December 11, 2017
July 01, 2016
Written by Police Department Staff
What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing


What do you do if your pet goes missing?

Did you know that more pets go missing around July 4 than any other day? The main cause is as expected: fireworks! And this means the busiest day for shelters is usually July 5. Unfortunately, fewer than 2% of cats and only 15-20% of dogs entering shelters are ever reunited with their families, according to the ASPCA.

With the holiday weekend coming, we wanted to take the time to let you know how we need you to respond if your pet goes missing.

  • First, take a deep breath. We know this an extremely stressful time for you but the calmer you are, the easier it is to think clearly.

  • The next thing you should do is call the number for the West Fargo Police Department at 701-433-5500 M-F: 6:30 am to 9 pm, Sa & Su: 8 am to 4 pm. We are CLOSED on July 4th so your call will forward to dispatch. They don’t keep track of lost pets so you need to skip this step on July 4 and after hours as to not tie up their lines. While we check our Facebook and Twitter during business hours, that isn’t the fastest or most reliable way to get us the information we need. Police Clerks keep a running log of actively missing pets when someone calls in. That way, when an officer finds an animal – we have the information about the owner to give them. The information we need is: when and where the pet went missing, name, color, size, breed, any collar or tags, and distinguishing marks, plus owner name, address, and phone number. Remember, the only way an animal gets put into the pound in West Fargo is by being checked in from an officer. So the more information we have to get him/her back to you the better. Once you find your pet, call us back to take him/her off the missing list.

  • After this is done, social media is a great way to get the information about your pet out there. There is a great group called “Fargo/Moorhead Lost & Found Pets and Personal Items” where people can post a recent picture of their pet along with the information about when and where he/she went missing and who to contact if found. Again, once your find your pet, go back and remove the post to not clog up their page.



So, what happens after you are reunited with your pet?

  • Make sure to call us and have it removed from our missing pets log.

  • Remove the post from any groups or pages on social media for lost pets.

  • Update your own page letting people know he/she has been found.

  • Make sure your animal is up-to-date on all his/her shots. You have no idea what it got into on its little adventure away from home and you don’t want to take any chances.

  • If you live in West Fargo, LICENSE YOUR PET! It is a City Ordinance that any cat or dog over 12 weeks of age must be licensed with the West Fargo Police Department. The license annually costs $6 for fixed pets and $10 for unfixed pets. We just need the current proof of rabies vaccination. If your pet is wearing a collar with the West Fargo license tag, officers will make their best attempt to call/bring the pet to you and can save you up to $39.50 a day in pound fees!

  • If you haven’t already, consider microchipping your pet. Homeward Animal Shelter is hosting a Microchipping Clinic on August 16 from 5-7pm for $20. Visit their website for more details.


Uh oh, your pet is in the pound, now what?


 Sometimes, despite efforts by officers and the community, the pet is not reunited with the owner right away. So, the pet goes to doggy-jail / kitty-jail.

  • The West Fargo Police Department uses the West Fargo Animal Hospital as our pound and during the week 8-5, we do our best to post the picture of pet inmates on our Facebook. We urge people who report similar pets missing, to visit our Facebook or call the Animal Hospital to possibly identify if the pet is theirs.

  • However, in order to get your pet out, it has to be during THEIR business hours. The West Fargo Animal Hospital is open Monday and Thursday from 7:30 am to 7 pm and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:30 am to 5 pm. They are also open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 8 am to Noon.

  • You need to come to the Police Department with the current rabies vaccination, pay the bail / pound fees (which can be up to $39.50 a day) and license your pet.

  • You can then go to the Animal Hospital to pick him/her up!


With all that being said, the two most important things from this article are: LICENSE YOUR PET and call us during business hours if it goes missing.


Happy Independence Day and stay safe!


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