Missing pets still a mystery, but keep yours from being next

Monday, December 22, 2014

Staff and volunteers at the McCook Humane Society know a lot about missing pets, but that's usually because they are on the receiving end of them.

What's different this time is that the dogs aren't wating at the shelter on South Street in McCook to be returned to their owners.

"These dogs are not showing up as strays here at the shelter, so we are concerned about their welfare," said Lori Prestes, shelter director for the McCook Humane Society.

"Please keep an extra diligent eye on your furry family members, especially those of the yellow Lab persuation, and if you see anything suspicious, please let the local law anforcement know."

The executive director at the Central Nebraska Humane Society in Grand Island didn't mention a breed, but had a similar message -- a spike in missing dogs.

"Don't assume that because you have a fenced-in back yard that your animal is safe," said Laurie Dethloff, executive director.

Make sure your dog has a good collar with an ID tag, but in case it breaks or is removed, microchi.pping and/or tattooing are excellent ways to ensure their safety.

If your pet ends up at a research or medical facility, the researchers are required by law to look for any tattoos, and if one is found, they must trace the pet back to the owner.

Microchips are a parmanent radio-frequency identification chip implanted under the animals skin and read by a chip scanner or wand. Implantation is done with a simple injection that places the chip under the loose skin over the animal's shoulder.

A scanner can read the identifying information through the skin and compare it to a regional or national data base to locate the owners.

Tattooing your cat or dog is another good idea, but not on the ear -- which can be cut off to remove evidence.

For safety and other reasons, have your pet spayed or neutered. Animals that aren't spayed or neutered often stray from home while looking to mate, and in some states, can be sold to a research lab through a practice called a "pound seizure."

Other tips:

* Don't allow your pet to be visible from the street.

* Don't leave your dog tied up outside restaurants or stores.

* Don't leave any animal unattended in your car, even if it's "just for a minute.

* Don't use "free to a good home" ads to place companion animals. These are often answered by Class B Dealers -- contact an animal shelter or rescue group instead.

If you have any information about who might have taken the missing dogs, contact a local law enforcement agency.

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