We've been looking for more lost dogs lately. Although we are glad to help out and bring these dogs home when they get loose, the key is to avoid the situation altogether with appropriate prevention. Here are some tips:
1. Check your fences to ensure they have withstood the wrath of winter and there aren't any holes, broken boards or gaps that could allow your hound to squeeze through to chase that cat that lives next door.
2. Do your gates close and latch? Do you have an extra latch clipped to your gate that would have to be removed in order to open that gate? If not, visit Home Depot today and pick up a $2.00 clip that can be attached to your gate and prevent accidental opening. Consider installing a spring-loaded automatic gate closing device to your gates. If you cannot see your gates from the inside of your house while your dogs are outside, padlock them.
3. Are there any holes under your fencing that your hounds could work on improving and allow them to slip under the fence? Get the holes filled in.
4. Are you careful to shut and secure your house doors as you leave so that your hounds cannot push the door open and follow?
5. If you have a hound that has to be pushed aside while you squeeze through the door opening to get outside, install a baby gate in the foyer, or at the stairs to keep your dog back away from the door. This allows you to come and go freely without worry and get those groceries in the door too. If your home is built so that these are not options for you, baby gate the hound in the kitchen or in another area of the house to prevent him or her from charging the door when you leave or come home.
6. Ok, you've taken all the appropriate precautions and somehow the dog has still escaped--DOES YOUR DOG HAVE A CURRENT GREYHOUND RESCUE, INC., DOG TAG WITH THE WV, MD AND VA PHONE NUMBERS? Does your dog have a tag with your name, phone number and/or address on it? Do you know how difficult it is to track down the owners of a dog without any tags, especially if someone who doesn't have a clue about Greyhounds finds this dog? Contact us if you need an updated three-number tag. Order a tag with your address and number for the dog to wear. Give your dog all the tools he or she should have or need to help them get back home quickly and safely should they escape. Consider micro-chipping your dogs. Make sure you keep a collar on your dog with current tags!
7. If you leave your hound with someone to watch, make sure they know who to call should the dog accidentally escape. Also affix a temporary tag to their collar with the dog sitter's phone number at a minimum. We have a wonderful network of Greyhound volunteers and groups that we can get the word out to when there is a loose dog but we need to be called FIRST.
8. If you are allowing your dog to run in a fenced-in field or area, check the gates to ensure they are secure before you let them off leash. If possible, post a person at the gates while the dog is running in the field as a back up measure.
9. Keep a leash on your dog at all times unless they are in an enclosed, fenced area that is well secured.
10. Make sure all of your immediate neighbors know that you have a Greyhound(s) and that if they see the dog out running unleashed without you--the dog has escaped and you need to be notified and helped.
11. Take a few close up pictures of your dogs--their face and a full body picture--to have on hand to use in case the need arises to launch a search campaign. These will be helpful to use on flyers to hand out to the neighborhood, mail carriers, UPS drivers, the police department, shelters, vet offices and others who are routinely driving through your area.
12. If your dog is loose, this is what we need from you to go into action:
- Color, Sex and Name of Your Hound
- The name of the street where he/she was last seen and closest major intersection(s)
- When your hound was last seen?
- Was the dog wearing any identification?
- Color of collar
- Is your hound friendly and outgoing or shy, spooky or timid?
- Provide all contact information
13. Call the appropriate contact number in MD, VA or WV. If no answer at the MD or VA number, call the WV number--they know how to reach us