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Saving the stray – why you should think twice before claiming it

It’s common for pets to run away, but now that it’s getting colder not being able to find them right away is concerning for a lot of pet owners.

They bring a lot of joy to our lives…until the run away.

“He took off running,” Christina Gutke, cat owner, said. “I haven’t seen him since Friday the 22nd.”

Gutke’s cat took off after getting spooked. She immediately began scouring the neighborhood, going door to door and handing out fliers.

“With the fliers and knocking on doors, I’ve been at least five blocks up in every direction and still have had no luck,” Gutke said.

Gutke’s searched Facebook, shelters and other websites for lost animals. Even though she wants him back, she hopes someone is taking care of him. People who find stray animals may not realize they’re taking someone’s pet.

“The people that are keeping pets,” Gutke said. “That they will know that there’s resources they need to look into to help people and be reunited with their pets.”

One of those places is the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter. People can bring in stray animals to help reunite them with their owners. Animal Control says there is one way to improve your chances of reuniting with your pet.

“Micro-chipping is really the best way to make sure that your pet is going to get back to you,” Irene Brown, Animal Services Supervisor, said.

Those who keep stray pets may not realize they’re potentially breaking the law. There are steps you have to go through before you can officially call the animal yours.

“The process is you have to notify the county clerk in writing,” Brown said. “You have to put an ad in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks. Then you have to wait for three months before that animal legally belongs to you.”

Meanwhile, Gutke will still keep searching for her cat.

“I think that cats, to a lot of people, are their family,” she said. “So having him gone, it’s a little sad.”

The shelter also says if you find stray animal, or are missing an animal, the first thing to do is contact them and they’ll help you out.

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