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COVID-19 changing the way Montanans look for missing pets

Posted at 12:13 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 15:00:40-05

MISSOULA — It can be a nightmare for many when a pet goes missing.

It can feel like an overwhelming and daunting task trying to bring your pet home safely and the COVID-19 pandemic may be making locating a lost pet more difficult.

Normally when a family pet goes missing, many people would knock on the doors of nearby neighbors to see if the little one belonged to anyone in the area.

However, in the midst of a pandemic that may not be the most practical approach.

“We are trying to make as much as our adoptions virtual and contactless as possible,” Humane Society of Western Montana shelter manager Sierra Lenox said.

On one Facebook post regarding a cat, we had found there were just under 30 comments and it was shared a total of 27 times.

“People are leaning more on virtual tools that reuniting process is much easier on the community and pet owners,” Lenox explained.

Since more people are working from home the lost pets may actually go through less stress.

“If anything, there are more people willing to hold the dogs, ‘like, I am going to search for the dog on my own because I am home and can monitor the animal’,” Lenox observed.

“And that's always great because the animal doesn't have to be in this environment which is more stressful as much as we try to make it not that way,” she added.

Lenox also emphasized to reach out to the Humane Society of Western Montana with any needs

“I want people to know we are a resource. If they need food or supplies -- I know that COVID is really tough on homeowners. Even if it's not something on our website.

In the case of our missing cat, we found we were able to locate the owner via Facebook and she is now safe back at home with her family.

Lenox also noted that if you find a healthy-looking cat in a residential area, its home is probably nearby so you don't have to worry if it's missing.