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What to do if You Find a Lost Pet

What do you do if you are driving and all of a sudden you see a dog or a cat roaming alone on the street? If you're an animal lover, I know this is a heart wrenching situation. Do you rescue it or not?  If you decide against it... at least call animal control and give the details of where you saw the animal. You will at least be giving it a small chance of getting rescued.

But, put yourself in the original owners place and think what you would want the finder of your animal to do if he found him hurt or without his collar.

Rescuing a DogIf you've never lost a beloved animal you might think that the owner of the found dog or cat abandoned him or neglected to keep him safely confined. But accidents can happen. The frantic owner could be looking everywhere for their pet.

If you decide to rescue it:

Stop for a bit and observe the animal. Does he have a collar?  Is he acting scared? Does it look hurt? If you decide that it's lost, be careful. Not all dogs and cats are friendly, and a hurt animal can be aggressive. Open the back door of your car slowly, as not to startle him or her and call it over... if it comes on its own, great. Don't try to force it or approach him too fast. Speak softly and try to reassure him. If you're not able to restrain the animal in a safe way, call the local police or animal control agency.

If you are able to capture him, check for a collar or an ID chip. If you are lucky, he'll have one and you can call immediately. Otherwise, your first stop should be an animal hospital. They can check for a microchip and find the owners if they find one. If you are planning on taking him or her home, ask the animal hospital to give you flee treatment that you can give right away. If it's hurt, be ready to take the financial responsibility of his care. If you've already made up your mind to take him home, a full vet's checkup is a good idea, but you have to be willing to pay for it.

That's the toughest decision: will you take it home or will you take it to the humane society or a shelter? Unfortunately, most animal agencies don't have the budget to sustain many animals at a time, and most of them euthanize strays in a few days. If you take the animal there, ask for a case number and make sure you leave your information. Make sure to call everyday and see if the owners came forward, otherwise, be ready to take him out before they euthanize him. You can tell them you are taking him home, but it's important that they know you have the animal, since that is the first place the owners are going to look.

Taking him home will give you a whole new set of responsibilities. You will have to bathe and feed him or her. Be careful with you other animals. You don't know if this found animal has had all its shots and might put your own pets at risk, so try to keep it separated until you get it checked. Sometimes you can tell by the appearance of the animal if he was lost recently and how well it was taken care off. Is it groomed? Clean? Are his teeth clean? Use your judgment. But remember that if it's been lost for many days, it won't look very pretty, so don't assume it was mistreated or abandoned. The most beloved pets sometimes get out and get lost.

Now it's time to take pictures. Colored posters work best. Don't give out every detail of the animal, so you can weed out the real owners. Say it has a collar, but don't say what color, etc. Post the signs around the area where you found it and a little beyond. Take the poster to different shelters in the area, vet offices, grooming facilities, etc. Use Craigslist!  You can post the picture for free. There are many Lost Pet websites where you can register the animal. Call the newspaper. Posting a lost pet announcement is not that expensive. Do you best to find the owners.  It can take some time.

Think about what to do while you look for the owners

Can you keep it in your home? Are you willing to return him to his original home if the owner turns up after a while? Can you find him a temporary home until you find the owners? How about a permanent home if you are not lucky in your search?

Check with the ASPCA, the Humane Society and other animal agencies in you area to find out the guidelines about lost and found pets. They can give you more ideas. But all in all, if the animal stays with you while you find its owners, they stand a better chance of surviving. It might be a little costly to be a Good Samaritan, but there are many clinics and agencies that might be willing to help. After all, isn't it worthwhile to save a life?

What do you do if you are driving and all of a sudden you see a dog or a cat roaming alone on the street? If you're an animal lover, I know this is a heart wrenching situation. Do you rescue it or not?  If you decide against it... at least call animal control and give the details of where you saw the animal. You will at least be giving it a small chance of getting rescued.

But, put yourself in the original owners place and think what you would want the finder of your animal to do if he found him hurt or without his collar.

If you've never lost a beloved animal you might think that the owner of the found dog or cat abandoned him or neglected to keep him safely confined. But accidents can happen. The frantic owner could be looking everywhere for their pet.

If you decide to rescue it:

Stop for a bit and observe the animal. Does he have a collar?  Is he acting scared? Does it look hurt? If you decide that it's lost, be careful. Not all dogs and cats are friendly, and a hurt animal can be aggressive. Open the back door of your car slowly, as not to startle him or her and call it over... if it comes on its own, great. Don't try to force it or approach him too fast. Speak softly and try to reassure him. If you're not able to restrain the animal in a safe way, call the local police or animal control agency.

If you are able to capture him, check for a collar or an ID chip. If you are lucky, he'll have one and you can call immediately. Otherwise, your first stop should be an animal hospital. They can check for a microchip and find the owners if they find one. If you are planning on taking him or her home, ask the animal hospital to give you flee treatment that you can give right away. If it's hurt, be ready to take the financial responsibility of his care. If you've already made up your mind to take him home, a full vet's checkup is a good idea, but you have to be willing to pay for it.

That's the toughest a decision: will you take it home or will you take it to the humane society or a shelter? Unfortunately, most animal agencies don't have the budget to sustain many animals at a time, and most of them euthanize strays in a few days. If you take the animal there, ask for a case number and make sure you leave your information. Make sure to call everyday and see if the owners came forward, otherwise, be ready to take him out before they euthanize him. You can tell them you are taking him home, but it's important that they know you have the animal, since that is the first place the owners are going to look.

Taking him home will give you a whole new set of responsibilities. You will have to bathe and feed him or her. Be careful with you other animals. You don't know if this found animal has had all its shots and might put your own pets at risk, so try to keep it separated until you get it checked. Sometimes you can tell by the appearance of the animal if he was lost recently and how well it was taken care off. Is it groomed? Clean? Are his teeth clean? Use your judgment. But remember that if it's been lost for many days, it won't look very pretty, so don't assume it was mistreated or abandoned. The most beloved pets sometimes get out and get lost.

Now it's time to take pictures. Colored posters work best. Don't give out every detail of the animal, so you can weed out the real owners. Say it has a collar, but don't say what color, etc. Post the signs around the area where you found it and a little beyond. Take the poster to different shelters in the area, vet offices, grooming facilities, etc. Use Craigslist!  You can post the picture for free. There are many Lost Pet websites where you can register the animal. Call the newspaper. Posting a lost pet announcement is not that expensive. Do you best to find the owners.  It can take some time.

Think about what to do while you look for the owners

Can you keep it in your home? Are you willing to return him to his original home if the owner turns up after a while? Can you find him a temporary home until you find the owners? How about a permanent home if you are not lucky in your search?

Check with the ASPCA, the Humane Society and other animal agencies in you area to find out the guidelines about lost and found pets. They can give you more ideas. But all in all, if the animal stays with you while you find its owners, they stand a better chance of surviving. It might be a little costly to be a Good Samaritan, but there are many clinics and agencies that might be willing to help. After all, isn't it worthwhile to save a life?

Photo Courtesy of:

dreamsjung