Watch Tip: Watch for Strays

Posted on December 19th, 2009 by Anna Nirva

Tip for week of Dec. 20:

Watch and listen for stray dogs and cats that could go missing while traveling with their families, or be frightened by holiday fireworks. Take action to save them.

Be especially watchful now. You might save someone’s beloved pet.

You know the pets in your immediate neighborhood, so you can recognize the strays. They not only look unfamiliar, they may act insecure or unsure of their direction. Please be especially watchful during the next two weeks. You may save a life.

Holidays are very risky times for companion animals. When pets are left in the care of a kind friend or neighbor, lack of detailed knowledge of the pet’s behavior can easily result in strayed animals and accidents. Or when a family travels with their pet, unfamiliar surroundings and disrupted routines can cause pets to become confused, run away and get lost.

Finally, some irresponsible families make decisions to dump their pets in a new neighborhood before their holiday visitors arrive. If you see this happen, take a photo with your cell phone or write down the license plate number and call the authorities. These people are breaking the law.

If you know of someone who doesn’t put collars or tags on their dogs or cats, suggest to the owner that without tags or microchips, recovery of a lost pet becomes much more difficult. I remember being scolded by a young man who picked up his stray yellow lab at our county shelter where I volunteer several days after the dog arrived. He said angrily, “Why didn’t you call me right away? You’re supposed to call.” I replied, “He is not wearing a collar and tags, so we did not have a phone number to call.” His jaw dropped and his eyes got big and round. It was an “aha” moment. He just had never thought about it before.

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