lost dog

When it comes to locating their missing dog, pet parents are willing to go great lengths to ensure the safe return of their furry friend. However, while it’s customary for Missing Dog posters to include a cash reward, there exists a split consensus surrounding the positives and negatives associated with incentivizing people to help locate and reunite lost animals with their owners.

lost dog


While it’s a sad reality, there are unfortunately people who come across Missing Pet posters with little intentions to find a lost dog. Rather, they’re motivated purely by the financial reward associated with the family’s desperate plea to be reunited with the animal they care so much about:

  •         Cash rewards can increase the risk of attracting scammers and other individuals with the wrong intentions.
  •       Scammers may falsely represent a different dog like the one identified on the poster. For this reason, it’s important never to exchange money until confirming it’s your pet in person.
  •         In more extreme circumstances, financial compensation can lead to kidnapping, or in this case, petnapping. While it’s a worst-case scenario, it isn’t unusual for thieves to steal other dogs and claim them as the one detailed in the Missing poster.
  •         Individuals who were able to find a lost dog may attempt to commit extortion by refusing to return it until payment comes in. Note that this is punishable by law; so, if you do encounter this situation, be sure to contact your local police department immediately.
  •         With a cash reward at stake, those purely motivated by money may become too aggressive by chasing your dog. This can cause your pet to run away aimlessly, potentially finding himself in harm’s way if heading towards traffic. Not only does this put your dog at risk, but surrounding drivers in danger as well.
  •         He may also interpret being chased as a means of attack. In response, your pup may retaliate by attacking the individuals chasing him. This can lead to injuries and lawsuits that could have otherwise been avoided.


Despite the risks involved, many pet owners are still willing to offer a cash reward when trying to locate their dog.  By deciding to incentivize the safe return of your furry friend, owners can attract more people that are genuinely interested in finding a lost dog.

  •         A cash reward may grab the attention of individuals who wouldn’t typically enlist in the search. With more people willing to locate and return your pup, there is a greater chance of being reunited.
  •         In the event your pet’s been stolen, offering money in exchange for their return may convince thieves to return him rather than sell him illegally, should those have been their intentions.
  •         Some owners phrase their Missing posters with ‘No questions asked’ or ‘If anyone has information about our dog’s current whereabouts…”. This can eliminate the risk of thieves refusing to return your pet in fear of being caught.
  •         If your pet wandered off, its possible a family could genuinely confuse it for a stray and think they’re doing the right thing by unofficially adopting him.  Should they discover your poster, they’ll understand that your pet was anything but a stray, and promptly contact you to arrange his safe return.

The Reward in Offering a Reward

While there are countless success stories attributed to cash-based rewards, it’s an unfortunate reality that these incentives attract just as many scammers. This is why apps like Shadow can reduce the risk of encountering individuals motivated more by greed than by the opportunity to help find a lost dog.  So, if you do discover your dog’s gone missing, remain proactive in your search, positive in your efforts and without fail to trust that there exist good people who recognize that far greater than cash, the biggest reward of all is bringing a lost dog home to where he belongs.


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