What To Do When You Find A Dog

You may have seen a dog walking around, looking out of sorts and think it might need some help, but you are not sure what to do. 

Here are some tips!

1.  Check whether the dog is microchipped.

All vets in Singapore provide free microchip scanning, so take the dog to any vet to scan for one. If the microchip is registered, you would be able to trace the dog's owner.

Using a microchip scanner, scan the dog to check if he is microchipped. 

2.  Examine and monitor - does the dog look unwell, dehydrated or hurt?

If so, take it to the vet immediately.

3.  Investigate. Do a due diligence check.

- Is this the first time you have seen the dog? Is he/she injured? What is his/her condition?
- Is the dog wearing a collar? Is there a tag with a telephone number on it?
- Walk around the vicinity and ask if people have seen the dog and if they know who the owner is.
- Not all dogs are abandoned; some are genuinely lost. Long nails and unkempt fur are often signs of abandonment. Dogs that are constantly looking around are most likely lost. Look out for these signs. It is unfair to the dog and owner if you rehome it before making the effort to search for the owners and reunite them.
- If you find someone to foster the dog temporarily, please ensure you take details of the person fostering the dog.

4.  Inform the relevant authorities.

- Agri-food Veterinary Authority of Singapore (ava_cawc@ava.gov.sg; 1800 476 1600)

- SPCA (shelter@spca.org.sg; 62875355 ext 25)

- Pet-Call (info@petcall.org; 6741-8466)

State the date, time and location where you found the dog; the dog’s breed, gender and colour; whether it was wearing a collar / harness/ leash; and if the dog is microchipped, the microchip number.

5.  Spread the word. Word of mouth is powerful.

 - Share the lost dog's information on Facebook, Instagram and any other social media.

- Contact various dog welfare organizations and ask for help to pass the word around.

6.  Advertise.

Place advertisements in The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao. 

* To post an ad on The Straits Times, go to www.stclassifieds.sg/placead. Include the following details:
- Date and time found
- Location
- Sex
- Breed
- Colour of dog
- If he/she was wearing a collar/has a microchip, etc

Do NOT state the microchip number in the papers. The real owner will be able to provide you with the microchip number and AVA license number. 

*  To post an ad on Lianhe Zaobao, call (65) 6319-8228.

7.  Put up “Dog Found” posters.

The conventional way could be the most effective way. Put up posters around the vicinity where you found the dog. Include the following details:

- A clear photo of the dog
- Date, time and location where it was found
- If it was wearing a collar (colour of collar / material of collar)
- Your contact number

Sample poster. Paste in the vicinity of where the dog was found. 

8.  Search for a foster home for the dog or place it in a boarding kennel temporarily.

Do not expect to find its owner immediately; the search may take a few days or even a few months. Ensure that the dog is safe and well taken care of during this time. Be patient and keep up your efforts to find the owner.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you have done all of the above but are still unable to find the owner after three weeks, you can start looking for potential families to adopt the dog. In this case, here’s what you have to do:

1.You MUST let the new adopter know that it was a lost dog. 

2.If the previous owner shows up to claim the dog, the new adopter should be prepared to return the dog to its rightful owner, unless the owner decides to give up the dog to them. 

3.Ensure that a proper handover is done. This includes passing the new adopter AVA licenses, microchipping details, vaccination and sterilization certificates and any other important information of the dog. This could include his/her lifestyle habits, any health or medical condition, if he/she gets along with other dogs/children, etc. These would help the new adopter to be better prepared for the dog and help the dog better adapt to its new environment as well.        
Last but not least, make sure that the dog has been microchipped, vaccinated and sterilized before he/she is rehomed. Doing so protects the dog and yourself. You would not want to encounter a situation where the new owner does not vaccinate and sterilize the dog. And should the dog get lost, he/she could end up sold to breeders and turned into a breeding dog. Sterilize and vaccinate the dog to avoid such scenarios and spare yourself these nightmares and sleepless nights.