What to do in H-Town if your pet makes a run for it

Dogs and cats are living together, out on the mean streets of H-Town.


Well, maybe they aren’t living “together” exactly. They insist they’re just roommates.

Still – what’s the procedure if your pet makes a break for his gang banging buds? And what do you do if you find a domesticated animal?

  1. Search your surrounding neighborhood and ask your neighbors if they’ve seen the animal.
  2. Call the police (911). The animal control officer will keep an eye out for your pet. They can also lend you humane traps to lure a stray cat. You can also call Haverford Animal Control at 610‐853‐1298 ext. 2205. (Scroll down to see a .pdf from the township site. It has info about various pet issues.)
  3. Go to the DELCO SPCA and CHESTER SPCA pages and call or fill out information.
  4. Grab a recent pic and write up a great description. If you can, make a .pdf flyer.
  5. Think twice about posting flyers to poles. Doing so is actually prohibited in H-Town:
    Posting notices upon utility poles, trees and/or public structures and buildings restricted.
    No person shall post or affix any commercial or political notice, poster or any other paper or device calculated to attract the attention of the public to any lamppost, public utility pole or shade tree or upon any public structure or building, except as may be authorized or required by law.”

    If you do decide to “go rogue” and paper the neighborhood, make sure no identifying info or your home address is on the flyer. An email address or cell number is sufficient.

  6. Don’t stick any flyers on US Postal Service receptacles. Mail slots on doors are OK to put flyers through. Outside mailboxes are not. USPS does not want you to put any materials in mailboxes, but if the residence has a door mail slot, you can put your flyer in that. Avoid houses with a “no soliciting” sign. From the USPS site:
    • “If you have a curbside mailbox or a mailbox on the outside of your house, Postal Service regulations govern what can and can not be placed in them. Generally speaking, only mail that has been sent through the USPS may be placed in these types of receptacles. Conversely, USPS regulations do not govern what can be placed in a mail slot on your door. This means that if a local business wants to put a flyer in the mail slot, they can do so.”
  7. Use social media to reach out. Here are a few Facebook groups where you can post a pic and detailed description:
  8. Make sure to update any posts. People worry about your pet! If you are reunited, make sure to let everyone know.

And hopefully, you’ve chipped your pet. The cops and the shelters have readers.

Add any other helpful tips in the comments!


Photo Credit: Havertownies.com Copyright 2016

HPD’s info about pets, dead pets, barking dogs and more (click on the link to see the pdf file, which is arranged much more nicely than the full text below).


Animal Control The Township of Haverford  and the Haverford  Police Department are dedicated to providing the best possible service to the citizens of Haverford. In fact, the Police Department’s Animal Control Unit was created as a result of this dedication. Township leaders recognized long ago that without providing local animal care and control services, Haverford  residents would be served by a centralized county‐wide system that has limited resources to deal with animals across the county, and simply is not able to provide the level of service that Haverford’s Animal Control Unit offers. Staffed with two part‐time Animal Control Officers, the Unit responds to calls of animals disturbing, loose animals, animal cruelty cases, injured animals, and a host of other situations involving domesticated and wild animals. Haverford’s  Animal Control Officers are civilian employees authorized to investigate and enforce the Haverford’s  Codes pertaining to animals. Our Animal Control Personnel are dedicated to providing humane treatment for all animals in their care. To contact Animal Control call 610‐853‐1298  ext. 2205   Purpose: The purpose of the  Animal Control in Haverford Township is to educate the public regarding responsible pet ownership and enforcing animal ordinances. We perform a variety of services that help animals as well as the public: rescuing injured or sick animals, controlling stray and potentially dangerous animals roaming at large, removing stray dead animals from private and public property and transporting lost pets to the animal shelter where their owners can reclaim them. Animal Control officers are in action every day, handling many routine, as well as emergency situations with pets and wild animals. One of the most important things that we do is to investigate animal bites. Animals that bite are quarantined and placed under observation to make sure the threat of rabies does not exist. Other situations which we investigate are animal cruelty and abuse, complaints of animal noise annoyance, unsanitary conditions, and abandoned animals. Should I vaccinate my animal? Regardless of a animal’s lifestyle,  Haverford Township require that all dogs, cats  over the age of 3 months be vaccinated against rabies. The primary reason is to prevent the spread of rabies. Rabies, while not currently widespread, is still prevalent in the wild and a threat to domestic pets. You’ve lost your pet, what do you do? • The first thing to do is search your surrounding neighborhood. • Second is to notify animal control.   • It’s recommended to contact local veterinary facilities and  shelters no less than every other day with proof of ownership to locate your lost pet. What can we do about feral cats? Animal Control will no longer pick up or trap feral/free roaming cats from citizens.  Instead, the unit encourages citizens with feral cat issues to utilize the Trap‐Neuter‐Return (TNR) approach.   The change is a cost saving measure, but is also considered a best practice and a more humane alternative to dealing with feral cats. When a feral cat is permanently removed, nature’s tendency is to over‐populate the vacancy it creates. By not creating that vacancy, and by preventing the existing cat from reproducing, the feral cat population will decrease over time. The activity of our most frequent trap users supports this claim – some of them have trapped as many as 50 feral cats from the same location, a clear indication that the trap and euthanize approach is not the best solution. Your favorite search engine will return a long list of hits for “trap neuter return”,  and will help identify local programs and provide links to the body of research behind the TNR philosophy. What can the township do about a barking dog? The most common animal disturbance that Haverford  animal control officers respond to are barking dog complaints.  It is a violation of Haverford Township  ordinance 1806  for a dog owner to disturb another resident’s peace by allowing their dog to bark excessively and unreasonably. It is not a violation for a dog to bark.  It is only a violation if the dog is barking excessively and unreasonably. To report a barking dog, call the hotline at 610‐853‐1298  ext. 2205. Any Animal Control Officer who personally observes excessive barking can issue a citation to the owner. If our investigation of a barking dog does not result in such an observation, we will continue to respond to subsequent complaints in an attempt to observe the violation. As an alternative, the complainant can request a form which allows them to provide information about other neighbors who have similar experiences with the same animal and are willing to say so at a court hearing. Once completed, this allows the Animal Control Officer to interview other witnesses and forward a case for prosecution. Deceased  Domestic Animals: Every attempt will be made to contact the owner and we will notify local SPCA’S and Veterinarians.    We will retrieve and transfer the animal to a holding area for 48 hours. If the animal is not claimed it will be wrapped in a plastic bag and the remains will be transported in a humane way to a landfill. Running at Large Dogs or Cats: Any Dog or Cat,  retrieved in Haverford Township, will be held for 48 hours at a local Veterinarian facility. Every attempt will be made to reunite the animal with its owner. All expenses incurred will be the responsibility of the owner. If not claimed, the animal will then be available for adoption. If the animal is not adopted, it will be taken to the Chester County SPCA.     Rabies Vector (Carrier) Animals: (Skunks,  Raccoons,  Foxes,  Bats,  Ground Hogs,  Coyotes,  Feral Cats) Rabies vector animals trapped in the township will be dispatched.  Any of these animals found at large in the township that appear to be sick or infected will be dispatched.  If a rabies vector animal is suspected of having contact with another animal or human, it will be processed using guidelines from the Health Department.   Rules and Regulations relating to Animals can be found on the Haverford Township Web Site. ORDINANCE 1806  Chapter 49.