The Humane Society of Macomb is located at 11350 22 Mile Road in Utica.

The Humane Society of Macomb is located at 11350 22 Mile Road in Utica.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

St. Clair Shores Police, rescues offer tips for locating lost four-legged friends

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 5, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Whether you’ve got a pet that’s an escape artist or getting lost is a one-time incident, it is best you know the right avenues to get them back.

Sgt. Stephen Stindt of St. Clair Shores Police Department said though there is not an uptick in lost pets, it happens almost daily where people will call in and say they’ve found or lost an animal. And there is a procedure the Police Department follows when someone comes in with a lost pet or they call in saying their pet is lost.

“Obviously, we’ll look and see if the dog’s got tags or (a) call number on there, and if we can’t find the owner, we’ll bring them back here,” Stindt said.

He went on to say they have a “dog book” where they write down the pet’s features such as male or female, color, collar, and any other defining features the animal may have. This is used when an owner comes or calls saying they have lost their pet.

“Then if somebody else finds them, calls ‘Hey, I found a dog,’ we cross reference and then we can contact the owner,” Stindt said. “And then we also have a chip reader, a microchip reader, so we can scan the dog once it’s brought back here, and then we can look on the website and locate the owner that way.”

If the owner is not found within a couple hours or a day, Stindt said, the pet will be given to the Animal Control unit in Macomb County so they can continue to look for the owner.

They also utilize social media to find the owner.

“We’ll also go, like, on the Shores website and take a picture of the dog and post it and then that gets shared all over the place,” Stindt said. “So, almost all the time, someone will reunite the dog with its owner, so that’s typically how we do stuff.”

Stindt said they get dogs who run away repetitively.

“In fact,” Stindt said, “there’s a web page or a Facebook page for citizens in town here and there’s one dog, a husky, that’s constantly running around, but I think they find it quick because it’s never here. The owner always gets located.”

If the dog is constantly running around, terrorizing the neighborhood, being aggressive and chasing people, Stindt said there is an ordinance about having your dog unleashed.

“If that is an issue then we could take enforcement (action) on that if we had to; typically, we don’t do that as a general rule,” Stindt said. “But if it is a constant problem and the animal is terrorizing the neighborhood, we have issued citations in the past for that.”

At the Humane Society of Macomb, Executive Director Michael Wilke said they haven’t seen an uptick in their lost pet board. He also said they are finding a way to reconfigure the board to make it more community friendly.

Wilke said there are a couple things they have to do when they have a pet surrendered by a person who is not the owner. Surrender in this case can mean a stranger who found a pet in their neighborhood, or an owner who cannot care or provide for the pet.

“I don’t want to misspeak for what the exact rules are behind it, but I know we have a certain timeframe we can’t turn around and put the pet right back up on ours (our adoption board) for adoption or for foster. We have to give time for the owners to try and find the pet,” Wilke said.

Along with the set timeframe, they also check for microchips.

“We’ll post that we have a lost pet here, but you would be surprised of how many animals are actually chipped nowadays,” Wilke said. “So, we can find them or find the owners or find out if they’re from a different shelter.”

Wilke said one of the ways they prevent lost pets from getting out during the adoption or fostering process is making sure the home they are going to is secure.

“That’s one of the biggest things when we turn around and try to have someone come and adopt a dog or foster a dog. It’s always one of the big things making sure that they have good enough areas so the dogs can’t get out,” Wilke said. “So, we will try to make sure they are going to a good home in that regard.”

Wilke said they also make sure every animal they foster out or adopt out also gets chipped so the owner can find them if the animal does get lost.

Stindt said the biggest thing to prevent a pet from getting out is to make sure their areas are secure.

“Well just make sure your gates are secure and your front doors are secure,” Stindt said. “We got a lot of dogs that can push through doors, so if they’re not secure, or fences or gates (are not secure), that’s the biggest thing. Just make sure your yard is secure where they can’t go through a wooden fence or push through your gate.”