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What to do When You Find a Stray Pet

What to Do When You Find a Stray Pet

Pet homelessness is all too common in the United States.

With approximately 70 million stray cats and dogs in the United States, pet homelessness has become a troubling problem. Homeless pets outnumber homeless people five to one, and of the ones that do end up in shelters, only about 10 percent of them are either spayed or neutered. Getting your pet spayed or neutered can help you do your part to prevent even more pet homelessness, but what do you do if you come across a stray cat or dog? Here are a few tips from our veterinarian in North Merrick:

#1. Be careful when approaching the animal.

Part of the reason why people have such a hard time helping stray animals is because they are either afraid of them or the animals run away when they try to get close. Keep a can of wet food handy to make it easier to secure the animal. If the animal is just a baby, look around to see if its mother and siblings are nearby. If the animal is acting threateningly, don’t try to secure it yourself. Call animal control, but try to keep the animal in your sights so that you can direct animal control when they get there.

#2. Look for tags and any injuries.

Once you’ve secured the animal, look out for identification. If it’s a runaway, you may be able to get it back to its owner. It’s also important to look out for any injuries. Take the animal to the nearest shelter, and be sure to inform them about any injuries you’ve found.


#3. Ask the shelter to scan the animal for a microchip.

If the animal has a microchip, the animal shelter should be able to scan them. This will give them information on who the owner is.

#4. File a found animal report at the shelter.

If you don’t want to leave the animal at the shelter, then it’s important to file a found animal report at the shelter. If the animal does have an owner who decides to claim it at a later date, this report will show that you did your due diligence to find the owner.

#5. If you take the animal home…

If you decide to take the animal home instead of going to the shetler, be very careful about having it around your own pets, especially if you are unsure about whether it has been vaccinated or not. It’s important to note that taking the pet home is not usually in your best interest or the animal’s, particularly if it has an owner or is injured.

#6. Do your part to find the owner.

Regardless of whether you’ve taken the animal home or to a shelter, it’s important to do your part to find the owners. Take a picture of the animal, and place “found pet” notices in as many places as possible, such as streetlights, billboards, Craigslist and Facebook.

Do you have questions or concerns about what to do when you find a stray animal? Contact our veterinarian in North Merrick online today.

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