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What do you do if you see if you see a stray cat or dog?

Sunday, September 5, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

lost-dogYou’re on your way to the store and you’re driving down one of the main roads in town and all of a sudden, you see a stray dog wandering out in street in front of your car? Your heart sinks, you slam on the brakes. What should you do after that?  Be cautious and use safety first. Pull the car over carefully.  Turn off the ignition, put on your flashing lights and if you’re on a highway and have flares, use them.  Consider the safety of the animal that you are trying to rescue.  A frightened or injured animal can behave aggressively. Any sudden move by you can cause him to run and you don’t want him to run out into harms way. If the animal looks or acts threatening , or if you feel uneasy about the situation, stay in your car.

If possible, try to restrain the animal. Use a box, crate, pet carrier, leash, cloth or anything to create a barrier. Make sure that you signal oncoming vehicles to slow down.

Use caution when approaching the animal. If you succeed in getting close enough to capture him, there’s a good chance that you’ll get bitten or scratched.  When you approach the animal speak softly to reassure him.  Make sure that he can see you at all times as you approach him.  If you have some canned food such as tuna, you may want to entice him with it.

Try to lure the animal into your car. Once the dog or cat is in the car, DO NOT DRIVE AWAY. This can get a nervous animal going and a cat will try to get under the seat if frightened. Call for help if you have a cell phone if not, simply wait for help.  If you are not able to safely restrain the animal, call the local police or animal control agency.  If you are able to safely transport the animal,that’s if he’s in a cage or crate, take him to the nearest animal shelter.

If you know that you are a pet rescuer at heart, you may want to carry these items in your car.

  • Cat carrier or cardboard box
  • Phone; phone numbers of local animal control, a shelter, and a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic.
  • Collars and strong dog leashes.
  • Blanket
  • Water and water bowls
  • Strong-smelling foods, such as canned tuna or dried liver
  • A first aid kit

You’ll feel great after you’ve brought an animal to safety especially if his owners could be contacted.

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