Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Caution - stray dogs and cats can carry diseases - including Rabies which is fatal to to non humans and can be fatal to humans. Exercise caution when approaching any unknown animal. A frightened dog or cat can be just as likely to bite as an aggressive dog or cat.

By http://latrenda.blogspot.com, http://rrc.petfinder.com
Check here for updates: http://docs.google.com/View?id=ddtbr7bw_94fpbtt4fs

San Antonio is one of the worst cities in the nation for strays, euthanasia and road kill. So you have probably seen a stray dog/cat or two. There are many good Samaritans in San Antonio who will rescue these strays. Are you one?

Table of Contents

Ask Yourself
Am I able to keep this dog, cat etc.. for a few days once I pick him/her up?
Are my family members (human and other) safe if I bring this animal into my home?
Do I have the finances to take care of a stray until I can find a home or shelter?
Will my landlord/apartment manager, homeowner, parents, insurance etc.. allow me to bring this dog into the home?
Find the Owners
Don't put the animal back on the street after picking up
Get the animal scanned for a microchip
Call the phone numbers on the tag.
Let People Know you have the Animal so the owners can find you.
Look at "Lost Dog/Cat" ads
Make sure animal goes back to correct home
Be aware of scam artists
Be extra cautious during halloween
If you cant find the owners
Get on a waiting list at local shelters
Work with a foster network
Find potential new parents yourself - Adopt out
If you can't catch the animal(s)
Be cautious, earn trust
Humane Traps
Vet Care
Rescuing very young puppies and kittens

Ask Yourself
Before picking up the stray dog, cat or other furry or scaley friend, ask yourself a few questions:

Am I able to keep this dog, cat etc.. for a few days once I pick him/her up?
In most cases, you will have to keep this pet for a while until you can find the pet-parents or until space opens in a shelter or a foster network
Because of the awful stray problem that San Antonio has, no-kill shelters and foster networks are always full. The wait to get an animal into a no-kill shelter can range from a few weeks to a few months depending on the type and size of animal you have.
Municipal shelters aren't as limited as no-kill shelters but there can still be a wait of a few days. And most municipal shelters (Such as San Antonio Animal Care Services) are NOT no-kill. Although municipal shelters have adoption and foster programs, surrendering a dog or cat to a municipal shelter could mean death. Please note that sometimes a humane, quick death by injection is better than slowing dying of injuries on the street.
If the baby is wearing a collar with tags, you might be able to find his/her parents, but that could still take a while. If the animal is wearing a rabies tag, there will be a phone number of the agency who provided the vaccination. If you pick up an animal on a Friday night, it could be Monday or Tuesday morning before you can call the vet to get to call the parents. And sadly sometimes the parents don't want their baby back.
Be aware that many irresponsible pet parents will let their pets run loose. So you might take several hours to find the right home only to see the fur baby out again.
Are my family members (human and other) safe if I bring this animal into my home?
You won't know the vet care or vaccine history of the animal you bring into your home. He or she could have communicable diseases such as rabies, distemper, parvo, etc.. If your own pets have not been vaccinated, do not let them interact with the stray at least until the stray has seen a vet. Also be aware that some animal diseases are communicable to humans - rabies, sarcoptic mange, ringworm to name a few
Also be aware that certain diseases have an incubation period. The animal might be carrying a disease that is not immediately evident.
You also won't know the temperament history of the animal. While the animal seemed friendly enough on the street, he/she might be afraid or aggressive towards children, might be aggressive towards a different gender or might be food or resource aggressive, might be aggressive towards your animals.
Do I have the finances to take care of a stray until I can find a home or shelter?
At the very least, you are going to need to provide proper nutrition for the stray (please no table scraps)
If you take on the responsibility for picking up the stray, you should take the responsibility to keep or make the stray healthy
This means getting rabies, distemper, and parvo vaccinations at a minimum. If you have a stray dog who has been out for a while, the chances are high that he/she will have heartworms. Treatment can be anywhere from 400 to over 1,000 dollars. Many strays get hit by cars. Fixing broken hips and legs can cost thousands of dollars
See the following websites for agencies or info on financing vet care and for info on agencies who might help with vet care. These sites also have info for low-cost spay/neuter:
Will my landlord/apartment manager, homeowner, parents, insurance etc.. allow me to bring this dog into the home?
Find the Owners
The first thing you should do after picking up a stray animal is to try to find the owners. If the animal appears to be in bad shape (matted, underweight, etc..), don't assume the owners did not take care of him/her. It might just mean that the animal has been lost for a while. Or the animal could have been stolen and then let go once the robbers learned how much responsibility goes into caring for an animal.

Don't put the animal back on the street after picking up
Extremely important. If you pick up a pet, then decide you can't keep him/her do NOT put the pet back out. If you feel you must put the pet back (please don't) at least make sure you put him/her back in exactly the same place you found him/her. It would probably be less cruel to take the pet to animal control rather than picking him/her up then putting him/her back out so now it will have a harder time getting back home. San Antonio Animal Control holds strays for at least 72 hours before putting them down. If pet parents are physically checking for the pets, the pet will be safe until the parents can pick him/her up. If the pet is left on the street, he or she could get injured, sick or killed.
Get the animal scanned for a microchip
This can be done at most vets and animal shelters. If a chip is found, call the company to get the owners phone and/or address. The vet or shelter can help you with this.
Call the phone numbers on the tag.
If the animal has an I.D. tag, call the phone number. If the animal is wearing a rabies tag or city license tag, call the number of the agency who issued the tag. That agency should be able to get in contact with the pet parent(s)
Let People Know you have the Animal so the owners can find you.
Put up "Found" posters in the area where the animal was spotted
Note that the Internet will reach more people, but there are still some people who are not on the Internet
Put up found poster in near by vet clinics and animal shelters
Walk door to door in the area ask if anyone is missing a pet or if the pet looks familiar to anyone
Contact the San Antonio Express News. You can place "found" ads free for 4 days
(210) 250-2345, (800) 411-2527FAX (210) 250-2360
Post the animal on the Internet

Look at "Lost Dog/Cat" ads
Posters, fliers, Internet, classified ads, vet shops, animal control, shelters, pet shops, etc..
Make sure animal goes back to correct home
When posting information on the found pet, be sure to leave out some details that only the real pet-parent would know - i.e. color, a spot on the ear, etc.. What color collar. You want to be extra cautious if you have found a purebred or a so small so called "cute" dog. Some people will pretend the animal is theirs just to take him/her to sell. You also want to be extra cautious with "bully" breeds or those dogs who have "reputations." Many unscrupulous and cruel people will use pit bulls, rottweilers, chows for inhumane purposes. Ask potential parents for vet records, family photos, etc..
Be aware of scam artists
People will tell you that they will foster the dog/cat until they can find a home only to sell the animal to the highest bidder (or even worse, sell the animal to a research facility,etc..
Be especially weary of people who advertise that they will taken in your found animal. On any given day, there are thousands of strays on the street and thousands of pet parents wanting to give up their own pets. There are way more strays around that their are people to take them in.
Be extra cautious during Halloween
Sadly, all white or all black animals can be used for awful purposes during Halloween time.

If you cant find the owners
Get on a waiting list at local shelters
If the animal is a purebred or displays dominate characteristics of a certain breed, check with some the purebred rescues
Work with a foster network
If you can keep the pet in your home for a while, get with a foster network. You foster the animal and the foster network advertises the animal on their site. As the foster parent, you take the animal to adoption events and you possibly wil have some say as to who gets to adopt the animal
Look into SNIPSA. They ask for a small donation to be come part of their network but they provide free spay/neuter. Also, look at other organizations if you aren't able to work with SNIPSA
Find potential new parents yourself - Adopt out
Get the animal spayed or neutered, up to date on shots, Heartworm Preventative. This is very important. For low cost spay neuter and vaccination resources, see http://fuzzychildren.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-cost-spay-neuter-vaccinations-in.html
Be sure to check out the potential adopters and be sure to charge a reasonable fee - at least 50 dollars - (many small rescue groups charge much more)
Information you can use to check on potential adopters http://docs.google.com/View?id=ddtbr7bw_344hm92frd4
Tips on re-homing
Do a home visit - check the condition of the yard, fence
Get personal and/or vet references and be sure to call
Have the pet parents fill out an adoption application and if approved, have them sign an adoption contract. Check out other rescue's adoption contracts and devise your own.
If you are looking for new pet parents, you will need to let people know your fur baby is available for adoption
You can post on craigslist - be extra cautious when posting here. You will want to thoroughly check out any leads
Post at vets, pet shops, etc.. If you have rescued a dog, talk him/her to pet friendly events.
Not only will this avenue provide great exposure, but you will be surrounded by a lot of people who think of their pets as family members rather than just a creature that they throw in the back yard.
Check out http://www.meetup.com/dogwalking/
If you regularly rescue strays, look into getting a petfinder account. Many people looking for new fur babies use this venue:
If you are not an official member of petfinder, you can still use their classified section:
Be aware that many scammers patrol petfinder's classified sections,
Do not talk with anyone from out of town
Do not talk with anyone who seems more interested in the fee than the fur baby
Take lots of pictures of the animal. Place him/her on picture sharing sites like Google Picasa, Photobucket, Flickr to you can easily share photos. Take different views and angles so potential pet parents have a good idea of the size and look of the dog or cat
Take a lot of videos of the dog or cat. Upload to Youtube, flickr, photobucket, etc.. and share the links. This is especially helping if you can video of the animal being playful or affectionate, with other animals, doing tricks etc..
If you have the resources, take the Animal to training courses, get a training certificate. A well-trained, well behaved dog might attract more adopters. Get the animal his/her Canine Good Citizen Certificate. Get a professional temperament test done by a certified trainer or behaviorist. No only would a good outcome attract potential adopters but you will know what you are dealing and what steps might need to be taken before or adoption or what issues the potential adopter should know about i.e. food or toy aggression.

If you can't catch the animal(s)
Be cautious, earn trust
Some animals are born never knowing the comfort of a home and some have been on their own for a while. These animals can be very nervous around humans and they might not come right up to you. They might even run away from you. You should be cautious around any unknown animal but be extra cautious around fearful animals. They are likely to bite if they feel cornered or threatened.
It may take a while to build up a frightened animal's trust. Feed the animal in the same spot every day to keep him/her coming back to the same place. Don't look directly at the animal. Talk in calming happy tones.
Once you earn trust, you might be able to slip a slip leash over his/her head but be extra careful. Make sure your side is to his/her side. Use your peripheral vision and try to slowly slip the leash over his/her head. Once you know the animal will respond well to being leashed/walked, etc.. You will always want to use a slip leash or martingale collar to walk/transport the dog. Even well-adjusted, friendly dogs, can slip a regular collar. A regular collar should be used to to display ID (rabies, name tag, microchip tag etc..) but use a slip leash or martingale when walking. Caution - never ever leave a slip leash on animal unattended. He/she can choke him/herself.
Slip leash info:
Humane Traps
Do not trap the animal if you have no place for him/her. You must be able to take the animal to your home, someone else home or to a shelter or rescue. Always check with the shelter or rescue first. Do not assume they can take the animal.

If the animal is in immediate danger i.e. injured, in a heavy traffic area, being abused,etc.. you might not have time to build enough trust to leash the animal. You might want to try a humane trap. You can rent one at the Animal Defense League - be sure to get thorough instructions on how to use it. You can purchase a trap at some feed stores (be sure to get the gravity one and not the spring loaded one) http://www.animal-traps.com/animal-trap-dog-medium-tc.html. http://www.adltexas.org/
Traps must be checked often - especially during inclement weather. You are likely to catch other animals (raccoons, possums, feral cats) so be prepared to release often so the animal won't starve, freeze or die of heat stroke. Be extra cautious when releasing animals as they could attack. Guidelines: http://www.animal-traps.com/animal-trap-dog-medium-tc.html#guidelines
If you do catch the intended animal, do NOT open the door of the trap until the animal is in your house. Be sure to carry the trap by the handle (otherwise, a scared dog or cat might bite your fingers). Put the trap and animal into your vehicle to take the animal home. Or to a shelter if you have made a prior arrangement. If you are taking the animal home, you might even consider stopping at your vet to get shots for the animal before going home. Transport to the vet in the trap. If the animal is extra frightened, get the animal sedated before he/she gets shots; then put the animal into a carrier or back into the trap before the sedation wares off then transport the animal do your house before opening the crate or trap. Special Note: Do not trap an animal if you don't already have plans for him/her. As stated above, most shelter are always full - even many municipal shelters might not be able to take in an animal without prior notice. Check with your landlord, etc.. before bringing the pet in.
For more information on humane trapping, see http://humanetrapping.webs.com/
If the animal was hard to catch because of fear or aggression, be extra cautious when bringing him or her home. On the first day, you should put the trap in a room in the house and place the trap in a position that allows the animal to feel that he/she can retreat to safety. Leave out food and water, open the trap door, then leave the animal alone. Give him/her some time to adjust.
If the animal is not used to humans, socialization can take weeks or months. Give the animal plenty of space and time. Continue to use your peripheral vision to communicate with the animal. Continue to approach the animal with your side to his/her side to make him/her more comfortable. Also keep low as much as possible (squatting, on your hands and knees, etc..). This will make you appear smaller and less threatening. Make sure your movements are flowing and purposeful and not quick and jerky. Do not talk loudly or make loud noises. Watch where you hands are. Some people are "hand-talkers" and this will frighten a nervous dog.
Do not wear hats or shades around a scared dog.
If you have a dog, he/she will need to go outside the potty, but be aware that if frightened, the dog might try to escape. Also the dog might be too afraid to come back in the house. Keep the dog on leash until he/she trusts you. Some dogs - especially ones who have never lived with humans are very shy about going potty on leash. If this is the case, get a extra long training leash to attach to the slip leash (20 or 30 feet) to give the dog some space.
You must be extra cautious around any open doors. A frightened animal might try to escape. You might even open up a corralling pen and place it in front of your door.
More info on living with shy dogs:
Information from the Animal Defense League on shy dogs: http://www.adltexas.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=11&id=121&Itemid=278

Vet Care
Be sure that the animal you take into your care gets proper vet care. At the bare minimum you must get the animal spayed/neutered and you must get vaccinations. You will also want to get the animal throughly checked for any injuries or underlying medical issues - especally heartworms. Heartworm treatment is very expensive but very necessary. The Animal Defense Leauge will treat heartworms for $200.00. Most places will charge must more; http://adltexas.org. Once the animal is treated or if the animal does not have heartworms, you must keep the him/her on monthly preventative. The Animal Defense Leauge has reasonable prices for the preventative.
If you have trouble affording vet care, please see http://fuzzychildren.blogspot.com/2009/08/if-you-cant-afford-vet-care.html

Rescuing very young puppies and kittens
Before picking up very young puppies and kittens ask yourself if you are able to properly care for them.
They will be totally dependant on you to provide the proper nutrition and to regular their body temperature.
Depending on how young they are, you might need to stimulate them to help them deficate and urinate
Depending on how young they are, you might have to provide round the clock feedings (at least every 2 to 4 hours)
They might need bottle feeding or dropper feeding. If they have been neglected for a while, they might be so weak that they will need tube feeding
Be aware that if you do pick them up, you might not be able to find a rescue agency to take them in right away and they get can sick and die very quickly without the proper care.
Before you pick them up, observe the area from a great distance to see if a mother comes back to care for the animals (especially cats). If you know that they you can't properly care for them, and you can't find a rescue to take them, then they might be better off with the mother who can provide proper nutrition and warmth. Plus the mother's milk affords the babies some protections against fatal diseases and other health problems.
DO NOT give regular milk that you purchase at the grocery store. DO NOT give chicken broth or any other human food. Either of these will kill the baby. Go to your vet or a pet shop and purchase formula specifically made for puppies or kittens. Contact a local rescue group or shelter or vet for advice. The babies should also be seen by a vet.
For more information, see the Animal Defense League's info on help very young babies: http://www.adltexas.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=11&id=119&Itemid=276

NO ADVANTIX on nursing moms...
Frontline and Advantage may be ok- but both read DO NOT USE on puppies < 6 weeks. I believe the label also reads do not use on nursing females.
Capstar is safe
Dawn dish soap is safe!

Pet Care PDF Files and info from US Humane Society
Some of the files listed below:
What to do when you find a stray
Finding a lost pet
Spay Neuter Myths and Facts
Selecting the right pet for your family
Why you should spay or neuter your pet


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