Updated: Oct 20, 2019
Many of us have seen a running or wandering dog by itself - they are either in frantic mode or casual, I'm having a great time mode.
What should you do? Should you stop? Should you try and catch it?
If you are worried, but don't have time to pursue the dog, it is probably best to call the council. Otherwise post something on our FB page and generally someone can go and help.
In my car, I always have a spare lead. If the dog isn't wearing a collar, you can always use the lead by slipping the clip part through the handle and slipping the noose like loop over the dogs head.
If the dog is willingly caught, you are lucky. Some just run and run and become very frightened. You need to be really careful that you don't send it into a further panic, particularly if busy roads are involved.
Some tips that could help catch the dog is to open the car door and invite it in with a happy, chirpy voice. Lots of dogs love a car ride. Another one is to sit on the ground and sometimes they will come up to you out of curiousity. I also have some dog treats in the car in a crinkly bag that makes a noise and that works too.
Be careful and alert when you are trying to catch a panicked stray. Be aware of not only your safety but the dogs as well.
Once you do secure the dog, check if it has a collar. Sometimes the name and phone number is embroidered on the collar like Finn's is here and sometimes there are personal name tags with phone numbers and/or council tags. Often though, there will be no outward identification.
Many people's first thoughts are to call the local council otherwise known as Animal Management. I believe that this should be a last resort not the first one.
The first thing I do if there is no identification is to take the dog to the local vet. The vet has a scanner where they can look to see if there is a microchip. If there is, hopefully the information is up to date and the owner can be contacted quickly.
If there is no microchip or the information is not current then the council will be contacted, the dog collected and taken to the pound.
Other avenues are to post on our FB page that you have found the animal (with a photo and a description) but members will encourage you to take it to be scanned.
Remember, no matter how cute the dog is, in most cases, the owners will be so worried about their missing pet, it is best to try and reunite them as soon as possible. Don't keep the dog overnight - there are establishments around locally who can scan and contact the owners. One is AEC on Wickham Rd, Moorabbin who are open 24hrs, another is Southern Animal Health, Nepean Hwy, Cheltenham who are open until 9pm unless it is a public holiday.
Don't feel bad if you do call the Council to come and get the dog, at least you have ensured its well being.
Also make sure your animals details are up to date by checking the Central Animal Records website and entering in or updating your pets microchip details.
The details look like the image above. It will have the animals name, date of birth, microchip number and a description. You will also have a Pet Owner profile and this is where you keep your phone number and address up to date.
I have been informed that there are about 5 different registers on which a dog's microchip can be recorded. If you don't know which register your dog is on, you can enter the microchip number on the site called Pet Address as per the example below.