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Missy is Missing in Alexandria, VA

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Alexandria, VA 22315


John thomas st


March 26, 2024

Paul D.

2 months ago

A guide in spotting pet finding scams. In general there are two scams "Pet Found" or "Help you Find your pet" both are as the name implies. Someone has your pet or someone is willing to search for your pet. This guide is to help you spot the red flags of a scam. The Biggest Red Flag: There is not a picture of your pet in the post, message, or text and the scammer will have excuses why they cant send one. In this day and age there is no excuse anyone should believe as to why a pic of your pet cant be posted or sent to you. Moreover do not give any money until you have your pet in person. No picture, no pet in hand, NO money. This should be your mantra no exceptions! The "Someone found your pet scam" There is a reply to your post in lost and found or you have been direct messaged that states someone found your pet. They will want you to call them and provide information. Red flag - they want you to prove who you are. But the biggest red flag for this and all "Someone found your pet" scams is that they do not have a picture of your pet or refuse to send you one. They will say anything not to provide one. "The PIN number scam". This is a modification if the "found your pet scam". This is a phone or bank account scam. Commonly they will say something like they need to "verify you" and require a PIN number to do so. This PIN number will be used to set up a phone account under your name so they can scam others. The less common version of this scam is they will try to get your bank account PIN or do bank money transfers out of your account using the PIN system your bank would typically use. Red Flags: Wont show you a picture of your pet but want money/information up front. <-- (This is huge red flag for ALL the Scams) Don’t have a phone number for you to call. They will want your number and will not give theirs. Want a PIN number from you, and/or want personal information. They will ask you to get a gift card as payment. If you get one they will then tell you to tell them the codes on the back, they take the money and hang up. You NEVER give a PIN, Money, or Personal Information to anyone before seeing your pet. And I would argue that even if you see your pet you wait until you meet to get your pet. (more below) A short overview of Pet Tracking. Real Pet Tracking teams are Search and Rescue Certified (SARs) and may have extra training in finding pets too. Real SARs teams are proud of said Certifications and will gladly show you that they have them. They usually have websites and references, social media on top of their SARs training Certs. (NOTE Dog Tracking is NOT like the movies). Real SARs dogs/teams do NOT run to chase pets or bark while tracking they don’t corner or run things up trees when they find them. That is all Hollywood nonsense. An Example of a reputable tracking team is Dogs Finding Dogs out of Maryland and there are plenty of other great tracking teams all over the world. You MUST do your research before you hire anyone to get your pet back. There are two types of reputable trackers, Commercial and Charitable/501c. Tracking dogs and training are expensive and the 501c teams also need money to do what they do. Just because one is a charity does not mean they will not require donations. In short a pet tracker is not a random person with a dog. "Pet Trackers" and "Detectives" scams The "Pet Tracker" scam This is a person with a dog who claims to have had their dog trained to find a pet. On the off chance that this person shows up they simply take their dog on a very long walk charging you by the hour. Come back tell you they found nothing or WORSE if they stumble onto your pet, they will then give chase and potentially hurt or even your pet. Variation one, will be someone will post or DM you with a link stating that this group or that person helped them find their pet. This link maybe in with some good advice to make it look actually real. You go to the link and it will be a Pet Detective or person with a dog that if they show up and make a show out of taking a long walk. "Pet Detectives" scam These scammers will come out tell you simple common sense things that would most likely already be in the comment posts of your missing pet on social media. They again may just walk around looking for "signs" but they are just taking a long walk on your money. Basically they try to be "pet trackers" without dogs. They may offer to help you trap your pet however have no real understanding of how to trap. Note trapping incorrectly will lead to no results at best and death of your pet at worst. They may require you to send them money asking for personal information, bank transfers, bank info, A PIN, or even gift cards then not show up. Note on Information - There is lots of free info out there, and good people out there who can help. (Some links are provided below). Note on Trapping - There are many great Trap and Release teams that can help you understand how to correctly trap your pet without harm Google searches in your area should provide a fast list. Variation one is hit or miss long shot: You will click the link they posted and have to pay for a collection of information that you could have found for free. (links if free info are below) Always think buyer beware the site may have good advice at a low cost but I have never really seen one that is comprehensive and inexpensive. "Drone Search" Scam This is where they try to impress you with the use of high-tech drones. This can be a scam because of how pet behavior changes when they get lost. What happens when a pet is lost VS a drone search. For example: When indoor cats are lost they will hide during the day in tight small locations or under something. They tend to come out after dusk and go back into hiding near dawn, making drone detection near impossible. As for dogs, they can run miles from home and unless the dog is spotted in an open area, drone detection is difficult at best. The noise of drones can also scare pets making them run further away or into roads or other dangerous areas. If you live near airports, government buildings or military bases, flying drones is illegal as it is restricted air space. You are better off getting Reputable and Certified Search and Rescue K9 and a Trap and Release teams in your area to help you locate and trap your pet. "Pet vs Money" scam. This usually happens when you put the reward amount on the flier or in a post with your phone number. The person will say they have your pet but will want the money upfront. They again will not show proof they have your pet, or have an excuse as to why they cannot show you your pet. Do NOT transfer/give money to anyone without your pet in person. What to do if someone actually has your pet. You have gotten a picture, you are sure it is your pet and, the person wants to meet to give you your pet. Now meet them in a safe and public location such as your Vet's office, a pet shelter, police station, firehouse, a market or mall any place with lots of people around. This protects you and them. Meet in a public location during the day is best, take a friend or family member with you to the location. Make the exchange and love on your pet. And again DO NOT GIVE MONEY until you have the pet! No Pet NO money! As stated above here are examples of good FREE information are: How to find a lost dog - How to find a lost cat - Lots of great FREE info for finding a cat here - WWW.HAPPYCATLADY.COM My God be with you in all the dark places you must walk.


Paul D.

2 months ago

Comprehensive Guide for Finding a Lost Cat Research and hire a reputable Search and Rescue dog tracking team. Example Dogs Finding Dogs. Look for Certified Search and Rescue teams with the extra training to find pets. (DO NOT hire any team that will chase the cat or won’t let you come with the team). Behavior: Cats go into a fight or flight mode when outside, but usually stay within 200 yards. Your cat will typically hunker down very close to home. If you know where they got out, go 3-500 yards in both directions close to the house looking for small tight places they can hide. Sheds, garages, wood piles under decks, small holes, storm drains. Utilize Video doorbells your and neighbors' baby video monitors and trail cameras to see when your pet is coming home. They may or may not recognize their name or your face. They WILL recognize, in most cases, sounds or smells: the sound of a food can opening, favorite toy, etc. Take a moment and think of all the sounds that perk up their ears and make them come running to you. Record them on your smart phone and play them when tracking. Indoor cats lost outside become active in the evening usually around 7pm-5am. The best times for you to actively search is between 11pm – 2am. If it is safe to do so, leave a door or window slightly open at night put food and water near the door, also place a video monitor near. Again only if it is safe for you to do this. NOTE - Get permission from your neighbors to look around their yards. Fliers: Posting fliers and posters can pose a problem for some communities please find out the laws in your area before posting. Putting fliers on or in mailboxes is also illegal. Your flier should be color and as accurate to the actual colors and description of your cat. Place your flier in plastic coverings and hang them with bright colored duct tape to catch the eye of people walking by. Post fliers everyplace you can within a mile of where your pet went missing. Place fliers at bus stops, dog walking paths, and any business that will let you in the area. Do not give your address or amount of reward; this will protect you a bit from scammers. Never give/send money without seeing your pet. Also leave a flyer with your Mailman, UPS, FedEx, Amazon and any other delivery drivers. Bus Drivers, Ice Cream trucks, local patrol cops, fire stations. Garbage and recycling guys too. Use Social Media is imperative; many lost and found groups have members who just match missing pets with found pets in trying to reunite families. File missing pet reports with all the animal control agencies in your area. Investigate if there are local Trap and Release and feeding groups in your area who may be willing to help. As well as reputable dog tracking teams. Check with shelters and vets as far away as 20 miles daily in person if you can. Sometimes the person finding your pet may live further away than your city. Feeding stations: This will help draw in your cat and verify that your cat is in the location. This is a large piece of cardboard with a thick layer of flour placed on top. In the center of the flour place food. Lay down feeding stations in several places to get your pet on a repeating path and keep them in the area. Check the stations often and look for foot prints and signs that the food has been eaten. Once you see foot prints in the flour you should have an idea where to trap. Scent Strips: Cut up some scent strips out of your old cloths or bed sheets etc. (one inch by three-inch strips) put them on the ground about 3 feet apart or so. (I wore a shirt for 5 days to make it smell as strong.) The smell on the strip can last 3-5 days. Cat Chum: Mix a gallon of water with 1-2 cans of tuna/sardines. DO NOT place your scent strips in your chum mix. When laying down scent lines it near the opening of the trap and run them in straight lines way from /feeding station/trap/home. Make these lines the safest way to traps or home avoiding roads and heavy pedestrian areas. You can and should use Scent strips and Cat Chum at the same time but keep them at least three or more feet apart when you lay them down. Tracking: Try to have someone with you to keep everyone else from checking out what you are doing and for safety. Take a flashlight (even during the day), look under bushes, decks, any place they could get their head into. They maybe in sheds behind garbage cans, in hollowed out trees and storm drains. Note: Cats have a floating collarbone that allows them to get there body into any space where their head can get through. Check under decks, sheds, in sheds, and garages, in trees and small tight dark places, even if you do not think your cat could get into it. Use a flashlight to shine eyes (this can cause them to just freeze in place) If you hear or see them REMAIN CALM sit down, make the sounds they recognize, call their name open and toss food. Most of all LET THEM COME TO YOU. It may take hours even if you are within 10 feet of each other. Trapping: Get humane traps and place them close to the house or tree lines with favorite foods. (Sardines Tuna, or greasy chicken). Place a trap close by hidden under something that smells like home or you. Ask Neighbors to only put out water NOT food. Let your cat find food in the traps. In the trap put down 2 pages of newspaper the width of the trap. Place one page from the back over the trip plate. Place the 2nd page behind the trip plate to the door. This prevents a smart cat from pulling all the food to them easily. This helps hide the fact that it is a trap. Lay small chunks of food and food oil to a larger portion of food at the back behind the trip plate. (No bowls) Cover the trap with a tarp or a blanket that smells like home but leave both ends open so the smell of the food gets out. Ensure that the trip plate and door are clear of anything that will prevent the trap from being sprung. This is very important if you do not use the newspaper on the floor of the trap. Check the traps at least two times a day. Also if possible, hang dirty laundry out at night, sometimes your cat is able to smell their way home. Place at least one trap near your home, as your cat may be coming home while you sleep. Use Video monitors and/or trail camera to monitor. Establish a pattern, walk between your traps and home. Do this as often as you can. Get your scent into the air. This helps keep your pet in the area and increases the chances of getting your pet into a trap. Avoid crossing roads, train tracks and dangerous areas. Making Cat Shelter: Get/use a small cat carrier that is just big enough for your cat. Place a blanket that smells like you outside and straw inside. Place the carrier under cover somewhere tight and dark if possible. Leave the door open. Place food and water a favorite toy just inside the door. When approaching the shelter do it slowly and from the front. If your cat is there sit down and let them come to you. Do not make sudden movements, let them build trust. Turn your body and lower your head look as non-threatening as possible. Toss treats to the side of you and NEVER CHASE OR YELL at them. Litter (last resort): Put the UNCLEANED litterbox outside. For Multi-cat homes take the litter, bag it, then place the litter out further away from your strips and chum. NOTE this should be a last resort, as this can draw in Tomcats, Strays, and in some cases Predators that may keep your cat from coming home even hurt your cat. This is a LAST RESORT option and should be monitored with video monitors or trail cameras. If you are seeing danger then pull the box right away. This is a good basics video Your cat is looking for home keep that in mind, so draw them to home. Most of all NEVER GIVE UP. People have found their cats ever after years of looking.



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