Saving the day for a stray.
So you found a stray animal. You could have found it on your way to work, or in your yard on the weekend. However it came about, you now have an animal in your possession that isn’t yours, and no idea if it is someone’s lost pet or if it was abandoned. What do you do? Who do you call? What if you can’t have another dog or cat? Maybe your apartment doesn’t allow pets. The possibilities of bad situations are endless, but do not panic, we have a plan!
The first step when you find a stray is to see if the animal has any form of collar or ID tags. It does? Good, call the number or information listed and tell the owner you stumbled upon their pet and would love to return it to them. They will heave a sigh of relief and come retrieve their beloved furbaby.
No collar? Okay, that’s fine, don’t worry, we’ve got this. Take them to a shelter or vet and have them scanned for a microchip. The have a chip? AWESOME! Ask the vet or shelter staff to reach out to the company for the owner’s information and contact them. Oh no, no information at the microchip company? Sometimes the chips are unregistered, but if you ask the microchip company for where the animal was microchipped, that shelter or vets office can provide you with the name of the person who owns the animal.
No chip? That is a real bummer. Again, don’t panic. We still have some tricks up our sleeves! Call your local animal services and issue a found report, this means that they will take your information and use it to see if anyone reports a missing pet that fits the description. Post about the found animal on social media, make sure to specify you found them and are not just giving them away. You can also make posters and place them around where you found the animal.
Whew, now we wait. Soon hopefully their owner will come forward and they will be reunited!
Oh, you can’t keep them at home, that is right. Well then, and I know you don’t want to hear this, the best thing to do is to find someone who can. Ask family members and friends, if they can’t, then you should surrender the animal to your local county shelter. Locally, Marion County Animal Services is required by law to keep a stray with no identification (microchip or ID tag) for three business days, and with identification for ten business days. If someone loses their pet, the first place they will look is MCAS- don’t feel bad leaving them there. And, if no one comes to claim the stray they can be put up for adoption. You can retrieve the case number when you surrender the animal and ask to be called if MCAS is not putting the animal out for adoption. You can also reach out to local rescues, such as VOCAL, when you turn the dog into the shelter, and ask them to check in on them.
Remember, it is illegal to rehome a stray without first going through all the above steps. They must go on a stray hold for a minimum of 3 days in a shelter. This way the owner has a chance to claim them. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us here at VOCAL. Below you will find the numbers to the local county shelter and our number. May your found animals always find their way home, and into the arms of the people who love them.