Updated: Jun 20, 2019
A few months ago I was compelled to write a post on my business Facebook page, Madame Leash, in response to an alarming number of people holding onto other people’s animals once they had found them.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was a post that came up of a cute little fluffy dog with wording and comments to the effect of, ‘Found this little guy, pretty sure he’s neglected, he’s missing fur, he’s skinny and he’s entire.’
Members of the community came on with fighting words like, ‘That owner doesn’t deserve to have their dog back.’ ‘Keep him.’ ‘I’ll have him.’ ‘Don’t send him to the pound, they’ll kill him.’
The finder then commented that she’d fed him table scraps, renamed him and the next day posted that she was taking him to the off-leash beach…
Ummm… I couldn’t stay quiet any longer. Having worked with animals in various capacities over the years I rarely assume anything about owners or dogs… Instead I wonder… Might the dog be on medication and need to get home? Might he have a condition that sees him lose hair and weight?
Who are we to deem an owner unfit for not desexing their dog? After I posed these ‘wonderings’ to the finder of the dog she saw sense and rang the council and the dog was reunited with his rightful owner.
It ignited a fire in my belly and I took a big risk and wrote a lengthy post on my business page. I thought it may have been controversial, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would spurn the vitriol that it did.
My post went a little something like this:
If you find my dog and he is not wearing his collar that has my number on it…
I don’t want you to hold onto him… and I listed the many reasons I would prefer my dog to be collected by the council and not held onto by a well meaning member of the community.
In retrospect I possibly could’ve worded the whole thing using a less reverse Veruca Salt feel but, eh…sometimes when our passion comes out we just have to let it flow!
Why do I still recommend people contact the council if they find or are able to contain a lost or wandering dog?
I have heard horror stories of dogs biting people and escaping and becoming further lost when do-gooders try to take them to the vet to be scanned. I know my own dog would be hesitant to get in someone else’s car. The council may use a catch pole to ‘catch’ a dog and it even though it looks awful, at least the dog is securely restrained!
My dog is on the leaner side, in fact he is full of muscle due to coming to work with me as a dog walker every day. He’s not skinny, he’s very well loved and fed. I would hate for someone to think he was being neglected and hold onto him for that reason.
My dog has food intolerances BIG time! I would rather him not be fed but if he has to be I’d rather him eat the bland food at the pound, not someone’s potentially dangerous table scraps.
He’s not currently on medication, but if he was, it would be important for him to come home for his next dose. The council will have access to my details by way of microchip and I will be able to be reunited with him quickly.
If you have kids and you hang on to my dog he may bowl them over in excitement. If you have other animals he may be out of sorts and not get along with them. I’d hate for him to accidentally hurt anyone or anything whilst in your care!
Due to the nature of my work I have assisted others in looking for their lost pets many times. When you’re out in the streets looking for a lost dog you are not on Facebook trawling lost pet pages, you are too busy panicking and physically looking. Your phone battery always seems to be on the blink so you use what’s left of it to call Council and all of your local vets. Again, I reiterate you don’t tend to use it to trawl Facebook!
So, I stand by what I said… I would prefer my dog is in the pound securely kept rather than held onto by a well-meaning citizen.
Does this mean that if my dog gets out and he’s wearing his collar I don’t want you to call me? No, please do call me!
Use common sense; If the owner is uncontactable get the dog either collected, or if safe to do so, take to a vet where they can scan and reunite quickly.
Guest Post by Lauren Bau, Owner of Madame Leash