Pet detectives are investigation professionals who specialize in cases that involve household pets. One of the more common services offered by investigators of this type is the location and rescue of dogs, cats, and other animals that have wandered away or been stolen from their homes. The use of the latest in surveillance technology is often employed in the task of locating missing dogs and missing cats, and returning them to their frantic owners.
As part of the process, a pet detective will often have a working relationship with any animal shelters located in the general area. This allows the detective to periodically check with the shelters to determine if a lost dog or cat matching the description of a current client has been turned in recently. This can be an important aspect of the investigation, since most animal shelters are only able to provide food and shelter to strays for a limited amount of time before it is necessary to euthanize them. By being in constant contact with shelter personnel, the pet detective can sometimes identify a missing pet and reunite the animal with the owner before this drastic last step takes place.
The pet detective does not just rely on communication with nearby animal shelters. As in any investigation, the detective will hold an interview with the owner and obtain as much information about the missing pet as possible. This can include data such as age, coloring, breed, weight, any distinguishing physical characteristics, and any known likes or dislikes of the pet.
Queries into any favored locations away from the home, such as a favorite route for walking or a park, are also common in the early stages of the investigation. Photographs or electronic media featuring the pet are also collected at that time. The information provided can often give the pet detective valuable clues as to how to proceed with the search.
Modern surveillance equipment is also often employed as part of the search and recovery operation. The typical pet detective will make use of highly sensitive audio equipment that can pick up sounds from an expanded range, making it easier to hear animal noises even if the pets are not within visual range. Infrared vision equipment make it possible to search at night with relative ease, while high power binoculars make it possible to visually survey considerable distances in hopes of locating the missing dog or cat.
In general, a pet detective will charge a flat fee per day, as well as request compensation for any out of pocket expenses that are incurred during the course of the investigation. The search will continue until the detective successfully locates the missing pet, or the owner decides to call off the search. At that time, any fees that are still outstanding are invoiced to the client, who is expected to pay the balance according to the terms and conditions agreed upon at the onset of the investigation.