Help! I Found an Animal
Devil Dog Ranch fields numerous calls from people who find lost animals. One of the first questions asked is, "Do you have someplace we can bring this dog? We don't want to take it to the shelter."
Devil Dog Ranch does not have its own kennel, but even if we did, we would direct the finder of an animal to do exactly that - take the animal to the nearest shelter. As this animal's "rescuer", bringing it to the appropriate shelter allows it to be scanned to see if it has a microchip, and for its license or rabies tag to be traced so it may be returned home ASAP.
If you do find an animal, here are some tips:
* Check for serious injuries, using extreme caution: hurt animals can be fearful and unpredictable. Never put yourself in danger of being bit.
* If the animal is approachable and comes to you, offer food and water. Animals that have been out on the street for a while may be hungry and dehydrated.
* Take the animal to the nearest shelter. This is the logical place for owners to search for their lost pets. Scanning for microchips and tracing tags occurs as soon as the animal is impounded. In addition, both the city and county of L.A. have websites with photos of all animals impounded. These web sites are updated hourly, making it possible for a pet's owner to search the shelters during non-business hours.
* If you wish to remain involved in the fate of the animal you found and turned in to a shelter, you may request that that a First Rights hold be placed on the animal in your name. This means you will be the only person allowed to adopt the animal within the first hour of the first day it becomes available, should its owner not reclaim it during its legally required holding period of 5 business days. If you wish to adopt, foster, board, contact a rescue organization or find a permanent home for the animal you found, you now have at least 5 days to work out all the details while the animal is safe and off the streets. The animal you adopt will be spayed or neutered, receive immunizations and a microchip.
* If you simply can't bring yourself to take the animal you found to the shelter, you should be prepared to document your *good faith* efforts to locate the animal's owner for up to a month before assuming ownership. Keep in mind that in the eyes of the law, animals are property. Making every effort to allow a pet to be recovered by its original owner should be your first priority. Take the animal to a vet's office to be scanned for a microchip. Post a FOUND flyer with your contact information at the local animal shelter(s). Post on Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter. Place ads in local newspapers (these are often free). Post flyers in the area where the pet was found and in a 2 mile radius. Please keep in mind that looks can be deceiving. A lost pet can lose weight rapidly out on the streets, making it tempting to jump to conclusions about what a "bad" owner the frightened and confused animal you found must have had.
* If you do find yourself in a position to re-home an animal you found, please screen all potential adopters carefully and inspect all potential homes for safety. "Free to a good home" is not advised, as people often wish to obtain animals for unsavory purposes. Devil Dog Ranch recommends asking for a donation to cover the cost of vet bills, boarding, grooming etc. An adoption fee also deters those who may not have taken the decision to adopt seriously. The best home is out there, but might take a little longer to find - the effort is all well worth it.