Help a Stray

HOW CAN I HELP A STRAY?

If you see a stray, please make sure to approach it carefully. If it seems friendly, please give it food and water. If it is injured or sick and you can’t handle the medical care, please call the SPCA at 713.869.SPCA.

No matter what the animal looks like it’s been on the street for awhile, hasn’t been taken care of & you haven’t being able to find “lost dog” postings online that fit your stray, etc –  don’t just assume he/she isn’t microchipped. There are so many stories circulating on the internet about how dogs have been lost for months at a time, in cities or states away from where they actually belong! Make sure you take the animal to the vet to be checked for a microchip. Animal control, animal shelters, Petcos and Petsmarts usually can scan for microchips at no charge to you!

If there are no tags or microchip the next step would be to: create flyers, contact local shelters to file a report & post online postings (craigslist, local yard sale sites & facebook) with vague information about the animal. A very valuable website is Fido Finder :: they have a template that you can easily use to create a flyer for a lost dog. Take a photo of only their face (not showing any of the following: collar if they had one on, special markings or genitalia) & only post the vicinity of where the animal was found & the date as well as your contact information. If someone has lost their dog & is desperately looking for him/her, then they will know if your posting is similar enough to be their pet & be able to verify these characteristics that you left out. To be even more cautious, you should also ask for photos of the pet that they have as proof and maybe even vet records if you feel it is necessary. Sometimes there are neighborhoods or particular areas that have Lost/Found dog facebook pages and groups, so make sure you check into these as well. An example of this would be Texas Lost Pets’ facebook page (click here to visit their website). Utilizing local radio (sometimes you can do this for free!), the Greensheet and local papers are also great resources!

If you haven’t been able to locate the owner, get it vaccinated and treated for any medical conditions it may have (if you foster through a rescue group, then they will pay for these medical bills – you just have to keep the animal safe in your home until it’s found a forever home). We are not a rescue group, so we cannot take in the dog. Houston has an overpopulation crisis – there is an estimated 1.2 million homeless animals living on the streets – and rescues are full and cannot just take the dog from you. **SPCA, BARC, Houston Humane Society & CAP all euthanize animals; they are not no kill**

Please never give an animal away for free to someone you don’t know. There are always people searching for bait dogs for fighting rings, animals to sell for testing and many other cruel things. These people can sound innocent when contacting you, as if they are searching for a family pet, but in reality they could have bad intentions. If someone you trust is willing to take in the animal, that’s always the safest bet!

If you don’t personally know anyone willing to adopt the animal, contact one of the numerous Houston-based rescue groups. Many are willing to help when people contact them about strays/unclaimed animals. However, there is a catch – they always desperately need fosters. Rescue groups don’t have the facilities or money to pay for boarding orphan animals so they depend on fosters. Most groups will pay for spay/neutering, vetting and any medical assistance for the stray. Some even are able to provide dog food if you’re willing to foster. To find rescue groups in your area, check Petfinder.

Make sure if you do personally find someone – whom you don’t know – who wants to adopt, that you check them out thoroughly. Search for an application from a rescue group page to gather questions that they ask on their adoption applications. Make sure you ask them where the dog will sleep, if it will be kept indoors, etc. We always recommend a home visit so you can physically check the home, the fence, the condition of their current pets, etc. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t leave the dog. Make sure that you follow up after the dog has been adopted, asking for photos and updates. If the adoption doesn’t work out, please offer to take the dog back so it doesn’t end up being dumped on the street or at a shelter where it will likely be euthanized.

You also have the option of participating in the CAP Weekend Sponsor Program (animals must be up to date on vaccinations, spay/neutered, rabies & heartworm negative – CAP offers these & other vaccinations and tests (for Weekend Sponsor participants only) for a minimal fee during the hours of 10am & 3:30pm Monday through Thursday, no appointment necessary.

If you are unable to foster and you still haven’t found the owner you have a few options. If you must take the animal to a shelter in the Houston area, CAP Is the animal’s best option. Please read over their euthanasia policy so you can understand that they are not a no-kill shelter but they are one of the best about trying to keep animals alive and into forever homes. There are no-kill shelters in the Texas area that you can view here. *Please Note: Our group can only recommend a few of these no-kill shelters. Please make sure to check into, read reviews & ask others about these no-kill shelters before putting an animal into their hands. 
Your last option should be taking the animal to animal control, in which the likelihood of finding a forever home is very slim…but it’s better than giving away the dog to someone you do not know, who could be putting the animal into a life filled with torture, cruelty & pain.
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