Homeless Pets Found: What Next?
It's not unreasonable for a compassionate animal lover to find themselves in a bit of a bind when they encounter a homeless pet. As animal lovers, our natural instinct is to lend a helping hand in any way we can. With that said, the next course of action isn't always crystal clear.
To help us sort out just exactly how we can help homeless pets, we asked the Petside Advisory Board for some advice on what actions people can take if they encounter a homeless pet. Here is what they had to say:
When encountering a homeless animal, first be very cautious! That animal does not know you and may be disoriented due to being lost and not in his home. If you feel that it is unsafe to approach the animal due to possible aggression, a call to animal control is advised (or possibly to the police in an emergency). If the animal is clearly friendly, check to see if there are any ID tags, secure the animal and check with area residents to inquire if they know where its home may be. Most vet hospitals and shelters have access to a chip scanner that can read an implanted microchip which stores the contact information of the owner on record. So, if the dog or cat is friendly and healthy, then you can try to find a place that can read the chip, find the owner, and return the animal. If those efforts are unsuccessful you should call your local animal care and control and report the dog or cat missing, and if possible, bring the animal to the facility.
If you find a homeless animal there are a few things you can do. First, you can call the local veterinary hospitals and shelters to see if a lost pet was reported. Second, you can bring the homeless animal to a veterinarian to see if has a microchip implanted, and if it does, contact the owner.
So many people want to help a homeless pet that they see in the street, and in their excitement to do so, they’ll move rapidly towards the pet. Most of the time this will scare the pet, causing them to run, possibly even into traffic. What has always worked for me, and I’ve done this many times, is to talk softly and very gently with the pet (mostly K-9’s), and always be very patient. There have been times that I have not had a leash in my car, so I would have to remove my belt, make a loop, and once I gain the pet’s trust, I’ll gently slide the loop around the pet while I was petting it. Then of course, the search for the owner begins.