There’s a good chance you will eventually come across a dog that appears to be lost or homeless. Before you take action, however, there are important safety precautions you should remember.
New Delhi, January 8, 2020: If your own dog has ever gone missing, you know what a relief it is to get a phone call from someone who’s dialled the number on your lost dog poster you put up in the neighboourhood. Knowing how grateful we were or would be to them, we naturally want to do our part if we ever see a lost dog wandering the streets. As a dog lover, your first instinct will probably be to help the pooch. Before you take action, there are important safety precautions you should remember. For starters, never follow, chase or pressure a lost dog. Instead, allow them to relax and settle in one area. You will have a much better chance of capturing them safely. Lost dogs who aren’t being pursued or pressured will make very wise decisions and may survive indefinitely. Lost dogs that are being pressured will stay in “panic” mode and will make very poor decisions.
A lost-looking dog strolling the streets of your town may be ill, confused, scared, or hurt. It may also be a dog that has been abused. All of which can make the dog unpredictable in its behaviour. And if you are walking your own dog when you come across the lost dog, this can complicate matters: Your dog may start barking, which could make the other dog aggressive or frightened. There are three things you should always keep in mind if you see a stray dog: the safety of the dog, your own safety, and the safety of others. When we see a dog in trouble—loose near traffic, for instance—it’s easy to panic and with the best of intentions, create an even more dangerous situation.
APPROACH SLOWLY AND CALMLY
If you make sudden or fast movements, you may frighten the dog and provoke him into an attack, or cause him to run away, perhaps into traffic. Try to act in a reassuring and soothing way. Never startle the poor dog. If you are driving and see a loose dog, react as calmly as possible. Slamming on the brakes could get you in an accident or scare the dog into running away or into traffic. If you are not in a situation where you can safely pull over near the animal, take note (or have a passenger take note) of where you saw the animal and either come back around and pull over safely or call animal control and give them as much detail as possible about where you spotted the animal. Whether on foot or in the car, the danger might not be in the situation, but the state of the animal itself. The dog may be scared, injured, or even rabid. If the animal appears to pose any threat of biting or attacking, do not approach it. Note its location and contact animal control. If possible, stay at the scene where you can observe the animal until help arrives, so you can assist them in locating the stray.
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