You are here

What do you do when you see loose dogs?

Olen and I will too often encounter loose dogs on our walks. There's not much I can do at the time, since I have to make sure Olen (and the other dogs) are safe from each other. The dogs will often follow us for a long time, which is very, very sad! If they have collars with tags, I will definitely call the "owner"/rabies tag vet. Otherwise, I'm conflicted about what to do. I would like to call animal services so that the dogs are safe(r) from getting hit by cars, but I'm also not so sure of their fate in animal services' hands.

I'm naive in thinking that maybe the dogs will just travel back to their homes if left alone..since they often seem to live in the area. If they do get with animal services, I believe they search for the "owners," then keep the dogs for a couple days, then they either go to the humane society, or are euthanized at some point. :'(

I know other areas have no kill shelters and safe places, but we have no such things here. What do you do?? We encountered two such dogs this morning with no tags, and one seemed like she had just had puppies and needed some immediate care. They were both pit bulls/mixes. :(

If I know the dog, I bring it home. If I don't know it, but it seems friendly & has a tag, I'll call its owner & try to coordinate getting them reunited.  One way to do this is by tieing up my dog(s) to a tree and then slowly approaching the dog to determine its demeaner before reading it's tag. No tag, or if it growls or shows any signs of aggressision, I just go on my way. Unfortuntly, there really is nothing else you can do.  I too hope that it either returns home or someone is out looking for it.  But it's not worth risking injury to yourself or your dog, or stressing yourself out over a dog that someone needs to take better care of.

1 like

okay this will probably upset people but when I was little I was attacked by 2 different dogs, and for most of my life have been scared of ANY dog, I can deal with really small dogs now but large dogs still upset me. That being said, if I see a dog running around with no owner I usually freak out and "run" (walk away quickly) and hope it doesn't follow me, if it does follow me, I get really upset.

If I see other animals, I'm not really bothered though. I see a lot more stray cats than dogs though, I probably see 2 stray cats a day but I only see maybe 5 stray dogs a year(?). When I see loose cats, I usually go up to them and see if they have collars, if they don't I usually don't mess with them and most the time they run away anyways.


Lisaanddini I pretty much do what you do. Try to find an owner through reading the tags and calling. I've been lucky though and had owners come over to their "lost" dog and take it home with them. One little dog I had for some time. I had put an ad in the paper describing him and telling where I had found him. His owners finally materialized and took him home.


I understand how you feel. The majority of "animal controls" (aka pounds) hold them for 7 days and then they can be rescued by any rescues that want them. If that doesn't happen...they are often killed. Not euthanized because euthanasia is for ill and suffering animals. Killed. Local humane societies or SPCAs sometimes refuse to take strays and only accept animal surrenders. If they do take them, they can decide they are not adoptable (older, shy, food aggressive) and euthanize them.

Fortunately I do not encounter stray dogs where I live, but here is what I did for 1 I found and 1 a friend found...grab them and take them home and keep them SEPARATED. They have been outside and can have fleas, worms, mites...This is easier if you have a spare cage/kennel and a spare room to keep it in. 

Here are steps...

1. Grab dog if friendly. Be careful.

2. Take him to a vet and have him scanned for a microchip

3.Take home and keep SEPARATED.

4. Get dog a bowl of water and some food (whatever you have)

5. Call animal control/spca/humane society and ask if anyone reported him missing. GIve them your number if you feel comfortable with that otherwise call back regularly.

6. Check Craigslist lost pet reports. 

7. Make a FOUND pet posting on Craigslist, but VERY IMPORTANT-mention the city found, the breed found, but no other info. no photo and ask responders to supply a photo and color, alteration status, sex...This keeps people who either want a free dog from replying and also people who have missing pets that are desperate and willing to take the wrong one...

Call animal control and local humane societies/spcas and ask if they have any reports of missing dogs that fit the breed. Ask them to call if they do. Usually give them at least 30 minutes from finding the dog...Settle him in with a bowl of water and food (if you have no dog food, you can feed people food to assess how hungry he is (tells you how long he may have been out) or go grab a cheapy brand at the local grocery store. Think Alpo or Purina. 

Can you hold this dog for 7 days? If no owner contacts the local agencies and you have notified them as well as posted on CL or in the paper for 7 days, you can keep him or rehome him. Keep in mind the owners may be elderly. Or bad owners. If you can hold on to him, start calling local rescues NOT humane societies or spcas (unless you know they are No Kill. No Kill and "low kill" being similar are like vegetarians being "kind of vegan".

In my sitch, one of the dogs had been abused and neglected, and the rescue I found was willing to hold on to him for the 7 day holding period. The owners called animal control but were told they needed to pay to get him back before day 7 or he could be killed. They never called back. He was neutered, treated for his neglect, and adopted out. You can also offer to foster for the rescue if they agree to take him on and get him adopted. They pay for medical care, they put him on Petfinder, they provide food. You provide shelter and love. Even temporary foster gives the rescue time to find a foster home.

Hope this helps! I am a cat rescuer muself, but occasionally find a dog in need...



Having worked in the animal field awhile, I'm not affraid of appraoching strays cause I know the warning signs they give other than just growling or showing teeth. 

My husband and I carry nylon leashes and have always captured the dogs and either called the number on their tags or if no tag take them to a local vet and have them scanned. If all else fails we take them home and place "lost n found" ads on craigslist and require anyone claiming to be the owner to send pictures and describe the dog to a T. We've been very successful!! Smile

Log in or register to post comments