Defenders Blog: Help! I found a stray!

Ideas for helping a stray animal

Author: Shari St. Clair, Special Projects Producer, sstclair@ksat.com
Published On: May 11 2012 11:39:06 AM CDT   Updated On: May 22 2012 10:40:06 AM CDT
Zoila & Verdell
SAN ANTONIO -

It’s a common problem in San Antonio - stray dogs. Nobody wants to see an animal suffer, so how can you help a stray?

I posed the question to Animal Care Services Public Information Officer Lisa Norwood, who had some great ideas. She says first, make every effort to see if the dog has an owner. Talk to neighbors and see if anyone is missing a dog. You might also take the dog to a vet's office where they can scan for a microchip that will have owner information.

If you have no luck there, try and find a family for the dog. Facebook is a good start, so are email blasts to friends. Lisa says local shelters are full with the spring puppy and kitten season in full swing, so you may not have luck finding a shelter that can take the dog. But it’s worth checking; contact the Animal Defense League, the San Antonio Humane Society, or San Antonio Pets Alive. If you want to make the trip, check shelters in Austin to see if they can help, too.

Many people who find strays take them straight to Animal Care Services. Not always the best idea. Here’s what Lisa says:

      “ACS should be the last resort for a pet that’s found because, despite the historic rise in our live release (it’s at almost 70%), we still have to euthanize some pets that come in. Residents should contact the other local shelters first before turning in the pet to ACS. Strays will be held for a legally mandated 72 hours before they become the shelter’s to disposition—this does NOT mean the animal has 72 hours until it will be euthanized. It means at the end of that “stray hold” the dog or cat becomes the shelter’s, so we can get the dog out to rescue, into adoptions, foster, etc. The overwhelming majority of pets brought in as strays are given time after their stray hold ends to find live release options.”

Animal Care Services is overwhelmed by the stray population on a daily basis, and is at capacity in its efforts to get their animals adopted. Please help in making sure your own dogs and cats are spayed and neutered. Here’s a link to the city’s spay/neuter clinic program.

Of course, maybe the best plan for a stray you find, is to adopt it yourself!