Local group on a mission to reunite lost pets

Supporters of the Lost and Found Pets in Bristol/South Glos group on their stand at the 2016 Bradley Stoke Community Festival.

Pet owners in the area surrounding Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford have access to a very helpful Facebook group, called Lost and Found Pets in Bristol/South Glos. The group has over 17,000 members in the area and is very useful for pet owners. The group was set up by Michelle Pibworth in April 2012 when her own cat Whisky went missing. He was found two weeks later, miles from home.

The group seeks to reunite missing pets with their owners and also to provide support when a pet is missing. The group is free to join through a “request” button which is promptly verified, and the group is available at any time of day to post enquiries.

Members can request to join to the search list for the areas they wish to cover and, should a pet go missing or be found in the area, members will be tagged in relevant posts that might help them.

Sarah Fowler, one of the group’s administrators, says:

“We provide members with the contact details for the dog warden and vets, including out of hours numbers. We use our other resources to help owners find their pets, or help contact the owner as soon as possible, especially when a dog is found or missing, as the sooner the dog is reunited with its owner the less stress it is for the dog.”

The group recommends that cats are neutered, ideally before “tomming” season, as male cats can wander for miles looking for females and can easily get themselves lost. If a cat is not chipped, it can be taken to a rescue centre as a stray, and the cat can then be re-homed.

In the case of identifying a stray cat, Sarah advises:

“If you find a cat you think may be a stray, it is recommended that you make a paper collar by getting an A4 piece of paper and cutting to the size and shape of a collar, adding your number and asking the owner to contact you. This can take a few attempts as cats can get the collars off before returning home.”

It has been law for several years now that dogs should wear a collar and tag with owners’ contact details, but as from 1st April 2016 it has been law to have your dog chipped and contact details up to date. Both of these help get dogs reunited quickly with their owners. If a dog is not chipped or contact details not up to date, the dog warden can issue the owner with a 21 day notice to get this done. If not done after 21 days, the dog owner would become liable for a £500 fine.

The Facebook group has helped local pet owners with several cases. One example includes a lurcher from Ormonds Close who had escaped from her house. The owner was very worried. The owner joined the group and published a post for her missing dog, who by then had been missing for five hours. The group tagged local members in the post. A member who lives in Ormonds Close had seen the dog warden collect the dog earlier that morning. The administrators said: “We gave the owner the contact details for the dog warden and they were happily reunited.”

Another example was a cat from Bradley Stoke who went missing on 17th April. His owner was quite worried as he had never disappeared before. A local member noticed a cat on Amberley Road, Stoke Lodge and published a post on 14th June asking if anyone knew the owner. Group members could see from the pictures on both posts that it was likely to be the same cat. The owner went to the area he was last seen and found her cat. The owner reported back that, “He was a bit matted but after a quick check up at the vets and some TLC, he settled back into his home quite quickly.”

Photos: Supporters of the Lost and Found Pets in Bristol/South Glos group on their stand at the 2016 Bradley Stoke Community Festival.

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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