Finding Lost Pets

Stray pets found by the public and animals impounded by Champaign County Animal Control go directly to the Champaign County Animal Services Facility located at 210 S. Art Bartell Road (on the North East corner where Art Bartell Road intersects with the service road to CCHS).

Anyone looking for their lost pet in Champaign County can contact Animal Control at 384-3798. Information for Animal Control Services in Champaign County municipalities can be found on the Champaign County Animal Services Facility Website.

Champaign County Animal Services Facility Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday - Saturday (Closed Sundays and Holidays)
Phone: (217) 384-3798
Fax: (217) 384-1238
24-hour number: (217) 333-8911

Tips for Finding a Lost Pet

Start Looking Right Away

Start searching immediately; do not wait to see if your pet will return on his/her own! The sooner you start, the greater the chance that your pet will be returned uninjured.

Leave an outgoing message on your voice mail, telling callers that you will check for messages every hour. Unfortunately, some finders will turn an animal loose again if they can't get a quick response from the owner.

Search the neighborhood, calling your pet. Bring a leash, treats, and any squeaky toy that your animal might respond to. Initially, concentrate on a 5 or 6 square block area for dogs or a 2 or 3 square block area for cats. Frightened animals may not come out of hiding; so listen for whining or meowing.

A note about finding cats: If your cat is strictly an indoor cat and she has escaped outdoors, she will most likely be discovered very close to the house. However, she is likely to be very afraid and hide extremely effectively. Search with a flashlight and look for good hiding spots. You might be surprised how small your cat can make herself to remain hidden! If you can't find her, go outside in the very early morning hours when all is quiet and before sunrise. Try using tuna fish or her favorite canned food to encourage her to emerge.

If you see your dog, don't chase him/her. Dogs enjoy a game of chase and you can't outrun your dog. Try baiting your pet with a treat or open the car door and offer to take him for a ride.

Make a Flyer

If you haven't located your pet after an hour of searching the neighborhood, make a flyer and/or poster about your pet. Since many people can't identify the weight, sex, breed or age of pets, a good description of color, markings, coat length and type is essential. Include a current picture (light background and preferably full body and including some indicator of the animal's size). Also be sure to include your phone number!

Start by putting up flyers in the neighborhood, and giving them to mail carriers, newspaper delivery people, and others who may spot your dog as they spend time outside. Go door to door with your flyers. Later, cover a wider area, but less intensively, placing posters at stores, intersections, and veterinarians' offices.

Offering a reward can motivate people to take the time to look for and return your dog, but can backfire if the amount is perceived as inadequate. If you wish to offer a reward, write only "REWARD" in large letters.

Within 24 hours of missing your pet, and then daily thereafter, visit the Animal Control Facility, to look for your pet yourself.

Notify Your Microchip Company

If your pet has a microchip, immediately notify the chip company if your pet is missing.

Use the Media

Place a lost pet ad in the classifieds soon after your pet goes missing.

Call WDWS radio station at 351-5300. They will announce lost pet reports on the air.

Don't Give Up!

Do not give up too soon. Keep looking for at least a month. Many animals have been recovered after several months.

Your Pet's Ticket Home

Collars and Tags. Dogs and cats should always wear a collar with a current rabies tag and an I.D. tag displaying their owner's current phone number and address. Also make sure that the veterinary office where your pet received her last rabies vaccination has your current address and phone number. A collar is also important so that your animal can be easily restrained by whoever happens to find him or her.

Your pet should be licensed according to the requirements of your local animal control agency and wear its license tag at all times, if that is required.

Your dog or cat's collar should fit around your pet's neck so that you can fit two of your fingers underneath the collar. If you have a puppy or kitten, adjust or change its collar as it grows. Cats and kittens should wear "break-away" safety collars.

Microchips. We recommend that all pets be microchipped! The microchip is as small as a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin. If your pet ever loses his collar and I.D. tags, his microchip I.D. will help to ensure that he is eventually returned to you. Many shelters and veterinary practices check lost pets for microchip I.D.'s.

For details about microchip I.D. implants, or to make an appointment to have your pet microchipped, call CCHS at 217-344-7297. If your pet has a microchip I.D. implant, make sure the chip company has your current address and phone number on file.

Review of Best Practices

  1. Train your pets to come when called! Always give your pet a yummy reward for responding to his/her name and coming when called. NEVER punish your dog when he returns to you, even if he did not come right away. Your dog should always feel that coming to you is enjoyable and safe.
  2. All pets should ALWAYS wear ID tags with current phone numbers on a nylon or leather buckle collar.
  3. Microchip your pet.
  4. Keep photos and a detailed description of your pet available in case she/he becomes lost.
  5. Keep your dog in a fenced area or on leash when outside. Keep cats indoors.

Reasons Pets Stray

One of the most common reasons a pet will stray from home is because it isn't spayed or neutered (also known as sterilized or altered) and is looking for another dog or cat with which to mate. Spaying or neutering your pet will eliminate your pet's reproductive instincts and, therefore, decrease the chance of him straying from home to search for a mate.

Another benefit to altering your pet is that you'll be able to obtain a reduced license fee. For more information about having an animal spayed or neutered, talk to a member of the CCHS staff.

Pets also might run off because they are frightened by a loud noise or traumatic incident (such as a car accident).