Intake Procedures on Stray Animals
Stray animals are brought to PHS either by the public or by law enforcement. Occasionally, they are abandoned at the shelter, either left in a kennel or box, or tied to a tree. The first thing our staff does, if there isn’t a safety risk, is scan the animal for a microchip. If there is a microchip, we look up owner information and attempt to contact the owner. Often, the phone number for the owner is out of service or we call and are unable to leave a message. If there is no known owner or we are unable to make contact with an owner, we post the animal on our PHS Lost and Found Facebook group. We are not required to do this; we do it as a courtesy to help pets reunite with their owners. It is ultimately the responsibility of the owner to search for and locate their pet. Also, we do not post pictures of stray puppies that come in so that not anyone can come in and say that it is their dog. If the animal has a rabies tag or license, we will use that to contact the veterinarian on the tag and obtain owner information. If an animal is brought in overnight, all of this is done the next day.
Next, we do a stray intake in our database, PetPoint. We record as much information as we can, guessing breed by their appearance, estimated age using their teeth, gender, and whether they are spayed or neutered. (Males are much easier to tell for this.) We record where the animal was found. We take a picture of the animal, print out a kennel card and put all the animal’s paperwork in a plastic pouch which hangs on their kennel.
Next, we do an intake exam where we scan them again for a microchip, get their weight, make notes on their body score (obese, normal, thin/emaciated), FAS (Fear, Anxiety and Stress), and any injuries or abnormalities. We administer vaccines within 24 hours, except for puppies – we administer vaccines immediately. We do this as a recommended shelter standard to protect both the animals already in our care as well as the animals that have just arrived. If the animal shows signs of fleas/ticks or worms, we administer medications to combat those.
If the animal is microchipped, we make several attempts to call the owner during the stray hold period. This is true even we got an “out of service” recording. All owner contact attempts are recorded in the animal's online memos. Our staff sometimes finds owners of stray animals when we are looking on Facebook, often on our own time. If an owner of a missing animal calls PHS looking for their animal, we encourage them to come and look in person. We welcome owners to call or come in as often as they like during our open hours, and we walk them back to our impound rooms. This is the best chance of seeing if your animal is here, since you know what they look like and the way you describe them may not be how we would describe them. A tan and white dog to you may be a white and brown dog to us.