A reader who found a stray neighbourhood dog asks Dr Platzhund about how to adopt an abandoned dog.
Q: I often find stray dogs in my area. One in particular I’ve picked up three times in a year. It’s obvious the owners are negligent. What are the procedures for my adopting this dog if this happens again?
A: What people don’t often know when adopting a stray animal is that it’s against the law. All stray animals become the responsibility of the SPCA. Every stray dog should be taken to the nearest veterinary practice to be scanned for a microchip. If the scan is positive, then the owner is contacted. If there’s no trace of a microchip, then the SPCA collects the dog. The SPCA will hold on to the animal for about four days, and if no one claims it, it will be put up for adoption. You have first option to adopt, provided you follow the correct adoption procedure and an inspector is satisfied with the conditions of your premises. If the stray is deemed unsuitable for adoption due to age, injuries, serious illness or bad temperament, then euthanasia is considered. If you take the dog home or refuse to hand it in, then you may end up in litigation for theft. Before the good intentions of adoption are considered, you should also consult with your vet or reputable dog trainer as to whether the stray dog will be compatible with your environment and other pets you may have. Always take precautions; the stray dog doesn’t perceive your good intentions as kindness.