Lost Search Procedure: Searching for a Matching Found or Stray record


This procedure applies to persons notifying you of their lost pet. I.e. the owner/guardian is known, but the pet's current whereabouts is not.

  1. Go to the Advanced Animal Search from the Welcome / Search Page.
    1. Search Group: click on the down arrow to select the search group FOUND (or similar as applicable to your local settings)
    2. Type: click on the down arrow to select the type of animal you are searching for.
    3. Date In / Found: click on the Calendar Icon to select the date. Enter the date the animal went missing or was last seen.  If they guess at a date, enter the date two days prior to the date guessed to avoid missing any possible matches
    4. Do not enter any specific detail about the animal e.g. breed, gender, colour or city/suburb lost. The search will only return files that match this information exactly so if someone has described the animal slightly differently (e.g. Tan vs Red or Grey vs Blue), or if the animal has strayed across a suburb's boundary line, then you will miss the match. Remember, even if the animal is pure bred the person who found it may misidentify it (e.g. Ragdoll vs Birman or English Staffordshire Bull Terrier vs American Staffordshire Bull Terrier). If it is a rare breed, the person may not realise what it is at all and may therefore describe it as a generic cross breed (e.g. "Terrier" or "Cross breed"). The less information entered during this stage of the search, the greater your chances of successfully matching the animal. 
    5. Click Search. This will take you to the Animal Search Results page with a list of all possible matches.
  2. Look through the list for any obvious breed matches.
    1. Breeds are listed alphabetically, so if you’re looking for a small dog you can skip any breed that would obviously be too large and vice versa
    2. Remember you may need to get a little creative if looking for a cross or mixed breed animal: short hair to one person is medium hair to another, and many breeds and colours are confused by people who are either not familiar with animals or misinformed. Try to imagine how else the animal may be described other than the information you have. (E.g. If you’re looking for a German Shorthair Pointer mix, you may also want to look for Pointers in general – or branch out an look at Labradors if the dog happens to be brown or black.)
  3. Check the bottom of the screen to see if there are any additional pages to view. Click on the page numbers to move from page to page.
  4. Next, look for any matches on Colour, or any colours listed that are similar to that of the lost animal. Colour is especially useful for mixed breeds where a primary breed is not blatantly obvious. Beware of commonly confused colours, such as Tabby and Tortoiseshell for cats or Sable and Brindle for dogs.
  5. Gender is a useful secondary identifier, though neutered male cats can commonly be mistaken for females. It’s a good idea to still consider all animal records that could be a match regardless of gender.  The gender of the animal may have been unclear to the finder.
  6. City is also useful as a secondary identifier. People can put animals in a car and drive long distances, animals can jump in cars of their own accord, and animals themselves are not confined to road travel, thus can cover large distances/many cities if lost. When considering the city as an identifier, consider how far the animal could have travelled.
  7. Other Identifiers, such as microchip numbers, shelter/vet tags and other forms of identification are also displayed on the search return page and can assist in guiding matches. The “Tattoo/Other form of Identification” is particularly useful for recording outstanding distinguishing features, such as missing limbs or the presence of breeder tattoos.
  8. If you find something that may be a match, click on the Edit link of that file. This will take you to that animal’s Edit Animal Details page where you can look at all of the details on file to see if this could be a possible match
  9. Document the Animal ID of all possible matches. You can apply the Possible Match process to these later if they seem sound matches. 
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