What happens to the injured stray pets?

What happens to the injured stray pets?

By Mickey Zeldes  December 5, 2014

Ever wondered what happens to injured strays?  What care would be given to your Fluffy or Rover if he or she slipped out the door and got hit by a car or attacked by another animal? Depending on who finds the animal and the time of the day or night that he or she is found, the answer can differ. Often, the animal is brought to the shelter first, as we are the place people think of when they find a stray – which is wonderful.  And if we’re able to take care of the animal ourselves, we will. But our contract vets are here for only a few hours each week.

If we are open, we will do our best to assess the damage; but if our vet isn’t here and the injuries seem significant, the City of Rohnert Park has an agreement with the local emergency hospital – VCA Animal Care Center, 6470 Redwood Drive – to see the stray.  The state requires each municipality to have a fund to cover some basic medical expenses for strays (comes out of our animal license fees – another good reason to keep your dogs and cats licensed). Our goal, of course, is to try and have the animal reclaimed by the owner as soon as possible so they can take over the expenses and decision-making.  The Animal Care Center has a small blanket amount pre-approved so they can get started on trying to stabilize the animal, but then they have to call either the shelter supervisor or the shift sergeant to get approval for further treatment.  That’s where hard decisions and the Animal Shelter League comes in – this local non-profit often funds the extra medical care of needy animals.

This just happened over the holiday weekend.  An older black lab was seen being hit by a car on East Cotati Avenue, and a Cotati Police Officer took the injured dog to the emergency hospital.  Although wearing a collar, she had no tags, license or microchip.  Her leg was badly broken in multiple places and she had a large gash on her side that needed to be closed up.  Without knowing the dog’s age, overall health condition, temperament or anything useful, we had to decide how far to proceed immediately and what could wait to see if an owner was found.  The decision would need to be made whether to attempt to repair the leg or just amputate (a very traumatic surgery), or not go forward at all because either choice was expensive and without guarantees.

A shelter staff person went over to scan again for a microchip (wishful thinking) and to take a picture so she could be posted on our Facebook page.  Then we had to cross our fingers that her family was not away for the holiday weekend.  Once posted, we were gratified to see a swirl of comments and “shares” until finally one that said “I think this is my dog!”  How gratifying is that? Social media to the rescue!

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