Monday, June 24, 2024

ANIMALS 101 – YOU CAN HELP A STRAY ANIMAL!

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A GUIDE TO HELP ANIMALS THAT ARE LOST

Many animals are roaming the streets and reported as lost!  There are always good Samaritans who take them in and keep them safe. Last week we looked at what to do if your pet is lost and how to prevent it. This week we will look at what can be done if you found an animal.

Before we continue, a note on the SPCA operations:

Although I believe picking up strays is preventing cruelty, it is not in the SPCA’s mandate to pick up stray animals, except injured ones or those in distress. They do not have the resources to drive up and down the whole day, so we really need the community to step up and help with lost and found animals. The SPCA, by law, may not refuse to take in any animal taken to them.

People are hesitant to take animals to the SPCA for various reasons, but once you volunteer there and understand the process, it can help. If you do not have an alternative, the animal is definitely safer at the SPCA than in the street where they can be stolen, injured or killed.  There is a pound period for a stray animal handed over to the SPCA. This is determined by the municipal bylaws and that SPCA’s policy.  It is usually around 5-14 days (our local ones are 5 days).  The SPCA is unlikely to advertise this animal during the pound period, so it is important to visit them and look for yourself if you lost one or continue to share the “found” post with a note that they are at the SPCA.  

After the pound period, the animal becomes the property of the SPCA and they can either put them up for adoption or euthanize (put to sleep) them. The SPCA policies usually does and should include that an animal can’t be removed from their premises unless they are sterilized or microchipped (or collar ID), pound fees are paid and a home inspection is done at the owner’s home.  Some require up-to-date vaccination too, which is great. I also advise people to take the found animals to the SPCA if they are constantly in the street, not sterilized and in the street, or a nuisance to others.  Then the owners can explain to the authorities why they are not responsible pet guardians. I will also advise this route if you are unsure about whether those who claim to be the owners are actually the owners, expecially with powerbreeds.

HOW TO SHARE A FOUND ANIMAL CORRECTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA

This is an important aspect to reunite animals with owners more effectively!

  • Share this post on your personal profile with the privacy setting on public. Include a photo, when and where you found the animal and a contact number. I never share too many details including the sex of the animal as it can be used with owners to help confirm ownership.
  • Share a clear picture and preferably only one photo because of how it might appear in a groups and timelines.
  • Don’t put the details in the comments, but everything in the original writing at the top.
  • Then share that post to all groups and pages. Now people can share it from private groups, which can’t be done otherwise and you only have one post to follow and to update. This post can then be reshared often.
  • Always comment on and share the original post from social media as well as UPDATE the post if FOUND at the top, so those who shared can see that the animal is safe and so that people don’t continue to share an animal that is back home already.
  • Messenger is not an ideal place to be contacted due to message requests not being a formal notification. You need to go into message requests to see if there are any. We have lost so much time, not getting in touch with these people. I for one do not mind sharing my number on Facebook when the life of a sentient being, I am responsible for, is at stake.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND AN ANIMAL?

• If they are hurt, please take them to the local vet or SPCA immediately. You can contact the emergency number of the local SPCA too. 

• Scan for a microchip at the local vets or SPCA.

• Some vets may take in stray animals for a day or two before they contact the SPCA.

• If the pet seems recently groomed, contact local groomers to see if they recognize them.

• If there are signs of a recent operations or medical procedures, contact local Vets. This can include healing wounds, stitches, vet shaved areas, etc.

• If you can, take care of the animal (foster) until you find the owner. We need more people of the public to help with this. Please don’t move the animal out of area. Few owners search outside their area/town.

• Post on local social media and neighbourhood groups. Once is not enough!

• We do not suggest sharing specific marks or the sex of the pet. Ask the person who claims the pet to provide this info as well as photos for proof. Watch the animals’ reaction when a person claims the pet. There are scammers!  If you are unsure about this, rather contact one of the local animal welfare organizations to assist.

• If you can’t foster, try and find a foster home and after 7 days, we can organize adoption through one of the responsible welfare organizations. We usually refer cats to Feral Watch & TNR or Because Dogs and CO for any other animals. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN YOU JUST KEEP THE ANIMAL! Take the details of the person to whom you give the animal too and you can also send it to the admins on the Verlore Diere Secunda (TEKS) group as we keep records of that.

• Take the animal to the SPCA if you can’t foster or find a foster.  

• If you hit an animal with your car, please do not be a coward and drive away.  Lie if you have to and say you found the animal, instead of leaving them to suffer and die. CALL the SPCA emergency number immediately and keep trying until someone answers.  Otherwise, try a local vet or one of the other animal welfare organizations. At least they could humanly end the suffering or help save them.

• Please DO NOT REMOVE kittens. You said that mom ran away and left them. No, she is scared of you and will return as soon as you just let them be. If the babies are quiet and content, the mom is around. She might be searching for food or busy moving her litter. Unless they are in immediate danger, including moving cars, dogs, or humans to inflict pain, bad weather, etc., DO NOT REMOVE THEM! Contact an organization for advice first.

NOTE: None of the animal welfare organizations has the resources to drive up and down to pick up strays or foster them and therefore needs the community to assist with this. You are someone who can do something!Everyone can help in some way. You can donate funds for those who foster (through reputable organizations), you can foster and everyone can share these posts.

Thank you to each of the heroes who take in these lost pets! Without you, we would see more deceased and injured animals because it is not safe on the streets for any animal.

Owners, please keep your animals safe in your yard. If they got out once, it could be an accident, but twice is irresponsible owners! Last week we shared on how you can escape-proof your yard!

animals

In the Secunda area, you will need to call Highveld Ridge SPCA at 082 869 2350 / info@hrspca.co.za (emergencies 082 222 1122)

Bethal SPCA 066 397 1630 / office@spcabethal.co.za (emergencies 072 573 3122).  

Follow Highveld Ridge SPCA and Bethal SPCA on Facebook.

We would like to see one formal lost & found group for Secunda instead of all the separate groups created by the public.

  • Verlore diere Secunda (TEKS) (group) is the only group in Secunda, run by those actively involved in animal welfare. Join the local WhatsApp group for lost and found pets via the LINK.

Bethal and Standerton

If your animals are lost, you would want the public to help keep them safe, to share, to foster, so do that for someone else! Next week we will look at what to do if you found Wildlife.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!