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  • Do you know what to do if you find a stray pet? PACC has advice.

    Oct 07, 2020 | Read More News
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    Maybe you’re in your yard or in a parking lot or on a street, and a stray dog or cat walks up to you. 

    What do you do next? The answer, advises staff at Pima Animal Care Center, depends on a couple of factors. 

    If the pet has a collar with a phone number, try calling the owners. If the number is not working or there isn’t a phone number, you can take the pet to a vet to be scanned for a microchip. Many will do this for free! If the dog is wearing a Pima County license, you can call PACC’s dispatch line at 724-5900, extension 4, to find the owner’s name and contact information to get the dog home quickly.

    “Pets typically don’t stray too far from home when they get out,” said Monica Dangler, deputy director of animal services at Pima Animal Care Center. “So, there’s a good chance that a stray is probably close to its house if it trots up to you.”
    Acorn the dog
    In fact, a recent study out of Austin, Texas, found that most lost pets turn up just a few houses away from their home. 

    We’ve asked some finders to help us with this, and we’ve had many success stories this summer… some were even able to get the lost pets home within an hour or so.

    Bringing lost pets to the shelter first can actually slow down the process of reuniting them with their owners. Many people don’t know that pets without a microchip or collar with information go up for adoption after three days. That’s the state law. If the pets have a collar with information or a microchip, that time frame is five days. 

    “Also important to know… new adopters are not legally required to give their newly adopted pets back to the original owner,” Dangler said. 

    Back to the stray scenario. You have a pet that has walked up to you, how can you get it home more quickly? PACC has a list of lost and found pets on its website. Check the map to see if someone has filed a LOST report. You should also file a FOUND report through the website or by calling PACC’s Pet Support Center at 724-7222. 

    Please know, you will need an appointment to drop off the stray pet. Pima Animal Care Center is open seven days a week, noon to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. To get an appointment to drop off the pet, just call 724-7222, leave a voicemail and contact information. As an open-admissions shelter, PACC accepts stray pets at any time during operating hours. If you found the stray after hours, you’ll have to hang onto it until the shelter opens. 

    “Found pets brought to PACC will be vaccinated and micro-chipped. Finders who choose to hold the pet will be offered supplies including food, a crate, leash and collar as long as supplies last,” Dangler said.

    By keeping the pet in your home, you’ll be helping the shelter clear space for other pets. PACC takes in 50 to 100 pets every day, so kennels can fill up quickly.

    However, if you find a sick or injured stray pet, please call our Dispatch team at 724-5900 extension 4, to receive an immediate response.

    It’s a bit different when cats and kittens are involved.
    “When you see healthy outdoor cats and kittens, whether they’re friendly or ‘feral,’ it means someone, or multiple people, are caring for them and they live in the community,” said Stephanie Stryker, Cat Programs coordinator. “Don’t assume they are stray or lost. It may be a neighbor’s indoor-outdoor pet, and chances are that someone in the community is caring for them.”

    If the cat is friendly, check to see if it has a tag or microchip. If they have a tipped ear, it means they’ve been sterilized and vaccinated. If you noticed unsterilized cats in your community, you can visit PACC’s community cats page to learn more about trap-neuter-return services for community cats.

    Kittens are another story, according to Stryker.

    “With kittens, their best chance at survival is with their mother,” she said. “If they aren’t in immediate danger, leave them be. Just because you don’t see mom, doesn’t mean she’s not around. Cats disappear for periods of time throughout the day.”

    To see if mom is coming back to check on her kittens, sprinkle a circle of baking soda around the kitties. Check back in 24 hours to see if it has been disturbed. PACC also has this easy-to-read flow chart about kittens on its website. 

    THANK YOU for caring about stray pets!!