2 local shelters participate in national sheltering challenge to reunite lost pets with families

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 17:01:34-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center (NACC) and Portsmouth Humane Society (PHS) are participating in the Maddie’s Fund No Place Like Home challenge to help reunite lost pets with owners.

Both shelters say they are making improvements to their lost and found pet procedures with the hope of reuniting more pets with their families.

The No Place Like Home challenge offers a chance for shelters to get a portion of $150,000 in grant funding by taking steps to improve their lost pets practices.

NACC has a “Return to Owner” collaborative initiative to help staff exhaust all reunification options. The Norfolk Animal Protection Unit has frequently returned lost animals to their families before they get to the shelter by tracing pet ID tags and microchips.

The Portsmouth Humane Society is working to educate residents on what to do when they lose or find a pet. The shelter say their first step was to reframe the way it talked about lost pets.

“We saw hesitancy to look for lost pets due to inability to pay reclaim fees,” said Fechino. “The reclaim fees have been reduced, and found pets now go home with a leash, collar, and ID tag at no cost to help prevent them from getting lost again.”

The shelter says they are training a team of volunteers to act as case managers for each lost/found report received and to distribute toolkits to finders and pet owners that include flyers with images, door hangers, and social media graphics.

NACC and PHS advises all owners that all pets have a collar, ID tag, and microchip. Owners of lost pets should check local shelters and community boards, post flyers, and use social media to search for their animal.

Anyone who has found a pet must file a report with the municipal shelter in the city where the pet was found and is encouraged to try to find the owner if they’re comfortable doing so.

“Don’t let a found pet’s condition keep you from seeking the owner,” noted Fechino. “Sometimes pets are lost for a long time before being caught, so they may be dirty, matted, or skinny. We’ve received pets that were lost for months and even years.”

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