What to do if you come across a stray animal

We often get asked what to do if you FIND a stray animal.

The first question is whether you can (or want to) catch it. Here are some tips for catching loose dogs:

  • Do not look directly at the animal or walk towards it. If the dog is already scared, you will scare it more, as the dog may see this as aggressive behavior. Look down, or away, from the dog and sit or lie down – especially with small dogs.
  • Treats! Get some smelly treats if possible (hot dogs or liver treats) and act like you are eating them. The noisier your enjoyment, the more curious the dog will be.
  • Toys – some dogs love tennis balls or Frisbees. Try playing catch with a friend while ignoring the dog, and see if the dog will come play with you. Sometimes, just playing with a squeaky toy will work.

Remember, always use caution when approaching a stray animal. If the animal appears fearful or aggressive, it’s best to call animal control with the exact location of the animal. If you aren’t able to catch the dog (or cat, guinea pig, rabbit, etc.) in a safe manner, call us at 425-257-6000 and one of our animal control officers will respond.

If you do catch the pet, call us to report it and arrange to bring it to the shelter. The Everett Animal Shelter is the regional shelter for most of Snohomish County, and you can check online to determine whether to bring the pet to our shelter or another location.

We encourage you to bring the animal to the shelter so it can be evaluated and cared for, and to make it easier for us to reunite it with its family. If you choose to keep the pet at your home until the owner is found, please call the shelter with the animal’s description so we can include it in our “Found” book.

The Everett Animal Shelter will keep the stray animal for three days while we try to reunite it with its owner. We provide photos and descriptions of all stray animals currently at the shelter on our website to make it easier for families to locate their lost pets: www.everettwa.org/default.aspx?ID=256. After three days, our staff will begin preparing the animal for adoption or transfer to another facility.

You can help us connect lost animals with their families:

  • Call the Everett Animal Shelter and make a report so we can include the animal in our “Found” book. Many people who lose their pets start by checking this book
  • List the pet on Petfinder or www.craigslist.com
  • Make flyers and put them up around your neighborhood
  • Take the pet into the Everett Animal Shelter or into your vet to have them checked for a microchip

By using every resource available, you are more likely to help the lost pet to have a happy reunion with their owner.

Learn more about the Everett Animal Shelter. Plan a visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and check out all of our adoptable pets. And be sure to watch our featured Pet of the Week on the Everett Channel.

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