If you have found a stray cat or dog, it’s more than likely that there is an owner searching for them. Here are some tips to give the animal the best chance of being reunited with their owner.
Contain the dog or cat with care
Always be cautious when approaching strange animals. If the stray cat or dog appears friendly, please contain them as soon as possible. This will keep them safe from traffic and other dangers. Make sure to approach stray animals slowly and cautiously while speaking in a calm, gentle voice. Food is one way to coax a frightened animal into approaching you. Dogs should be secured using a leash or contained in a fenced yard while cats should be placed in a cat carrier or secure, well ventilated, box and placed in a small room in the house.
Contact your local council
If the stray cat or dog is behaving aggressively, if you are unsure about the animal, cannot approach them safely, or they run away, contact your council. Councils operate outside normal business hours and should be contacted even if it is a weekend or public holiday. You can find your local council here. The Home also has a list of the council’s within the Greater Melbourne region and the pounds and shelters servicing them. This list can be found here.
Check for ID
Once you have contained the stray dog or cat, check to see if the animal is wearing an ID tag. If they are, contact the owner immediately to let them know you have their pet. If you are unable to immediately reach the owner, you can wait a few hours for the owner to call you back. Remember to notify your closest animal shelter in case the owner calls or goes there to search for the pet.
If you can’t hold the pet or the animal doesn’t have an ID tag, either take them to your local animal shelter, or contact your council to arrange to have the animal picked up. Shelter staff can scan the animal for a microchip and if the animal is chipped and the owners contact details are up to date we will be able to contact the owner to let them know their pet has been handed into the shelter.
The most important thing to remember if you find a lost pet is to take the steps needed to reunite them with their owner. You don’t know if they have an owner searching desperately for them.