Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lost and Found Be careful when turning over a found dog

Lost and Found - Be careful when turning over a found dog


If you are Good Samaritan who picks up strays in San Antonio, you probably know by now how hard it is to find a place for the fur kid.  San Antonio has one of the worst stray problems in the country. Even though there are several shelters and rescues in the city, they are always full.


Kind hearted people have to take precautions when placing found dogs.  Of course the first thing you need to do is try to find the original parents - flyers, newspaper ads, internet ads, etc...


Precautions apply to any found dog, but good Samaritans who find small dogs, purebred dogs and certain bully or power breeds or breeds with reputations have to be extra cautious. Puppies are also quite popular but good Samaritans should be aware that a lot of people will dump puppies once the cuteness wares off


[*]Big market for lap or purse sized dogs. People will sell the dogs to the first person who comes along or to the person with the most money - not making sure the dog gets into the best home.  Since the seller or broker is only concerned with making money, the conditions in which the dog is kept while waiting for a buyer could be atrocious. Vet care, proper nutrition is non-existent because that costs money.


[*] Purebred dogs can also be a money maker for unscrupulous people


[*] Unscrupulous people are happy to take Pit Bulls, Rottweiler, Chows, etc... for fighting, "junk yard dogs," guard dogs, money makers, etc... 


[*] Note that any size or breed dog can wind up in the wrong hands - unstable people (hoarders, animal abusers, killers, bait dogs) research labs, etc...



Sometimes no matter how well you try to make sure a dog winds up in the right place, bad things can happen. But there are some precautions that good Samaritans can take



[*] If someone claims to be the owner of a dog you found, ask for vet records, family photos, copies of lost/found flyers, ads, etc.  If none can be produced, then ask questions to try to figure out if the person is telling the truth or lying.  Ask the same question in different ways and check for consistency.  If on the phone, ask caller for distinguishing physical characteristics (something you left out of the flyers).  If face to face ask how they acquired the dog, personality traits, etc... You can ask when their dog went missing.  If they say May 18th, but you've had the dog since April, then you will know something is up


[*] If you post the dog on the internet - like craigslist, etc...  be extra cautious of anyone who contacts you claiming to be a rescue.  Rescues are always over flowing. True rescues/shelters turn down  turn-in requests every day.  It is highly unlikely that a rescue would contact someone offering to take a dog. It is more likely that the person calling is looking to make a quick buck off the dog you have found. Or worse.


[*] If you are able to find a rescue or shelter to take the dog, be sure to check out the place if possible. See what conditions the pets are kept in. If the rescue is a foster network, they won't have a location to check out.  But still ask lots of questions about how the dogs are housed, what are their adoption procedures. Ask to see their adoption application, adoption contract. Ask which vet they use for their rescues (very important).  Ask about their 501 C 3 status. There are some good rescuers who might not have that status yet, but they should at least know what it is.  If they claim to be a 501 C 3 check them out at or Ask how their pets are advertised.  The rescue should know about Petfinder.


[*] If you are going to try to find a home for the animal yourself - which is likely because shelters are always full - do criminal background checks, home visits, check with apartment managers, rental property owners to see if pets are allowed and if there are any breed or size restrictions. Check vet records of any present or past pets.  Ask lots of questions about how the dog will be living, who will be caring for the dog, etc..



More info for rescuers here: