Stray dogs - what do you when you find one?
Imagine you are driving around town to some random destination when you suddenly see a stray dog. What do you do? Do you call 911? Do you try to catch the dog?
I saw a black lab in a neighboring town today in the middle of a busy intersection. I didn't know what to do. I have to local dog catchers number but this was a different part of town.
Same thing happened a while back and I called 911 - they put me on hold! Eventually I got patched through to the right place and they said they would send somebody out.
Is there a general 800 number in the US that you can call? That way you don't have to bother 911 operators? I couldn't possibly program every town's dog catcher in my phone.
911 Is not the people to call unless it's an emergency and the dog is attacking or has attacked you or someone else around you. I wouldn't tie up the line for something like a stray dog.
You can find out your local dog warden's number for your town by using Google or 411.
I advise against trying to catch a stray dog. When I see them in the intersection I just take my foot off the gas honk and slow to a stop. They usually move out of the road before I stop completely. Then I pray no one else hits the dog.
If dog is in traffic let them know. It could cause an accident. Let them decided if they need to send a unit or direct your call to someone else.
I usually honk to get them out of the road and pull over. If they are friendly I will catch them and look for a collar or owner information. If not a collar, I take them to the no kill shelter. If there is contact information I call the owners.
Last time I did that the original owner had given the dogs to someone else who didn't bother to change the tags. Both dogs ended back with the original owner. Clearly they were being neglected- nails were extremely long, both were skinny and had fleas. Original owner was not happy to see them like that!
Luckily I haven't run into any pitts- yet. Not sure I would take on a huge pack, but one dog who comes when called and is friendly, no problem.
Around here, I wouldn't call animal control unless it had rabies. They would put it down anyway.
You can still dial 411. That's Directory Assistance. They find number for you and will patch you through once they find the right place. You don't even need to dial anything. I recall a fee for calling.
I slow down and if I can, I pull over and try to determine if the dog is friendly. If he's friendly, I will open my door and see if he will jump in or I'll try to catch him. If he's got tags, I'll contact his home or just take him there. If there's no tags, I'll take him to a no-kill shelter, and post out information on local places (Craigslist, freecycle, petfinder, etc).
I usually get the dog out of the road by honking, then I will pull over and see if it's friendly. If it comes up to me and I can see a collar then I try to find it's owner, if not I leave it be and might coax it to take some food before going on its way. If I don't see any information on it then it comes home with me and I try to find its owner or a new owner (mainly I take them home because my state doesn't have no kill shelters). I've ended up with about 8 dogs this way (luckily I only kept 2!) and if you feel that it poses a danger to you or other people don't hesitate to leave it to animal control. You've really just got to trust your gut.
Honestly? I usually catch the dog, if I can. In all my years of catching dogs, there was only 1 that got away on me. It was about a 8 pound Chihuahua and that little stinker just kept running away. Once I have them, if my dogs are NOT with me, I toss them in the car and run them to the shelter or call Animal control. If my dogs are with me, I call Animal Control while I keep them on a leash and safe. If I can't stop, I would still call the police non emergency number. If nothing else, they should be able to tell you who you should be speaking to.
If I have a few minutes and I am in a residential area, I might knock on a few doors. Often times, someone knows who's dog it is. I always carry a slip lead or 2 in my car for such things.
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