The Gahanna Division of Police is giving lost pets more visibility in hopes of getting them back home.
Police personnel are sharing information on the pets via social-media posts at Facebook.com/GahannaPD.
"Can anyone bail me out?" read an Aug. 13 post with a picture of a husky in a pet cage. "I was caught breaking into a friendly neighbor's house. It was nice, but I couldn't stay. If you know where my real home is, please contact Gahanna police or animal control to get me home."
"If this cute girl belongs to you, please contact GPD ASAP," read another post, dated Aug. 20, for a dog found on Shull Avenue.
Updates also are provided, letting people know about successful reunions.
Gahanna police Chief Jeff Spence said the division's dispatchers generally are the ones who post the notifications.
"Our dispatchers personalize the posts, which seems to aid in spreading the word as it is our desire to quickly reunite pets with their owners," he said.
Spence said the department doesn't post for pooches alone; it posted the photo of a wayward tortoise that was reunited with its owner in late July. The social media post had 71 comments and 73 shares.
Spence said he doesn't have the exact number of dogs that the department has posted about online, but nearly all were reunited with their owners.
A count of posts on the division's Facebook page shows five lost dog and one tortoise in the past month.
Gahanna police Facebook-page follower Jenna DuFour said she "absolutely loves" that the police make an effort to reunite animals with their owners.
"As we do not have our own animal-control function within the city, we rely on Franklin County Animal Care and Control," Spence said. "When a dog is found, we will hold them temporarily in our facility, provide food and water, post to social media and notify FCAC."
He said the police division normally will hold a dog for several hours, which provides enough time that most are reunited or the owner has been identified.
"Obviously having animals microchipped and current rabies and other identification tags affixed to their collars is the best way to help us reunite pets with their owners," Spence said.
"Finally, it is required in Gahanna code that all domestic pets be under control at all times by their owner, keeper or harborer. We will issue citations for an animal-at-large violation when appropriate."
A post made on the Gahanna police Facebook page on July 25 received 51 comments and was shared 578 times.
"I got caught playing at Pizzurro Park without an adult ... can someone please tell my parents I'm at the police station?" read the post with a photo of a dog.
In instances when a dog hasn't been claimed and goes to the Franklin County Animal Shelter, 4340 Tamarack Blvd., Columbus, followers of Gahanna Division of Police social media have even offered to cover the adoption fee for the animal.
If a dog arrives at the Franklin County Dog Shelter with no identification such as a microchip or license tag, they are held for three days, said Andrew Kohn, the shelter's community-relations manager. "If they do have some form of identification, they can be held for up to two weeks."
The county lists all stray dogs on a social media page Facebook.com/FranklinCoDogs.
"If they are not claimed, they have a behavior assessment if deemed appropriate and then are spayed/neutered," Kohn said. "They then move to the adoption floor."
He said all dogs are scanned for a microchip when they come into the county's care.
"If they're found wandering the streets and are scanned, our wardens will actually drive to the location on the microchip file and try and return the dog without ever bringing them to the shelter," Kohn said.
He said the best way to ensure a dog doesn't become lost is to keep doors and windows shut, keep fence gates closed, and let people who are not familiar with your routine know about your dog and what they are allowed, and not allowed, to do.
"But accidents do happen, no matter how vigilant you are," Kohn said. "So, a microchip is the golden ticket if your dog is found by a warden or brought to the shelter by a good Samaritan."