We are a nation of pet lovers. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Pet Owners Survey, more than 39 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog and 33 percent of U.S. households own at least one cat.
Due to the economy, many pets have been abandoned in homes or left on the side of the road. Here are some recommendations from the Humane Society of the United States and National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, if you choose to assist a stray domestic or wildlife animal.
Please note there are two types of animal rescues: domestic and wildlife.
First and foremost, safety is the most important issue. Do not do anything to put yourself or the animal in danger. This includes running in traffic or any quick maneuvers to startle the animal. Animal experts warn to never approach an animal if it is acting strangely. Their strange behavior may be due to rabies.
Be Ready. The Humane Society recommends having these items at your immediate disposal if you chose to assist an animal:
• Protective gloves
• The phone numbers of:
o Local animal shelter
o A shelter
o 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic
• Cardboard box or animal carrier
• Strong adjustable collar and leash
• Heavy blanket
• Water bowl
• Strong smelling foods (canned tuna, dried liver, etc.)
• Animal first-aid kit http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html
The key is to take the animal to a safe haven. Once you have secured the animal in an animal carrier, take him to a shelter. Also, contact your local animal control if you need assistance or if you see a stray and are unable to assist.
Among wildlife, rabbits and birds are the most common strays. Here are some tips from the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association. Also, they provide more a more detailed chart on how to rescue baby mammals: http://www.nwrawildlife.org/documents/jacobs_mammals.PDF and How to Rescue Baby Birds http://www.nwrawildlife.org/documents/jacobs_birds.pdf.
Tips for baby rabbits:
• If the rabbit nest is damaged, you can repair it
• Look for a shallow depression lined with grass/fur