Hopeful Henry: What you need to do when you find a dog or cat?
After a recent situation where the Lake Tahoe Humane Society had to go to great lengths to get a missing dog back from people who found her I thought it important to cover this subject: Exactly what do you do when you find a dog or cat?
What happened was a dog had gotten lost up here at South Lake Tahoe. The owners were from out of town and were completely devastated their dog went missing. She was a 14-year-old small breed who was on medication. The dog was found by a local resident, who posted the dog as found on Facebook. After a couple of days they could not keep her, so they gave her to a friend, who then, after a couple of days, could not keep her, so they passed off the dog to another friend. This happened five times over a two week period. Fortunately, the story reached the Lake Tahoe Humane Society. With the help of some caring locals and El Dorado County Animal Services, the Lake Tahoe Humane Society got the dog back. The point is it took two weeks for the dog to get home when it could have been just a day or two. These situations can easily be avoided. If you find a dog or a cat follow these simple steps:
1. Immediately call EL Dorado County Animal Services at 530-573-7925 to report you found an animal. They will pick up the animal and take the appropriate steps to locate the owner. Call even if the animal has tags.
2. Contact the Lake Tahoe Humane Society at 530-542-2857 to report you found an animal. They will also work to find owner.
If you find an animal after 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday or on Sunday follow these steps:
1. Contact El Dorado Animal Services at 530-573-7925 and leave them a message reporting you found an animal. While they do not answer the phone after hours they do check messages. Make sure you leave your contact info so they can call you back.
2. Contact the Lake Tahoe Humane Society on their after hours number, 530-577-4521. They will assist you.
Do not just keep the dog and try find the owner by yourself. This only creates turmoil for the dog and owner. Also it may be considered theft. A dog is personal property and anyone who steals a dog can be charged with theft. Most people are coming from a good place when they keep a missing animal and try to find their owners and don’t understand what needs to be done, so let’s all follow the above advice and do the right thing.
As an added note of advice to all pet owners, keep a collar with current identification tags on your pets at all times, and make sure the tag is legible. When you’re out with your dog, make sure you securely attach a leash before you open the car door to avoid a runaway situation. After you give your dog a bath, do not open the bathroom door until your pup has a collar with tags securely on. The most common excuse we hear as to why dogs don’t have their collar or tags on is, “I just gave him a bath and he ran out”. If you are entertaining and have a lot of traffic coming and going, put your pet (especially indoor cats) in a separate room and lock it. This is one of the main reasons cats get out. When you are out of town, consider a boarding facility versus a pet sitter. Sadly, about 30 percent of calls we get for lost animals are from pet sitters watching pets not closely enough. If you prefer a pet sitter, use someone reliable and licensed. Tahoe Best Friends does offer a reliable pet-sitting service for cats and dogs.
Let’s all try to keep our pets safe and “Keep Tahoe Kind.”
You can submit your questions or letters via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 96158. The Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. now have a Facebook page, so stop by and check it out at http://www.facebook.com/laketahoehumanesocietyspca. You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at http://www.facebook.com/hopeful.henry or follow us on Twitter @lthumanesociety.