What to do if you see a stray dog or cat.
- Once you have secured the stray animal safely you need to make every effort to get the pet back to its family. Just think how grateful you would be if someone saw your pet walking the streets, picked it up and got it safely home to you. It’s such a rewarding feeling to save the life of an animal and return it to its owner.
- Contact the local city or county animal shelter where you found the animal. Give them a description of the pet and tell them exactly where you found it. The shelter is the place where the owner will eventually go to find their pet. Most shelters will allow you to keep the pet for a few days if you want to try and find the owner.
- Put up Dog Found or Cat Found signs where you found the animal. People passing by or driving in a car cannot read a cluttered sign with small print on it. Big easy-to-read print on your sign is a must.
- Many newspapers will run free lost and found ads in their classified section. Try and place a ‘Found Pet’ ad as soon as you can. It might take a few days to get the ad published in the paper.
- You can adopt the lost pet you sent to the local shelter before it is going to be killed. You will need to get the impound number of the animal if you release it to the community animal shelter. You should try to check on the animal’s status everyday. Don’t assume the shelter will contact you before they euthanize the pet.
- Another option is to find a new home for the pet you found if you are unable to locate the owner. If you are the type of person who will make an effort to help a stray animal then you need to keep a few things available so you can secure a stray animal as safely as possible: a leash with a slip loop that can be used to slip over the dog’s neck even if it doesn’t have a collar, treats for dogs and cats (to help develop trust), a crate or carrier for keeping an animal safe until you can get it home, and food and water that can be left for the animal even if you can’t get it to come to you.
Many shelters only keep stray animals for a very short time, sometimes just a few days. Injured or aggressive pets might not be kept long enough for the owner to be located. There are many variables taken into account by shelter employees when our pets end up in city or county animal shelters.
Based on reports from all across the country it is clear that the number of animals in shelters has increased significantly and so has the number of animals being killed. Hopefully your efforts will get this pet home safe and sound.