shelter recovery

Sam The Cat Recovered After Six Years!

cat face

Sam

This report was submitted by Sam’s Mom, Amy.
He recognized her after six years of being lost!

I found Sam as a feral kitten. He was the only kitten left in a litter that had been killed by a neighborhood dog. When I finally caught him he was a nasty little ball of hissing fluff, but he was safe. Eventually he came around and became a little more trusting of humans. I moved 3 hours away from my hometown where I lived with my significant other at the time out in the country and Sam was happy. He loved it there because he could be indoors but still go outdoors when he wanted. He had never really been able to adjust to being a strictly indoor cat.

I worked at the local animal shelter and I got all of my pets microchipped while I worked there. I learned that it was such a wonderful way to protect my pets that I loved so very much. When my relationship ended I needed to move back to my hometown but I knew that Sam would be miserable there. I would be living in town, where it wouldn’t be safe for him to be outside. It was a heartbreaking decision but at the time, what I felt would be the best option for his happiness. I know now that I was pretty naive to think that. In almost every instance, no one else is going to love your pet as much as you do…. I kept his microchip info in my name and updated it to my new info.

I found out that shortly after moving that my ex, for whatever reason, had to move and he just left Sam there. I made several trips back and forth, putting up signs around town and at the shelter where I used to work. I contacted the animal control officers and had them set out live traps as well as ride thru from time to time when they could. 6 years passed and every timeSam the cat I moved or got a new phone number, I updated his microchip info. Then one day, out of the blue, I got a call from that old shelter saying they had a cat named Sam there whose microchip was registered to me. He had been turned in by an elderly lady as her cat. She wanted him put down because he bit her! They said he acted quite feral and he was very sick. Luckily, instead of just taking her at her word, they managed to scan Sam for a chip.
Six years he’d been gone. Had he turned feral again? Would he remember me? Was he going to be ok? I took a day off and rushed the three hours back to to pick him up. When I got there I walked up to the cage and he was huddled up in the back corner hissing. I called him “Sam Sam” as I used to do and he instantly walked to the front and I rubbed his head thru the bars. He was really snotty and sneezy and a little underweight but I’d imagined a lot worse on my long trip there. He was still my Sam Sam. He remembered me. I was so happy to have him back. We made the long trip back and many many trips later to the vet he was finally on the mend. He still hates being indoors all the time but he is now an indoor only cat.

Why can't I go out?

Why can’t I go out?

He’s 13 now and still as frisky and playful as he ever was. No he’s not happy about not being able to go outside and he watches doors like a hawk just trying to catch a moment to dart out but we are very careful. We keep him busy with lots of toys and windows to lay in. This was all about three years ago and he is doing well. Happy and healthy and very much loved. He is affectionately nicknamed Sam the ginger-haired jerk. He shares a home with a 13 year old female cat I rescued from my old shelter, a 13 year old min pin and a 5 year old rat terrier. A crazy happy little family

OBJECT LESSON:
1 Get your pet microchipped!
2. Keep the microchip registration up to date!
3. If you find a pet and the microchip information is outdated, Pet FBI may be able to help.you. We have a volunteer who has access to non-public  subscription databases. He can cross reference and usually can come up with current contact info. Just use the contact link at the bottom of this page.

 

Long Missing Cat Reunited !

Spooky has been missing from his Delaware County home since September. Our Capital Area Humane Society volunteer Lisa R. recognized him from his Pet FBI Ohio post when she was checking out new arrivals at the shelter. Ten-year-old Spooky is now microchipped and on his way home to reunite with his kitty sister. Mom and Dad want to thank the Good Samaritan who brought him in.

Moral of the Story for Pet Parents:  Don’t give up hope too soon!
Moral of the Story for Shelters: Please take advantage of the lost and found pet database at PetFBI.org! Assign a volunteer to follow and post reports. People cannot get to the shelter often enough and long enough to assure recovery! 

“Chaos” Reclaimed at Shelter Thanks to Tip From Facebook Follower

lost dog recovered held by child

“Chaos” reunited with his “big brother”

This sweet pooch shown here with his happy “big brother” had escaped the yard and been picked up and taken to Franklin County Dog Shelter in Columbus, OH. His family had posted his picture on the Pet FBI Ohio Facebook page. Fortunately, Nicole, one of our Facebook followers, spotted him at the shelter, remembered his post and alerted the family. A happy reunion ensued.

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: Most lost pets are reunited through a shelter.
REALITY CHECK: Relatively few strays are reclaimed before being euthanized or adopted out to others.

According to a study done by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) only 17-30% of dogs in shelters are ever reclaimed by their owners and only 2-5 % of cats. Why so few? Basically it’s a question of timing. At most shelters, dogs and especially cats can be held for only a limited time. If the pet’s family isn’t there at the critical time…. that pet will either be put down or adopted out. Most shelters do not post their intakes to a public database. Most owners cannot check the shelters as often as necessary and it is generally useless to just call or even send a flyer. You must go to a shelter in person and see for yourself. In a large urban shelter there may be hundreds of cats and / or dogs impounded at any time. Please encourage your local shelter to take advantage of the free, searchable database at petfbi.org.

Shelter Statistics or Why the Odds of Finding Your Lost Pet at a Shelter are Against You

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: Most lost pets are reunited through a shelter.

REALITY CHECK: Relatively few strays are reclaimed before being euthanized or adopted out to others.

What is the recovery rate for stray dogs in shelters?Dog in Shelter

According to the ASPCA “About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners. [2/3 vs. 1/3]” But only 17-30% of dogs are ever reclaimed by their owner. (See the ASPCA’s page on Shelter Statistics https://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics)

 

What is the recovery rate for stray cats in shelters?cats in shelter

For cats the stats are truly appalling – only 2 – 5% of cats ever get reclaimed.

(See The Humane Society of the United States site: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/facts/pet_ownership_statistics.html ) In major metropolitan areas like Columbus, OH, for example, the numbers may even be worse. Of the 6,000+ cats taken in by Franklin County’s only open admission shelter in calendar year 2014, only 27 were successfully reunited and half of those only because they had a microchip.

Why is the recovery rate so low?

Given the odds against people getting to the shelter during that very small window of time when their pet might still be there, it is little wonder that the recovery rate is so low. Dogs have a better chance because they get picked up sooner and most states have laws requiring a minimum holding period for dogs. It may only be a few days or weeks for dogs, but in most states there is no mandated holding period for cats. In “kitten season” it is not unusual for a cat turned in to a shelter to be euthanized the same day. There is simply no holding space in adoption wards already full of more adoptable kittens.

What can be done to help people recover their lost pets in shelters?

If there were a generally accepted protocol for shelters of posting all strays to a public database it would save a lot of lives. This would spare people the trouble of having to get to one or more shelters almost every day when often the shelters are located on the other side of town and are only open at certain hours. Many sensitive people dread going to shelters and having to look at all those little faces knowing many if them are doomed.

Why Don’t Shelters Post Their Lost Pet Intakes?

Few shelters take advantage of available recent technology to post their intakes. Some shelter management software products have a module that facilitates posting lost pet intakes to the net, but they are usually very expensive and far out of reach for private humane societies. Fortunately, there are some free public databases that any shelter could use, including PetFBI.org. Which is strictly non-commercial and absolutely free, but there is a reluctance on the part of shelters to post stray intakes. The reason given is that they don’t want to invite “shopping”. Apparently there are people with dishonest motives who will claim a purebred dog, for example, with the intention of re-selling it. Or they will claim a breed of dog perceived as a “fighting” breed with the intention of fighting it. (Dog fighting is a cruel “sport” that is much more widespread than imagined.) But I find it hard to accept this reason as an obstacle to not posting strays. Surely, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks and people who claim an impounded animal have to pay a redemption fee. It is unlikely the same person would claim a pet fraudulently more than once.

How would posting lost pets to a public database help shelters?

A necessary condition of course would be that people know they can look online without having to call or come to the shelter. It would still be necessary to come in whenever there is a likely match, but people would be less likely to give up too soon. This would also ease things for shelters. If more of their “stray” intakes were reclaimed, it would lower their euthanasia rate, increase their adoption rate, and save them the trouble of dealing with repeated phone calls and visitors needing to go through the holding areas. Of course, there will always be some cases where it is absolutely necessary to go to the shelter (s). Many lost pets look so much alike.

Why Is There No Single Central Database?

Just as there is a national database for stolen cars, ideally, there would be one central database for lost and found pets. But realistically, this will never happen. There are multiple lost and found pet sites and most of them are for profit. Some offer useful contact services, like postcard mailings to many neighbors. Others offer services of dubious value like robo-calling or contacting shelters (You need to GO there in person!). Unfortunately a number of the online lost and found pet services are really just out to make a quick buck by exploiting people’s desperation. (This is possibly another factor why shelters are wary of online lost and found pet databases.)

What is a good resource for people who have lost or found a pet and for shelters? In 1998, Pet FBI was set up as a public database for individuals and shelters to use. Over the past 17 years it has evolved into the best designed and easiest to use public database online, strictly non-commercial and free. Pet families and Good Samaritans can readily connect before the stray needs to be turned into the shelter. There are many people who are hesitant to take a stray to the shelter because of the risks for the animal. Yet, the shelter is the obvious place a pet owner would look for their lost pet so shelters should have someone dedicated to searching reports of lost pets online. There are numerous sources of information besides the various databases. There are Facebook pages, Craigslist and newspaper classifieds. Even Twitter and Instagram are possible sources of information. Unfortunately, with the current state of affairs, anyone who has lost or found a pet needs to turn over many stones.

However, our experience with Pet FBI has shown that by achieving a critical mass of users reunion rates in excess of 35% for cats and 50% for dogs can be achieved. This is our documented success rate in Ohio where we have been helping people recover lost pets since 1998. In May of 2014 we overhauled the Pet FBI web site and database to service the entire United States and Puerto Rico. Already we have the largest database of lost and found pets anywhere online. (Just do a random comparative search!) Our national success rate is about 20% and growing steadily. In addition to the database we have comprehensive advice and contact information for other reliable resources. There is a great new feature: Once you post a report you will automatically be notified of any new potentially matching reports for 90 days. This system of automatic alerts is unique to Pet FBI.

Please help us save lives and by urging your local shelter to take advantage of this free resource. If they don’t want to use the Pet FBI database to post intakes, they should at least refer individuals to it.

More users = more happy reunions!