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How to safely advertise your missing pet on social media

With many people looking for a companion during the lockdown, the demand for pets soared, particularly dogs, quickly outweighing supply and with families willing to pay good money for a new puppy or kitten, our beloved pets have now even more of a valuable asset to criminals everywhere.

It’s estimated that dog thefts have risen by 250% since the pandemic began and here at Animal Friends we want to do all we can to help raise awareness of the preventative steps pet owners can take to keep themselves and their pets safe. And in the event that the worst should happen, and your cat or dog goes missing, we want to make sure you have the tools to remain protected when using social media to help find your beloved pet.

Missing pet information to include on a social media post

If you are victim of pet theft or your dog has strayed, here are some of the do’s and don’ts of advertising a missing pet.

DO include the following information in your description:

✓  Use large, clear pictures of your pet from different angles

✓  Include their name and age

✓  Include detailed descriptions of their size, markings, distinct features and if they were wearing a collar

✓  Use a picture of their name tag

✓  Mention if your pet is microchipped and neutered

✓  State the area that they were last seen

✓  List your first name and mobile number

✓  Use the term ‘finders fee’ instead of ‘reward’ so it is less attractive to criminals

But DON’T:

x  List your surname

x  List your full address or landline or work phone number

x  Include a picture of your house or street

x  Advertise your pet’s breed

x  Advertise your pet’s microchip number

x  Advertise the value of the finder’s fee as this may bait hoax callers

x  If someone contacts you to say they have found your pet, never handover your money before they can give you details of where your pet is.

Remember that criminals trawl social media posts for information that they can use to their advantage, to obtain money or plan further illegal activities.

Losing a pet is a distressing experience, so it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to include all the information you have, in the hope it will improve the chance of having them returned. However, by restricting it to the key details you can safely leverage the benefits that social media can bring, but without exposing yourself to criminals who might seek to profit from your misfortune.

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