Anyone that cares for pets or even livestock knows that animals occasionally escape for a variety of reasons: a door gets left open and your dog slips out sneakily, the pig slips through an opening in a fence or a horse jumps the fence. We don't know how a horse in the Town of Laurens got out (pictured above) but it was discovered fortunately by an area resident who contacted New York State Police. Good news: the equine was reunited with its owner.

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That happens to be a happy ending story for there are plenty of dogs and cats which never get reunited with their owners for different reasons. The biggest reason is that well-meaning people who come upon a dog or cat that believe to be lost don't necessarily know the best way to reunite the animal with its owner.

I talked about this very issue with Delaware Valley Humane Society's Executive Director, Erin Insinga, who has tips on what to do when you find a lost pet and advice for pet owners.

Erin Insinga, Executive Director of Delaware Valley Humane Society
Erin Insinga, Executive Director of Delaware Valley Humane Society

Pet Owner Advice:
Erin says that lost pets happen so the best thing you can do is to get your dog or cat microchipped for easy identification. It's a quick procedure that a veterinarian performs that can save you a lot of heartache if your furry best budding goes missing.

Best Thing To Do When Discovering Someone's Lost Dog or Cat:
The first thing to do is call the local Animal Control Officer. Every town has one. DO NOT put a dog in your car! You don't know this dog (unless it belongs to someone you know) and it could seem friendly but end up biting you. Animal Control Officers are trained to handle strays and runaway animals so leave it up to the professionals! They also know how to go about reunited pets with owners.

If you come across what you think is a stray cat. Most of the time, they have an owner but are off wandering. If you feed a cat that shows up, it will continue to come back to you and that might prevent it from returning home. If the cat looks like it needs medical attention, that's different. Again, call an Animal Control Officer and they will take it from there. Insinga says that so many times, cats end up at her shelter who were clearly someone's pet and if the well-meaning person who picked up the cat and brought it in would have left it alone, the cat probably would have returned home.

Oh yeah, and if you see a horse, cow, or some other type of domestic livestock running around where it shouldn't be, then call the local police. They know what to do.

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