane Society.

If you lose or find a dog, immediately call the Payson Humane Society, (928) 474-5590, which serves as a clearing house for lost and found pets.

If an animal is found with identification, the owner is contacted immediately. Without identification, the dog is brought to the humane society where he is scanned for a microchip. If a chip is found, the 800 number is called and the owner will be notified. Otherwise, a description of the dog is entered into the log book along with the date and the area where he was found. When an owner calls to see if their pet has been found, the staff at the shelter will check the book. Whether the animal is found alive and healthy, injured or dead, it will be noted in the log book. If you lose a pet, check back regularly and be sure to stop by the shelter and walk through the kennel area to see if your dog is there.

It is also helpful to contact the proper animal control department. If you lose or find a dog in the county, call Gila County Rabies Control, (928) 474-1210. Mike Spaulding and Denny Harger are the officers in charge. If the dog is missing or found in Payson, call Payson Animal Control, (928) 474-5177, ext. 253, and Officer Don Tanner will assist you.
There are other steps to take if you lose a pet. Local radio stations will sometimes announce over the air about a missing pet. Put fliers, including a photo if possible, up at local markets, gas stations, restaurants, the post office and wherever people gather. Don't quit looking.

If your pet is turned into the humane society, he will be kept for 72 hours or three working days. All entering dogs are given the 5 in 1 shot, plus bordetella, which prevents kennel cough. If you claim your dog within the 72 hours, you will be required to pay a $20 impound fee, a $5 or $7 per day boarding fee, depending on whether you are county or city, and a $6 fee for shots. Before any dog can leave the shelter, he must also be licensed, which requires a rabies shot. Since only a veterinarian can administer the rabies vaccine, a deposit is left at the shelter and when the pet gets the shot and the receipt is brought to the shelter, the deposit will be returned.

After three working days, the dog becomes the property of the humane society and an owner would have to go through the normal adoption procedure to get the dog back. After three days, if the dog is deemed unadoptable, he would be euthanized.

When a dog is found injured or killed, every effort is made to contact the owner immediately. Permission is required from the owner before veterinary treatment can be given. The owner must meet the officer at the vet clinic or make arrangements with the vet for treatment. dead dog will be taken to the humane society and kept in the freezer. The owner has three days to identify him.

If an injured animal is found without identification, he will be transported to the humane society. He will be scanned for a microchip and if a chip is found, the owner will be notified. With no identification, if the injuries are life threatening, he will most likely be euthanized. If a dog is found with minimal injuries, the humane society staff will clean and treat the wounds. The humane society does not have funds for treating serious injuries. If an injured animal does receive veterinary treatment and the owner is later found, the owner will be required to pay the vet bill. If he refuses, the dog could be put up for adoption.

The best insurance for finding a lost pet is adequate identification. A secure collar with license and current personal ID tag insures a swift recovery. Don Tanner states, "A license is not just required by law, it is a homing device." A microchip is an inexpensive way to guarantee that your pet can always be identified.

There are stories about dogs finding their way home after several years and over a distance of hundreds of miles. Proper identification, including a microchip, brings the dog home quickly with less stress and worry for both the dog and the owner.


  • The Payson Humane Society has $20 coupons to help with the cost of spay or neutering your pet. Call for information.
  • There will be a Rabies clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19 at the Main Street Animal Clinic. Dr. Jacque Rosholm will give the shots. Dogs, cats and ferrets are welcome. State law requires that all dogs 4 months old or older must be vaccinated for rabies and licensed. The fee will be $10 for the rabies shot plus the cost of the license. Licenses will be available at the shot clinic. Cash only please.

Christy Wrather is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.

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