Friday, October 10, 2014

Finding Fido


Imagine that one of your dearest family members went missing.  Chances are you would be frantic.  For many, when beloved pets disappear, it is no different for their guardians.

There are many reasons why an animal ends up lost and wandering alone.  Those reasons and excuses can, and will, be wonderful fodder for other articles.  For now, we will talk about the kind soul who finds that lost, frightened companion.

For those who have never lost a cherished animal, often the assumption is the animal was abandoned or the owner was negligent in some fashion.  In some instances we know this to be, unfortunately, very true. However, accidents can and do happen.  If the dog looks well taken care of, then someone is probably looking desperately for it.  Though it may appear neglected, it does not necessarily mean there is not a concerned owner.  It may simply be that the animal has been fending for itself for some time.  As an example, recently a local dog who appeared dumped reunited with its owner through the efforts of the person who found him.  The facts were that the dog escaped out of an enclosed yard and traveled over almost 4 miles of rugged, hostile terrain for nearly a month.

To those who do find a dog and bring it home, please be aware that bringing the animal home does not mean it is automatically yours.  The case of “finders’ keepers” does not apply.  You cannot, and should not, immediately try to rehome it.  Again, remember there could be an owner who is desperately looking for their treasured pet.

If you do find a stray dog in Tehama County, you must, within 24 hours (8 hours in City of Red Bluff), notify the authorities.  (Tehama County Code §7.40.050)
In the city limits of Red Bluff, call the Red Bluff Police Department (530-527-3131).
In the city limits of Corning, call the Corning Police Department (530-824-7000).
Anywhere in Tehama County other than the above locations, call the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office (530-529-7900 ext. 1).

After notifying authorities, if circumstances allow, the “finder” can hold the dog for a period of four (4) days.  During this time, you are required to make every effort to locate the pet’s guardian.  Initially, the Tehama County Animal Care Center (TCACC) located at 1830 Walnut Street, Red Bluff, (530-527-3439) is to be notified and provided with your name, phone number, the location where the animal was found, and a description of it, along with any other form of identification or markings the dog might have. This information is then posted on TCACC’s lost & found bulletin board.  In addition, the animal is to be brought in and scanned for a microchip at either TCACC or a local veterinarian (Food & Ag Code §31108).

Other means to find the owner is to contact “Lost and Found” websites such as:
Lost and Found Craigslist:
Facebook pages:
Lost & Found Pets...Northern California!  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/271616759564787/)

At all times, be aware that if you take in the stray you are responsible to provide the animal with care and humane treatment (Civil Code §2080).  Only after the required hold period and the owner has not been located are you allowed to keep him/her or try to find a new home for the dog.

A final word of advice, if you are uncertain about whether or not to help the stray animal you see, think of what you would want someone to do if he or she found your animal lost, alone and possibly injured.  Lastly, be honest with yourself in answering the following: Am I willing to bring a new dog into my household?  Am I willing to return this animal to its original home if the owner is found?  If your answer is “no” to either of these questions, then either take the animal directly to the Tehama County Animal Care Center or contact the appropriate Police/Sheriff Department for assistance as soon as possible.


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