You're driving your car when you see a dog on the side of the road.
With a sinking feeling, you realize he's alone.
What should you do?
After all, what if your own pet were standing there?
Don't cause a traffic accident. You can't help an animal if you become injured in the process. Look in your rear-view mirror before braking, turn on your signal, pull your car completely off the road, turn off the ignition, set the parking brake, and put on the hazard lights. If you have emergency flares, prepare to use them.
Consider the safety of the animal. A strange, frightened, and possibly sick or injured animal can behave unpredictably. A sudden move on your part, even opening your car door, can spook her and cause her to bolt—possibly right onto the highway. If the animal looks or acts threatening, or, if for any reason, you feel uneasy about the situation, stay in your car.If possible, restrain the animal. Create a barrier or use a carrier, leash, piece of cloth, or length of rope to keep the animal from leaving the area. Signal approaching vehicles to slow down if you cannot confine the animal, or divert traffic around him if he appears to be injured and is still on the roadway.
Use caution when approaching the animal. Should you succeed in getting close enough to capture him, you stand a good chance of being scratched or bitten.When moving toward the animal, speak calmly to reassure her. Make sure she can see you at all times as you approach, and perhaps entice her to come to you by offering a strong-smelling food such as canned tuna or dried liver.
If you are certain you can call someone who will come to get the animal very soon, try to lure an animal into your car with food, close the door, and wait for help. In most cases it isn't a good idea to attempt to drive somewhere with a strange dog unrestrained in your car; he may become frantic or aggressive once you're in the car with him. Cats may do the same, as well as lodge themselves under the car seat, and it can be dangerous trying to extracting them.
If you're not able to safely restrain the animal, call the local animal control agency (in rural areas, call the police or sheriff). Do so whether or not the animal is injured, and whether or not she is wearing an identification tag. Leave your phone number with the dispatcher, and try to get an estimate of how long it may take someone to respond. If possible, stay on the scene to keep an eye on the dog or cat until help arrives. Make sure you report to authorities precisely where the animal is by using road names, mile markers or landmarks.
If you are able to transport the animal, take her to the nearest animal shelter. If you plan to keep the animal in the event no owner is found, notify animal control that you have the animal or that you have taken her to a veterinary hospital for treatment. You can usually place a free "found" ad in your local newspaper. Keep any identification, such as collar or tags, should any question arise later.
If you decide to try to find the owner yourself, be sure to contact your local animal shelter or animal control office first. This will give you an opportunity to let the appropriate agency know that you have the animal and to provide a description to them, in case the owner contacts them. Also, have the animal scanned for a microchip at your local veterinarian or shelter; this quick ID check could help you find the owner right away.
Before bringing the animal home, make sure you can keep your resident animals separate; the found animal could be sick, fearful, or aggressive with other animals. Once you have him safely at your home, take pictures and create a “found pet” flyer to post around the area in which the animal was found. You can also post notices at veterinary hospitals and on web sites such as petfinder.com.If you’ve tried to find the owner without success, but are unable to keep the animal long-term, you can try to re-home the animal yourself.
If you know in your heart that you're a rescuer, equip yourself to do the job? Here are some things to have in your car at all times:
Phone numbers of local animal control, a shelter or police
24-hour emergency veterinary clinic information
Cat carrier or cardboard box
Collars and strong leashes for dogs
Heavy blanket; water bowls and water
Strong-smelling foods, such as canned tuna or dried liver
An animal first-aid kit.
** The Humane Society of the United States
Final word ... Although we do our best to keep our pets safe and secure at home. Unfortunately, pets can still manage to break loose from the safety of their home or yard. Having a pet who runs away is a horrible feeling. Let's do all we can to get these lost babies home to thier families without judgement. It can happen to the best of us.
... Lia Herlihy
Animal Control / Dog Wardens
Beacon Dog Control –
1 Municipal Plaza, Beacon NY 12508
Bedford Dog Control – Bedford Police Dept. –
307 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills NY 10507
Beekman Dog Control –
4 Main Street, Poughquag NY 12570
845-724-5300 ext 212
Carmel Dog Control – Carmel Police Dept. -
60 McAlpin Avenue, Mahopac NY 10541
Connecticut State Department of Agriculture –
Animal Control Divison –
165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford CT 06106
Cortlandt Animal Control –
1 Heady Street, Cortlandt Manor NY 10567
Danbury Animal Control –
Plumtrees Road, Danbury CT 06910
Dover Dog Control –
126 East Duncan Hill Road, Dover Plains NY 12522
Dutchess County SPCA – (Hyde Park & Pleasant Valley)
636 Violet Avenue, Hyde Park NY 12538
East Fishkill Animal Control –
2468 Route 52, Hopewell Junction NY 12533
Fishkill Animal Control – Fishkill Police Dept
Kent Dog Control –
24 Sybil’s Crossing, Kent Lakes NY 10512
LaGrange Dog Control –
120 Stringham Road, Lagrangeville NY 12540
2Lewisboro Dog Control –
11 Main Street, South Salem NY 10590
North Salem Dog Control –
250 June Road, North Salem 10560
Patterson Dog Control –
1142 Route 311, Patterson NY 12563
Pawling Dog Control –
160 Charles Colman Boulevard, Pawling NY 12564
Peekskill Animal Control – Peekskill Police Dept. –
2 Nelson Avenue, Peekskill NY 10566
Philipstown Dog Control –
238 Main Street, Cold Spring NY 10516
Poughkeepsie City Animal Control –
62 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie NY 12601
Pound Ridge Dog Control – Pound Ridge Police Dept. –
177 Westchester Ave, Pound Ridge NY 10576
Putnam Valley Dog Control -
265 Oscawana Lake Road, Putnam Valley NY 10579
Somers Dog Control -
335 Route 202, Somers NY 10589
Southeast Dog Control –
1360 Route 22, Brewster NY 10509
Union Vale Dog Control –
Pleasant Ridge Road, Beekman NY 12570