Category: “Information”

The Humane League of Lake Lanier strives to help the community learn how to be better pet owners and more aware of the animal issues going on in our society. On our blog we try to answer Frequently Asked Questions and provide helpful information. If you have any suggestions for future content please let us know!

Can I rename my rescue pet?

When adopting an adult animal many people worry that changing their pet’s name may be confusing or make it difficult for their pet to adapt.

Don’t worry!  Picking a name is a fun and important part of bonding with your new pet. Keep in mind that the current name may be fairly recent and, even if it’s not, that name may be associated with inconsistent training or expectations.  A new name is a clean slate for you and your pet. Once you decide on a name, your pet will quickly learn that word means treats, attention, and love.

Here are a few tips:

Take your time.  After bringing your new pet home it may take several weeks of adjustment before your pet’s personality shines.  Take that time to get to know your pet and don’t feel that you have to pick a name immediately.  Waiting several weeks to find the right name is just fine.

Easy to pronounce.  A long name may be more difficult for your pet to pick out of what you are saying.  Names ending in an E sound (like Cookie, Maggie, Rocky, etc) are very popular because they are easy to say and easy for dogs to recognize.  Imagine yourself yelling the new name at a dog park to make sure it’s understandable (and something you’re willing to yell in public).  Also keep in mind that a long name will inevitably get shortened to a nickname, so make sure you’re okay with a shortened version.

Not too similar to commands.  Try to avoid any names that are similar to command words you will be using to avoid confusion.  For example, the name ‘Beau’ sounds very similar to ‘No’ and could send mixed signals to your pet.

Abbey, formerly known as Zurrey

Abbey, formerly known as Zurrey

7 Silly Reasons not to Spay or Neuter your Pet

We’ve all heard them. The crazy reasons why people will not act responsibly and have their pet spayed or neutered. The best way to educate these folks is to have them tour their local shelter. Since you probably are not going to be able to get them to do that, following is an answer to the 7 most popular silly reasons not to have your pet sterilized.

1. It’s better to let a female have one litter before spaying

FALSE: The best time to spay a female is before her first heat. This reduces her risk to a host of future problems including uterine infections and breast cancer. Plus it has the added benefit of not attracting males to your property which can be a hazard for children.

2. I want my children to experience the miracle of birth

Visit your local animal shelter and you will soon learn that your education technique results in thousands of animals euthanized each year. Instead, teach your children about humane treatment and responsible pet ownership.

3. You don’t need to sterilize the males, only the females

FALSE: It takes two to tango. Granted, for animal welfare specialist, when limited funds are available it is best spent on females. But for the average pet owner neutering has advantages. A neutered male is healthier, less likely to roam and less aggressive.

4. My pet is a purebred

So what? Over 25% of animals going into shelters are purebreds. There are just too many pets and over half the pets entering shelters are euthanized. Breeding is best left to the professionals who protect and promote the breed. Breeding for profit is immoral and if unlicensed, it’s illegal.

5. Spayed / Neutered pets are fat and lazy

FALSE: Most weight gain in pets is caused by too much food and not enough exercise. If your pet is too heavy, talk to your Vet about a balanced diet and exercise program. (It’s probably best not to mention the owner’s weight gain at this point)

6. I can find good homes for all my puppies/kittens

FALSE: You may be able to get them out of your house, but the odds are that some of them or their offspring will end up being euthanized in a shelter. Even rescues like the Humane League, with experience in screening and placing animals, know that we can’t guarantee what happens after the pet leaves our care. At least when they leave us, we give them a better than average chance by ensuring they are vaccinated, micro-chipped and sterilized.

7. Spaying and neutering is expensive

FALSE: For most pets, sterilization can be done for under $100. For families in distress, programs exist to help bring the costs even lower. For information on low cost spay / neuters in the area, please Click here to contact us.

Canine Influenza

By Liz Wallace, Covenant College

On June 23, 2009 the first ever vaccine for canine influenza was introduced. Canine Influenza Vaccine, H3N8 Killed Virus, helps to prevent the virus from manifesting and it helps prevent the severity of the symptoms.

Canine influenza is a fairly new virus among dogs that was first discovered in 2004. It is a highly contagious respiratory virus that is most commonly found in shelters or boarding facilities. Anywhere there are large groups of dogs living together.

Because the virus is caused by a unique pathogen, dogs do not have any immunity to it. 100% of dogs exposed will contract the virus. Out of 100 exposed, only 80 will show signs of the virus but all will be contagious.

Symptoms of canine influenza include:
• Coughing and sneezing
• Ocular and nasal discharge (can be thick and heavy)
• Depression
• Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
• Lung Lesions

It may appear to be a really bad case of kennel cough (Bordetella) but the normal vaccine is not effective against this new bug.

In the past this virus has been treated with a broad-spectrum bactericidal antimicrobial which has only been mildly successful, mainly with weak cases. The mortality rate for the virus is as high as 1 in 20. The virus was first detected at the race tracks, so most fatalities to date have been Greyhounds that have developed pneumonia.

While most family dogs will never come in contact with this virus at home, it is possible for them to pick it up elsewhere. The virus has been documented in Georgia and your pet can be exposed at doggie daycare, boarding facilities, Vet’s offices, the dog park, or anywhere else other dogs roam. Boarding facilities and groomers will soon start requiring vaccination against the H3N8 if they have not already. Talk to your Vet about whether or not your dog should be vaccinated. The vaccine is safe and reaction free. It’s given by two separate injections, two to 4 weeks apart.

For more information on K9 Influenza visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

The Humane League of Lake Lanier would like to make sure all the members of your family have a Howling good time this Halloween. Some common sense precautions can keep your furry family members safe.

1. No Candy – Be careful your furry kids do not get into the candy bowl. Chocolate in all forms can be dangerous. The artificial sweetener Xylitol, as well as raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs. Foil and cellophane candy wrappers can cause digestive problems.

2. Bring the cats and dogs in -Pets should be in a safe room. Unless your pet is Golden Retriever social, put them in a safe location in the house. Having a bunch of strangers showing up at your door and yelling “trick-or-treat!” is very scary to a pet. You don’t want them to run out the door, or worse, bite the neighbor’s little Power Ranger.

3. Be Careful with Costumes – Some pets love the attention. Others get stressed out. If your pet gets stressed, then don’t push it. Maybe a festive collar or bandanna will do. If they are game for some fun, make sure the costume does not constrict their movement or hinder their breathing. Appropriately sized store bought costumes are usually a good bet.

4. Be Careful with Displays – Jack-o-Lanterns smell like food with a dangerous surprise inside. Candles, electrical cords and other types of decorations should be kept out of reach.

5. Don’t take your pet “Trick or Treating” – Only the most social and well adjusted pets can handle the chaos. If your buddy shows any hesitation, leave them home.

6. Keep an adult in charge – If you do take your buddy don’t let the kids be in charge. Kids have other priorities and will not pay attention. Make sure the pet has the proper ID tags. Reflective collars and leashes are also available from most pet supply stores.

Purebred Dogs in Rescue

purebred rescue collies

Rainbow of Purebred Collies in Rescue

As you can see from this picture of pure-bred and registered rescue collies, papers do not save a dog from losing his home. Most of the collies accepted into the Humane League of Lake Lanier rescue program are heartworm positive collies turned over to animal control shelters in the Atlanta or North Georgia area. Being heartworm positive is an automatic death sentence at county-run facilities due to the expense and time required to treat a rescue pet for the disease. At the time of this post, the Humane League of Lake Lanier has 8 rescue collies in the program, 3 of these purebred collies were heartworm positive when they were accepted into the rescue program.

25% of all pets brought into animal control or county-run animal shelters are Pure-bred dogs.

This means that someone bought a pet from a breeder or pet shop for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, and a few months or years later, surrendered the dog to a shelter or abandoned the pet to fend for itself. Pets are turned over to shelters and rescue for any number of reasons, including family or financial hardships.

For every acknowledged breed of dog, there is an organization specifically in business to rescue that breed of dog. There are enough pure-bred dogs of every breed, whether it be chihuahua, Great Dane, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Collie or Shih Tzu, to warrant tens of thousands of people across the U.S.A. to volunteer their time for the sole purpose of rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming these pure-bred pets. The Collie rescue group in Georgia is St. Francis Rescue, and the foster homes of St. Francis Rescue are always full of purebred collies waiting for new homes.

Mixed breed rescues, such as the Humane League of Lake Lanier, always have pure-bred dogs available for adoption. Many of these pure-bred pets rescue pets were registered with a kennel club, such as the AKC or CKC, by their previous owner. Owners went to the time and expense to register these pets and the dog ultimately ends up at risk of euthanasia at a shelter, papers in paw.

Do not think for a second that you must go to a breeder or petstore to obtain a pure-bred dog of any breed. You can find these quality, loving, healthy pets at your local rescue group or animal shelter. Every single day, pure-bred dogs are being euthanized in your local shelter due to lack of space and inadequate adoptions to meet the demand for the amount of pets they intake. Remember, a responsible breeder spays and neuters the puppies as a condition of sale, and they supply health certificates and a very active return policy for any puppy or dog they sell. Responsible breeders also do genetic and health evaluations of their breeding dogs to ensure they are upholding the integrity of the breed. If you must go to a breeder, contact your local breed kennel club for a reference to responsible breeders in your area.

If you have a favorite breed of dog, like a Collie or Golden Retriever, consider saving the life of a pure-bred dog from your local rescue. You will enrich your own life by earning the loyalty of the life you save.

Yay! I have been adopted!

Yay! I have been adopted!

Do you know what it really means to give a rescue pet a second opportunity at a happy healthy life?

In case you don’t know me; My name is Fletcher. I am a big, beautiful boy, at least that is what they tell me. I somehow ended up at an animal control shelter and made friends with all the people there. It was easy. They were so friendly, I could not help but be super sweet in return. When my time was up (I still don’t know what that means), the shelter people sent me to live with a foster family of the Humane League of Lake Lanier.

In my foster home, I showed people my secret weapon. I can CLAP!! When they tell me to Cheer, I jump up on my back legs and clap my paws together. I used this secret weapon to win over a real family that decided to Adopt me as a true member of their family.

Now, I have someone who understands that I may take time to adjust. After all, it is a completely new family, home, yard and schedule that I have to learn. Imagine what you felt like your first day at a new job. Now imagine that you have to learn what your responsibilities are at your new job, but you don’t speak the same language as your boss or co-workers. That is about how I felt with so many sights and smells to get used to.

Being adopted means I have someone that will give me structure and nurturing. Someone that is willing to take on a 10-15 year commitment. Someone that is willing to keep me healthy. Someone that would be willing to get me a little professional training if I fail to tell them what I need.

So, what does this mean to you? I will love you unconditionally. I will always wag my tail when you come home. I will greet each day with you happy. I will be devoted and loyal. I will sleep beside you and protect you. I might, from time to time, forget myself and eat your slipper. But I will always love you.

So, we should all clap and cheer since you decided to adopt me!

Are Pet Owners Healthier?

Are Pet Owners Healthier?

The unconditional love of a pet can do wonders for emotional and physical health. Studies show pet owners are less likely to experience depression, are better able to cope with stress and may experience blood-pressure-lowering benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, research has shown that Fido or Fluffy can:

+Relieve stress. Playing with a puppy or cuddling a cat can help you unwind after a long day or comfort you if you’re sad or lonely.

+Help your heart. In a comparison study examining the heart rate and blood pressure of pet owners and their non-pet counterparts, people with pets had lower heart rates and blood pressure levels. The pet owners also had less increase in their heart rate and blood pressure when exposed to stress, and their blood pressure dropped faster following a stressful event.

+Protect your heart after a heart attack. Scientists discovered that dog owners were more likely to be alive one year following a heart attack than those who didn’t own dogs.

+Help keep you fit. Walking the dog is good exercise for you, too.

Is a Pet Paw-fect for you?

*Time involved. Cats, dogs, and other animals need food, water, exercise and and companionship daily. Consider your work and travel schedules to see if you can accomodate a pet.

*Financial support. Food, licensing, toys, grooming and verterinary care are all costs to keep in mind. And remember that pets can live for 10 to 15 years or more.

*Living space. A large dog might not be happy in a tiny house. You’ll need adequate space to accomodate your pet’s size and activity level. Some apartments or townhomes may have restrictions on size and number of pets. If you rent, keep in mind your next home may have more strict guidelines on pet ownership than does your current residence.

*Physical conditions/abilities. Pet allergies or other physical limitations might interfere with your ability to take care of a pet.

Happy Tails to You

Once you get a pet, visit a veterinarin as soon as possible for a complete check-up. This will ensure that your pet is healthy and up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and heartworm prevention. Then, enjoy getting to know your new pet. You can help keep each other happy and healthy.

Dogs Get Found, Cats Stay Lost

Andrea Thompson
LiveScience Staff Writer
LiveScience.com Sun Jan 14, 5:05 PM ET

A lost Fido is more likely to be found than a missing Tabby.

Why? Because man’s best friend is more likely to have identification tags and dog owners are more prompt in searching for their missing pets, according to a new study.

The findings, published in the Jan. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, found that while 71 percent of lost dogs in the Dayton, Ohio, area were reunited with their owners, only 53 percent of lost cats ended up back at home.

“Dogs seem to be easier to get home to their owners,” study author Linda Lord of Ohio State University told LiveScience.

Dogs vs. cats

In her survey of people who ran lost pet ads in local newspapers, Lord found that dog owners contact and visit shelters much sooner than cat owners after the pet goes missing. More than one-third of the recovered dogs were found after a call or visit to a local animal shelter.

Dogs are also more likely to sport tags or carry an ID chip implant, Lord said.

Cat owners may not put identification on their cats because the cat shirks the collar or they keep the cat indoors.

“Just because you keep your cat indoors doesn’t mean you don’t have to identify them,” Lord said. Cats still can slip out of the house.

When people find cats without identification, they might assume they are strays and feed and adopt them, whereas people who see a dog wandering alone are more likely to assume it has an owner, Lord said.

Many cat owners also wait several days before calling or visiting shelters. They run the chance of missing their cat, which could be euthanized or adopted by someone else.

Of the study cats that did make it back to their owners, Lord said, two-thirds came back on their own.

Pet-finding tips

The key to finding a lost pet is visible identification, Lord said. If someone finds your pet, they can call the number on the ID tag without having to involve the shelter system. While microchips are a great backup, they are not visible to the naked eye and require shelters or veterinarians to scan them, she said.

Lord also emphasized that it is important to act quickly when looking for a missing pet by calling local shelters after one day, visiting every three days, putting up posters and even taking out newspaper ads.

The pet owners Lord interviewed were often surprised to hear about methods they hadn’t tried.

“There was definitely a lack of awareness,” she said.

Though different methods may be more or less effective in different places, Lord said, “people really need to think about having a plan.”

Two Horses

Just up the road from my home is a field with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing. If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her halter is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her. As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray. When she returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally and looks back, making sure her friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell. Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see.

If I Didn’t Have Animals

– (Author Unknown)

I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety.

My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.

All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair.

When the doorbell rings, it wouldn’t sound like the kennels.

When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there.

I could sit on the couch the way I wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.

I would not have strange presents under my Christmas tree — dog bones, stuffed animals, nor would I have to answer to people why I wrap them.

I would not be on a first-name basis with three veterinarians.

The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay and leave him/her/it ALONE.

My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers.

My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.

I would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L-, F-R-I-S-B-E-E, or W-A-L-K.
I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside.

I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog ties them down too much.

I’d look forward to spring and the melting of snow instead of dreading mud season.

I would not have to answer the question “Why do you have so many dogs/animals” from people who will never have the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by something as close to an angel as they will ever get.

How empty my life would be.

Holiday Health for Pets

Holiday Foods that can be Hazardous to your Pet’s Health
– Avoid feeding your pet chocolate, coffee or tea products. These all contain dangerous components called xanthines, which cause nervous system, urinary system damage and heart muscle stimulation.

– Uncooked meat, fish and poultry can contain disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli and parasites. For your own health, as well as your pet, wash utensils that have been in contact with raw meat, and cook meat thoroughly.

– Bones from fish, meat or your Thanksgiving turkey can also cause problems if swallowed. Even small bones can splinter causing lacerations (tearing) throughout the intestinal tract. We recommend alternatives such as Rawhides, Kong toys and hardened, sterilized bones.

– Alcohol can cause serious intoxications in pets, and many dogs are attracted to it. Every year hundreds of dogs die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Clean up glasses after holiday parties. Dogs are often attracted by the sweet taste of drinks, especially eggnog.

courtesy healthypets.com

Rescue Groups give Homeless animals a second chance

By Debbie Gilbert
The Times
Gainesville, GA

Adopting a homeless pet can be a double blessing. You acquire a faithful companion, and you also get the satisfaction of knowing that you may have saved its life.

Today is National Homeless Animals Day, promoted by animal welfare organizations to raise awareness about pet adoption.

Last year, 3,189 dogs and cats were adopted from the Humane Society of Hall County. But more that 8,000 others had to be euthanized because there was no space for them.

To try to give such animals a second chance, hundreds of “rescue” groups acquire unwanted pets from shelters and place them in foster homes until they can be adopted. These groups post descriptions of available pets at www.petfinder.com, which currently lists more than 180,000 animals across North America. Potential buyers can search by ZIP code or by a specific breed.
In Georgia, rescue groups must be licensed by the state Department of Agriculture. Currently, 411 licenses are held by animal shelters and rescue organizations, which the department does not count separately.

“We inspect the license holder, and then they are responsible for making sure each foster home follows all the rules and regulations,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin. “We only have 13 field inspectors statewide, so we don’t usually investigate foster homes unless there’s a complaint.”

Occasionally, the lack of oversight can lead to problems. “In North Fulton, we recently had a terrible incident where over 100 cats died in a foster home because of overcrowding and neglect,” Irvin said.

Such incidents receive a lot of publicity, but fortunately, are rare, said Rick Aiken, director of the Humane Society of Hall County.

“(Foster volunteers) are very compassionate and loving people, but sometimes they can’t recognize when they’re overextended,” he said. “But many of these groups do an excellent job. You shouldn’t have any concerns about adopting from rescue as long as the animal looks healthy and they provide the proper documentation.”

Like the humane society, nearly all rescue groups spay or neuter and vaccinate their animals prior to adoption. But a dog or cat purchased at the Hall County shelter costs $70, while rescues may charge $100 to $300.

The higher price reflects difference in philosophy between rescues and municipal shelters. Because of space limitations, shelters typically euthanize animals that are sick, injured or old. Rescues, on the other hand, attempt to save the animal if at all possible.

But homeless pets, by their very nature, incur high veterinary bills. Due to neglect, they often are plagued by conditions such as mange, fleas, heartworms and ear infections, and they must be treated before they can be adopted.

“With rescue, we have to charge more to cover the medical expenses,” said Beth Mulrooney, who lives near Hall and Forsyth County line and has worked as a rescue volunteer for five years.
Mulrooney is applying for a state license \for her own rescue group, the Lake Lanier Humane League, and \is also trying to get incorporated as a non-profit so the organization can accept donations.

“The rescue groups provide some funding to the foster homes for their expenses,” she said. “But you’ve got to be sure that no one takes on more than they can handle, physically, financially and emotionally.”

Fostering truly is a labor of love, Mulrooney said. “It’s hard to give the dog up (to a new owner), but you turn around and realize that there’s another dog waiting for your help.”

Some rescues work with both dogs and cats; Mulrooney’s focuses mainly on dogs. Georgia also has rescue groups for most of the well-known dog breeds.

“I think breed rescues can do a better job placing a dog than a shelter can, because we can tell the person more about breed-specific problems and whether this breed is right for them,” said Susanne Allen, president of Dawsonville-based Sheltie Rescue of Georgia, which fosters abandoned Shetland sheepdogs.

Many animals who end up at rescues are “owner surrenders,” she said.

“Sometimes the owners legitimate reasons, such as illness, that they don’t want to take it to a shelter where it may be killed.” Shelters also may contact breed rescues and offer a “transfer” when a purebred is brought in.

According to statistics compiled by Atlanta-based SPOT (Stopping Pet Overpopulation Together), in some counties such as Barrow, as many as half of all shelter dogs are transferred to rescue groups.

Hall had the lowest transfer rate of any county in metro Atlanta.

“If the animal has already had its (sterilization) surgery and it seems adoptable, we put it up for the public (to purchase),” Aiken said. “But sometimes we will call a purebred rescue group if the animal has a medical problem.”

Allen wonders why, if the humane society has to euthanize thousands of animals due to lack of space, it doesn’t allow rescues to take more of the healthy dogs rather than just the ones that are sick or elderly.

But shelters know that most rescues won’t turn away the hard-luck cases.

“We almost always take the dog in and see if we can fix it before giving up,” Allen said.

Nightmare Scenario. Don’t Let this Happen to You and Your Pet!

The details of this scenario are made up to prove a point. However, as an Animal Control Officer, I was unfortunate enough on numerous occasions to have witnessed similar real-life situations that mirrored the outcome of this story. Please learn from this and keep your pets safe!

You let Fido, your healthy and happy German Shepherd, into the back yard to dry off after giving him a bath. When you go to check on him, Fido is nowhere to be found. Thinking he will stay in the area like the last time, you finish your lunch then start patrolling the neighborhood for him.

Meanwhile, Fido has run into the busy road outside your neighborhood and has gotten hit by a car. The man who hit Fido looks for tags but finds none. Rather than leave the dog to suffer, the man loads Fido into his car. The man knows he passes by the animal control facility of the neighboring county on his way to work and decides to take Fido there. At the shelter, the on-staff vet determines that Fido is in severe pain and needs medical care to be stabilized and survive. Since Fido does not have any identifying tags to help locate an owner, it is decided that it is inhumane to allow the animal to suffer and Fido is euthanized, even though the normal hold time for a found animal is 3 days at this shelter. Fido, who had treatable wounds and an owner who loves him, is now dead.

You look all afternoon for Fido, but cannot find him. The next morning, you call your county’s shelter and file a lost dog report, but they have not seen any dogs matching Fido’s description. You post signs in your neighborhood, but no one has seen him. When you call the shelters in the neighboring counties the following week, you discover what had happened to Fido. You get angry. You blame the man who hit Fido. You blame the shelter for not giving Fido treatment. You even blame Fido for being stupid enough to run into the street in the first place! But ultimately, Fido’s fate was completely your own responsibility.

Remember:
1. The man who hit Fido was doing what was best for the dog, taking him to a shelter rather than leaving him to suffer or get hit again on the road.
2. The shelter is inundated with tens of thousands of animals a year and is given minimal funding from the county. They are not at liberty to expend large sums of money on individual animals that are injured. The best they can do is determine what is the humane thing to do for the individual animal and for the shelter animals at large.
3. You are responsible for maintaining proper identification on all of your pets at all times.
4. You are responsible for the health and safety of your pets by maintaining your pets on your property.
5. You are responsible for informing all possible shelters that your animal is missing so that your pet’s life is not put in further danger of euthanasia if it arrives at a shelter.

If your lost dog or cat was attacked or hit by an automobile prior to being taken to a shelter, the shelter may kill your pet rather than let it suffer. If you have already contacted all of the shelters, they will know that the animal has an owner that may take it to a veterinarian rather than having to assume the animal is a stray and euthanizing it.

What to do if you have found an animal

So you have Found an animal. What do you do now?

The steps for a found animal are very similar to the steps to take if your pet is lost.

  1. Contact your local shelter and ask for the protocol for your particular county as it may differ from the steps outlined here.
  2. File Found Animal Reports with your local and surrounding county animal shelters.
  3. Contact your local newspaper and ask them to run an article on your found pet.
  4. Contact your local Lost/Found Center and report that you have found the animal.
  5. Post flyers at busy intersections, gas stations, etc. The most visible items on the flyers should be “FOUND DOG/CAT” and your phone number. Avoid putting too many details of the animal on the flyer. Allow possible owners to supply details of your pet so you can confirm or negate the identity. Unfortunately there are some unscrupulous people out there who would try to get the animal even though it does not belong to them.

What to do if you have lost an animal?

The key item to remember here is to act IMMEDIATELY!

  1. Contact your local lost/found center(often your local Humane Society) and file a report. Take them a picture of the animal and a description of its markings/scars as detailed in Precautions #1,2,3
  2. Contact your local shelter and file a lost/found report.
  3. Contact your neighboring counties’ shelters and file lost/found reports.
  4. Contact your local newspaper and ask them to run a lost/found article for you. (Most newspapers do this free of charge.)
  5. lost_posterMake flyers and put them in highly visible locations, such as busy intersections, gas stations, etc. Posting flyers solely in your neighborhood will not get your pet back. The most important and most visible items on the flyer should be “LOST DOG/CAT” and your phone number. The biggest mistake people make is to write long detailed descriptions of the animal on the flyer and then scribble the phone number at the bottom. A person should be able to read “LOST DOG 555-1212” from 20 feet away through their dirty windshield while they sit at a stoplight. If they have seen a dog loose, they will call you or they will get out and look closer at the details written in smaller letters “Fifi brown Lab mix Female.”
  6. Physically search for your pet and tell all your neighbors that you are looking for him/her
  7. Now that you have contacted the authorities, set out flyers, told your neighbors and searched your neighborhood for your pet, it is time to physically go to the shelters in your area and look for your pet in person. Bring pictures that you can share with the employees there to reinforce your pet’s description in their minds. *Remember, My White German Shepherd is your Great Pyrenees. Do not trust a shelter employee who sees a hundred animals a day to distinguish your phoned-in description of Fifi from a hole in the wall. You have no idea what condition your pet will be in when it arrives in a shelter.

Prevention/Precautions for Pet Owners

1. Affix I.D. tags to the animal’s collar. Most counties require pet owners to keep valid, up-to-date rabies tags on pet’s collars. Go one step further and have a personalized name tag on your pet’s collar as well. Rabies tags only give the contact information of the vet who issued the shot. If your pet is picked up on a weekend, holiday, or after hours, there is no way for a shelter or samaritan to get your contact info from the vet in order to return your pet to you. If your address and phone number are displayed on the collar along with the rabies tag, your lost pet is one step closer to coming back home to you!

2. Have your pets microchipped. A one-time fee could save your pet’s life 8 years from now. A microchip is an electronic barcode about the size of a grain of rice inplanted in the muscle between the shoulder blades. An increasing number of shelters, most rescue groups and almost all vet clinics have scanners to search for microchips on animals brought to them. The code read by the scanner is registered to a national database where it is associated with your contact info. The 24/7 call center tells the caller how to contact the pet’s owner so your pet can come home. Not all shelters scan, but many do. Microchipping is another way of increasing your pet’s odds of coming home.

3. Have your pet scanned when you go to your vet for rechecks. If the microchip is faulty or drifts away from the shoulder area, the company will re-chip the dog for free, so take advantage of the warranty! and keep your pet safe.

4. Take color photographs of your pets that show the full body of the animal. Keep these pictures up-to-date through the life of the animal so that the pet you know is the pet you see in the picture

5. Make a list of markings, scars and unique physical traits of your pet. Draw a diagram to help express the locations of these markings. You would be surprised how difficult it is to describe your pet when it is not right in front of you and, worse, when you are upset.

6. Keep these pictures and descriptions in a folder with your pet’s up-to-date medical history. File this folder where it is easy to find and get access to.

7. Introduce your pet to your neighbors. Even if you do not talk to your neighbors very often, make a point to educate your neighbors that this particular animal belongs to you and your household. This makes it easier for your neighbors to help identify the dog or cat and make the connection between your house and your pet.

8. Maintain security by:
a. Checking your pet’s collar regularly. 2 fingers should fit snuggly between the collar and the neck of the animal. Daily activities can loosen or tighten a collar and alter its effectiveness

b. Checking all fencing and tie-out material regularly. Look for rust, weak areas, sections where your dog may have chewed or loosened pieces of fencing, etc. and replace or repair questionable material as you notice the problem. Waiting until the dog has already gotten loose is waiting too long. It is often less expensive to repair fencing or tie-out sections than it is to replace it.

9. Be aware of your animal’s mood and temperament in regards to what is happening around the animal. Be careful opening and closing doors if the dog or cat seems intent on bolting outside. Avoid taking your animals to places where there will be fireworks displays or guns fired, as these noises cause fear and may cause the animal to bite, scratch and, ultimately, run far, far away from the noise and you!

Fostering a Rescue Dog

Temporary homes are needed for rescued dogs until permanent homes are found. Temporary homes are called foster homes. When foster homes are available, another dog’s life can be saved. The foster home learns more about a dog’s habits, likes and dislikes, and behaviors when he is in a foster home. Foster care providers evaluate the dogs in every day living situations. And, some foster caregivers may even work on obedience training, house-training, and behavior modification.

All dogs from the Humane League of Lake Lanier (HLLL) are in foster care, and we pay all medical expenses and even provide food. The foster home provides love and a safe environment. Foster homes are screened just like potential permanent homes. Sometimes, foster homes end up adopting a dog they foster.

Fostering dogs is a very rewarding experience. Rescue dogs blossom in foster care and go on to become cherished family companions once placed in their permanent homes. Foster homes are in short supply. Please consider fostering one of our homeless pets. Contact us if you are interested in fostering.

Have a Pet Safe Independence Day

What is the busiest day of the year for an animal rescuer?

The 5th of July.

Every year we celebrate the birth of our nation with parades, backyard barbecues and fireworks. And every year the next day is spent searching for lost and scared pets.

It is tempting to want to share the fun with your best friends, but they don’t view it the same way. Crowds and noise create anxiety and fear. Social gatherings create opportunities for doors and gates to be left open. And while fireworks are exciting to people, to pets they seem like the end of the world has come.

Give your pets a safe place this July 4th. If they are outside pets, bring them in for the night. Make them a bed in the garage or basement. If entertaining, keep them in an unused bedroom where they will feel safe, (take note, pets can get destructive when stressed). If they are not used to crowds, don’t take them to the parade.

AND NEVER TAKE A DOG TO A FIREWORKS DISPLAY!

If your pet does run away, put up signs, lots of them. Dogs can run for miles when scared. Once they settle down they will circle the area they stop in. If your pet is spotted, blanket the area with signs. Your odds increase with each effort you make.
If you know your pet is stressed by loud noises like thunder, talk to your Vet before the holiday. And please make sure your pet always wears an identification tag.