What to do with a stray pet
Pets wander away from home and get lost. If you find an animal without an ID tag, what do you do?
Radio interview source: Dr. Robert Weedon, Shelter Veterinarian, Champaign County Humane Society
Occasinoally a stray dog or cat will show up on your acreage. The best thing to do is to try to find its owner.
Bob Weedon is the shelter veterinarian for the Champaign County Humane Society in Illinois. He says when a stray animal wanders onto your place, think about its safety and well-being. If you ignore it with the hope it will go home, it could be killed by predators or on the road, or succumb to the climate. There's also the possibility that somebody may be looking for their lost pet.
"In the context of both of those concerns, I would recommend contacting your local animal control agency, as well as local private shelters," he says. "Most often when a pet gets loose, responsible owners will contact these organizations with a description and contact information."
Many pet owners have their animals micro-chipped, which is a tiny computer chip under the skin that lists the owner's contact information. The chip can be scanned at a shelter, or by a veterinarian, and a lost pet can then be returned to the owner. If there isn't a chip or the information is no longer current, try publicizing the found animal.
"You can advertise in the local paper, because many newspapers will offer a limited run of free found ads," says Weedon. "There are online blogs, and other ways, for instance Craig's List is a great way to publicize a found animal. It's important to remember that there is very likely a concerned owner looking for this pet, so getting information out there to help them reunite is crucial."
Keep an eye out for lost pet fliers, and see if they match the animal you found. Sometimes, you'll have to decide whether to take the animal to a shelter, or make it a new addition to your family.
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