Let’s talk about stray animals in our area. I routinely hear of people that found a dog, for a variety of reasons cannot keep it, but do for a few days or a week, and then they are stunned to find out they cannot just walk into their local shelter and turn it over at that point. They need to schedule a surrender date because by that time, the law considers it their animal.
There are actually a number of reasons why this is not the best way of handling a stray dog. The first place most people turn to after losing a pet and not being able to find it in their immediate neighborhood is their local animal control and shelter facility. Yes, social media and the internet do a wonderful job of assisting, but my friends, I know this may be hard to believe, there are a number of wonderful pet owners out there that do not routinely do Facebook. They are not a member of any of the area online pet groups and they follow very few pages. The very best chance that animal stands of being reunited with their family is if they are the correct shelter for the jurisdiction. Click here to find out which animal control and rescue facilities are in your area.
So, what to do when you see that cute doggy running down the street or sidewalk and you are certain it doesn’t belong in your neighborhood? Let it come to you or approach carefully. If it will allow you to, look for a collar and tags. If there are none, call your local police or sheriff department’s non-emergency number and request animal control be dispatched. Let them come and get the dog and do their job. You can take a photo first and post it to those social media lost/found groups along with what agency took the dog in.
For cats, the very best thing if they are not injured or in imminent danger is to ignore them. Cats that have not been altered and are allowed outdoors will roam. Sometimes even altered cats will roam. They generally have a keen sense of where they live and will go back home on their own accord. Feral and community cats are a different subject and I will post about them another time.
Most important of all, spay or neuter and microchip your pets. Keep your information up to date with the microchip registry. Do routine checks of your fence to make sure there are not escape hatches. You can also check our website and view our resources for lost and found pets.