Lately, we’ve heard about “Pet Detectives” popping up all over the US and Canada. There are a few really great, experienced and professional Pet Detectives across the US. There are, unfortunately, a larger number of inexperienced, self-proclaimed trackers or pet detectives who can cause a lot more harm than good in the hunt for your missing dog or cat.
A lot of these new “Pet Detectives” are either a) licensed private investigators or b) former security guards who could have worked with patrol dogs. While they may be well meaning folks who love animals, there are very few commonalities between their former professions and the art of being a professional tracker/pet searcher/pet detective.
Some private investigators are skilled at what they do, investigating humans and their actions. Tracking a missing pet is an entirely different world than investigating humans. Tracking is a skill that takes numerous years to develop and hundreds or thousands of case histories to refine.
I had a call from a lady that said a private detective in the Burnaby/Vancouver tried to scam her out of $700.00 to help her find her lost pet; but offered no procedures that she would implement, secret apparently. But she did say that she would take a picture of where the cat escaped from. A Lot of money to pay for a useless photo. By the way the investigator has never found a lost pet.
A security or patrol dog is not specifically animal scent trained, their upbringing and training is focused first and foremost in protection of their handler, secondary in tracking and apprehending humans, drugs evidence or bombs. Their focus is generally very different than a Petsearchers Canada bloodhounds drive and training process which is purely based on finding lost cats and dogs. We actually have been called in to look for lost dogs that have been used for drug, and bomb scenting and police work. They can’t use their own dogs to locate one of their own. Their dogs are good at what they are trained for and that’s it. One of our bloodhounds was trained originally to look for lost persons, and in fact all our bloodhounds are able to search for lost persons and lost pets. We have been called out by RCMP, security companies and private parties to look for missing persons. Not to say are dogs are any better but sometimes the more help the better the chances of a successful conclusion.
Tracking a missing cat or dog is very different than any other type of investigative work. Successful Pet Detectives or Pet Trackers have many years of experience tracking on foot, handling and training their dogs, and have an innate knowledge of pet psychology that is developed over years of experience. It isn’t a profession that you can simply decide to “try out” one day, when the private investigative field or security fields are slow.
Here are some questions to ask your Pet Detective or Tracker to ensure your money is being invested in helping to bring your pet home and not just thrown away.
• How many pets have you successfully brought home to their families?
• How long have you been working specifically as a pet detective or pet tracker?
• Can I please have multiple references of found pets and a list of testimonials.?
• Can I please have three references of people you worked with and didn’t find their pets?
• How many years of experience do you have with tracking? How did you get this experience?
• What type of foot tracking are you versed in?
• How do you track visually on city streets, vs. in the bush?
• Are you equipped to follow my pet if it has wandered deep into the woods/over a cliff/through a waterway?
• Do you have tracking dogs to enable you to track my pet down?
• Are these your own dogs/Do you handle the dogs yourself? (If no, the whole interview also needs to be conducted with the dog handler)
• How are your dogs trained? How often? How many searches (for missing pets) specifically do they perform in a week, in order to keep them at their optimum performance level?
• What experience do you have to ensure that you are well versed in animal psychology?
• Explain to me the most likely action my pet took, based on the information I’ve given you. Please explain the pet psychology factors that lead you to deduct the best plan of action.
**And the biggest question to ask – and the one we have heard the most complaints come in about overall – is “What exactly do I get for the $$ I spend with you?” Make sure you have a clear, concise commitment as to exactly what value is being provided for your hard earned dollars.
What is their reputation in this field of work, are they well known and have a proven track record?
Petsearchers Canada is a well known company throughout the pet community and we are proud to say that we have an excellent reputation for honesty and finding lost and stolen pets.