Found a hound or caught a cat and want to reunite it with its owner? Wellington Shire Council wants to remind community members that using Facebook ‘lost and found’ pages and other social media sites to help animals get back home can be risky.
When people lose a pet, the first place most call is Council, so it makes sense to report a found animal to the pound.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor Alan Hall noted that Council has access to a range of microchip databases and can perform a wide search to locate the owner of a lost animal.
“Council also has access to information about whether a dog is dangerous, has a control order or has other behavioural problems,” he said.
“People who run websites and Facebook pages can’t know about these issues.”
Using social media ‘lost and found’ sites risks handing over a prized pooch or puss to the wrong person or sending an animal home that might pose a risk to other animals or people.
Wellington Shire and Animal Aid in Sale work together to reunite animals with their owners. A ranger will often directly return a registered animal to its home. Animals will be taken to the pound if there is a history of the animal wandering or the owner is uncontactable.
In a recent 12-month period, some 723 animals were impounded. Of those, 497 were returned to their owners, 182 were rehomed and some animals are still waiting to find a new owner. There are no time limits on how long an animal stays at the Animal Aid-run pound.
Only 1775 of the shire’s estimated 8000 cats are registered, which makes identifying a cat and reuniting it with its owner difficult. Victorian law mandates chipping and registering all cats and dogs over three months old.
The best way to report a lost or found pet is to contact the Wellington Shire Council on 1300 366 244.
Further information on reuniting pets with their owners can be found at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/pages/lost-and-impounded-animals