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How To Find Your Lost Pet


PCAPS takes in stray animals found in Peoria County as well surrounding counties. If a stray animal has identification (rabies tag or microchip), PCAPS notifies the owner immediately. However, tags and microchips are not a guarantee. Collars can be removed, and microchips can migrate. PCAPS holds strays only three full working days before placing the animal up for adoption, or in the worst case, euthanizing the animal. Only you know what your pet looks like – you (or someone who knows what your animal looks like) must begin looking for your pet immediately.

The top three things you can do to help find your pet:

Start looking for your pet immediately – both in your neighborhood and at the local shelters.
Don’t stop looking – people have found their pets sometimes weeks later.
Check shelters every day.

The most important thing to remember is to keep a tag on your pet at all times. It’s their only way home!

If you've lost your pet:

  • Visit the local animal shelters immediately and view the animals. Ask about animals that were brought in dead. PCAPS is the only animal shelter in Peoria County, but you may obtain a list of other shelters in surrounding areas while at PCAPS.
  • Contact waste removal companies and highway departments. They may be able to tell you if your pet was found dead on the road.
  • Plan to visit the shelters at least once every three days. Only you know what your pet looks like. Do not rely on phone calls. Shelters handle thousands of animals and may easily fail to recognize a stray animal from a written or verbal description.
  • If you're missing your cat, be sure to check inside your home thoroughly. Sometimes cats may get mistakenly shut in closets or cupboards. And, check immediately outside your home- under the porch, in bushes, or at your neighbors' homes. Inside cats suddenly faced with the outdoors may panic and hide. Many times they're too frightened to even respond to your voice, so check thoroughly.
  • Place an ad in area newspapers alerting someone who has found your pet to contact you immediately. Offer a reward if possible.
  • Continuously check found pet ads.
  • Contact veterinary offices in your area to see if the animal was brought to them injured. Or, if a stranger has found and kept your pet, they may take it in for a veterinary examination.
  • Post notices in local grocery stores, laundromats, on utility poles, etc. near the area the animal was lost.
  • Talk to your mail carrier, newspaper carrier, and neighborhood children to learn if they've seen your pet. Inform them of any reward.
  • Search: Walk and drive through the neighborhood looking for and calling for your pet. Talk to neighbors and anyone who may have been working in the area such as lawn caretakers, street crews, and meter readers. Check parks, schools, and other homes- any place the animal may have gone for food or shelter. If your pet is frightened or injured, it may be hiding. Check under cars, porches, or in window wells and trees.
  • If the lost pet is a purebred dog, contact breed specific placement groups and local kennel clubs.
  • Above all, never give up hope. It may be a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks before you find your pet. Your success is dependent upon your continuous effort.


  • Keep a collar on your pet at all times with a current rabies registration tag and an identification tag with your name, address, and phone.
  • Keep your pet confined to your property at all times.
  • Have your pet microchipped- permanent identification. Consult your veterinarian for more information.

If you've found an animal:

  • If the animal is wearing a rabies tag, call PCAPS to trace the owner.
  • Contact the owner immediately and arrange for the animal's return.
  • If the pet is not wearing a tag, visit your veterinarian or PCAPS to have the animal scanned for a microchip. If a microchip is detected, the number can be traced to locate the owner.
  • Report the animal's description and condition to PCAPS and other local shelters.
  • Keep the animal confined for its own protection.
  • Look for lost pet fliers in your area.
  • Place a found ad in the local newspaper's lost and found section.
  • If you cannot keep the animal confined, please call PCAPS or take it to the shelter. Most pet owners will visit the shelter for their lost pets. Lost animals left on their own become victim to being hit by car, or worse.

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