Animals 101 – Why do pets get out & what to do if they do?
Millions of animals enter shelters every year in mainly three ways: Surrendered by owners, confiscated legally from owners or brought in as strays by good samaritans.
These stray animals are the LOST and FOUND ones you regularly see on social media. There are so many animals in the streets and although there are some exceptions, most of them are shockingly allowed outside by their owners, including cats. We can share horrible stories on why this is dangerous and irresponsible and how many never came home. How the one you thought was “streetwise” was hit by a car or the one you say “knows his way home”, stopped returning home. If you think the streets are unsafe for your child, why would it be safe for your pets?
When your pets roam the streets, they also become a nuisance to others and sadly the cruelty against animals increase because of this e.g. poisoning and shootings. Other dangers include being attacked by animals or humans or stolen for dog fights, re-selling or breeding and more.
WHY DO ANIMALS ENGAGE IN THIS BEHAVIOUR?
- TRYING TO GET HOME – Have you recently moved?
- YOUR DOG’S HABIT
- LONELINESS & BOREDOM
- YOUR DOG IS SCARED & HAD A FRIGHT
- SOMETHING EXCITES THEM
- IT’S EASY TO GET OUT
The above can be addressed or prevented by:
- Create a safe, secure and familiar environment.
- Meet their needs with exercise and enrichment.
- Spay/neuter your pets.
- Don’t leave them alone for too long, especially social animals.
- Some behaviour might require training and patience.
- Teach them not to go out of the yard without you, even if the gate is open.
- There are many ways to keep your cats safe in your yard. This includes PVC roller bars, angled fences, catios and more.
TIP for in case they get lost – make sure you have a good photo of your pet to share when lost. You can even make a flyer in advance. Microchip them (collar ID too) and register the microchip on more than one database with up-to-date details.
YOU LOST A PET – WHAT TO DO?
- Act immediately and start searching as soon as you realize your pet is lost.
- Share on your local social media pages or groups & neighbourhood watch. Include photo, details, specific identifying marks, area lost, date, during which time frame and a contact number.
- Contact other local welfare organisation.
- Drive around in your area, put posters up, hand out flyers, search manholes or other hiding spaces.
- Ask neighbours if you can search on their property.
- Keep your phone charged.
- Re-check spots.
- Contact your local Vets to see if an animal has been brought in hurt or deceased.
- Don’t give up. Some pets were reunited with owners after months and even years.
- Vary your search times. Try and call for pets at night as sound travels further. Cats are more active at night, while dogs might be more during the day.
- Some suggest putting out cats’ litter box or pets’ blankets as scent could help them find their home.
- If your cat is used to being outside or your pet is missing for more days, expand your search radius.
- Offer a reward, but keep in mind it does create a future incentive for pet theft.
- Birds tend to fly when their adrenaline level are high. They generally fly up to the highest point they can land. Most pet birds today have never fully fledged, so larger parrots require more skill to be able to take off, land, navigate where they want to go or climb down. You will have to wait until the bird is ready to come down.
- Phone your local SPCA and send them an email with picture & detailed description. Remember they have many animals coming in and various volunteers, so it is still best to visit them in person.
- Continue to follow up with the SPCA and other organisations as well as share post.
NOTE: Always comment on and share the original post from social media as well as UPDATE the post if FOUND.
We would like to see one formal lost & found group, but currently there are three in Secunda that we know of:
Lost & Found Pets – GMM Area (group)
Secunda Verlore Troeteldiere (group)
Verlore Diere Secunda (page)
Join the local WhatsApp group for lost and found pets via the LINK.
Next week we will look at what to do when you find an animal.
When you know better, do better!