It’s easy to understand why people love pets. Their soft fur, cuddly ways and unconditional love make people feel wanted and loved, always. Pet lovers have soft hearts that are easily led by the purring and cooing of animals. So when we see a stray cat or dog in the neighborhood, sometimes it’s difficult to turn them away. But in reality it may be the smartest move for you, your pets, and the rest of your family.
Many stray animals have simply runaway or gotten lost, but some have been abandoned by the owners. Neglected and possibly even abused, these animals may show aggression and be hiding deep-seated fear and rage. Strays may also be carrying diseases that can spread to any pets you have in your home. Without some knowledge of where they come from, you may be putting yourself and your loved ones at risk. It may be heartbreaking to not bring them inside, but it may also be the smartest thing you can do.
Strays that have been living on the street may have encountered rabid raccoons or other wild animals. Rabies is a virus that is transmitted by animal bites. It can be fatal in animals as well as in humans if not treated early. The symptoms of rabies may take a while to show up, but as the infection takes hold, animals become more aggressive. The treatment for rabies is a long and painful series of injections – not something you or your children would willingly undertake.
How to Handle a Stray Animal
If seeing the stray in your neighborhood breaks your heart, there are some safe and productive things that you can do to help the animal. If the stray has a collar and tag, you may be able to contact the owners yourself and arrange for them to collect their pet. Shelters and doctors can help you check for a microchip, inserted under the animal’s skin, and although they may charge a fee, will keep the animal in their kennels until the owners are found.
If the stray is hanging around your neighborhood, it may just be lost. Take a photo of the animal and print some flyers to put up around town in shop windows and noticeboards. Describe the size, breed and color of the animal and put a contact number on the flyer as well.
As a last resort, you may have to call Animal Control. It is certainly preferable to the possible alternatives – the stray being hurt or killed, or hurting someone else in the area. A stray animal may be sick or injured, and this can make them aggressive, especially if humans have abused them. The safest option for all concerned is to get the animal off the streets.