Photo Identification Line-Up Card

The Purpose ... your Goal

This is a technique adapted from the law enforcement arena. The purpose of the card is to establish a confirmed sighting of your pet.

When a caller or witness notifies you that they believe they have seen your dog, it is important to remember that in most cases they have seen the animal only briefly and are trying to recreate the memory with the help of a photo they have seen of the pet.  The caller wants to help you and genuinely wants this to be your pet so they can rejoice in your happy ending. For this reason it is important to have a way to verify that the pet the witness saw was in fact your pet. This is the technique we recommend when a TRACKING DOG TEAM  or Scent Detection Dog Team is not on the case or has not  been brought in.

The Scent Detection dogs are the best way to confirm sightings as they are trained to alert on scent as well as to tell us when the scent of a particular animal is or is not in the area.

Designing the card


It is best to use a card or sheet of paper with the photos of at least five different cats on it that resemble your pet. One of the photos will be your pet but the photo on the card should not be the same photo that is on your signs or fliers. The photo you use on the card may even be from a different angle or side.

When designing a line-up card we generally go to the Internet to find pets that are of a similar color and size to the pet we are looking for. I generally  prefer to use the Google Image search engine. Use a keyword for a breed or similar description that resembles your dog or her color. It is easy to copy and paste the different photos to a word document and then print it out.


 Your card need not be fancy and can  be laminated or covered in plastic.  You will use it  to show to witnesses to help determine if they  have in fact seen your cat. You will not need many of these cards as you will NOT leave them with people. They are for identification purposes only.



Using the card

The goal is to show the card to witnesses and people who believe they have seen your pet. You simply show them the card and ask them which pet on the card most closely resembles the animal they saw. Do not give hints or encouragement as to which pet is yours. As much as possible you are trying to confirm a sighting and although we appreciate all input and help, it is important to try and confirm that it really was your pet the witness saw.

So ask…

“Which of the animals on this card most closely resembles the animal you saw?”

Take the new information and if the sighting appears to be confirmed, move your search to the new area and begin looking for the animal the caller or witness saw. If you do not find the animal, create awareness in the area by placing signage.

Remember, if the sighting looks promising; go ahead and place signs in the new area.


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