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.

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.

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