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Author Topic: When is a Stray- a Stray?  (Read 1356 times)
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Dog Addict!
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« on: October 17, 2009, 04:36:56 PM »

(I wasn't sure what board to post this on, so please let me know this one is wrong)

Having just found my third stray dog this week- or at least stray to MY understanding of the word- I am starting to wonder when exactly a dog should be taken back to his home and when I should assume it's fine. To me, ANY dog that's wandering around, not on a leash or in a yard, is a stray dog. But we moved to Athens, GA this summer and I am slowly starting to realize that people in this area seem to just let their dogs roam around. I think that's their idea of letting the dog outside, just opening the front door. Often when I'm on my walks I'll see a dog just strolling down the side of the street. This is totally foreign to overprotective Dog Mommy me!

There's one dog, Banjo, who shows up in our yard pretty often, from the neighborhood behind us. I know where she lives so we usually walk her home, but as far as I can tell her owners just open the back door and let her out- without even a collar. Then, last Saturday there was another dog that was in our neighborhood for a few days. I finally was able to flag it down with the help of some neighbors and we called the owners who seemed to think it was odd that we were calling them to come get him. The woman came and picked him up, but she was only one street over too and I got the sense that she thought he would have just come home when he was ready.

Then, just now, I was driving down 316 which is a pretty busy highway, with lots of trucks, and I noticed a dog playing on the other side. So I did a U-Turn (at the light), went back and followed him back to a row of houses that was just down a little hill from the highway. I found his house with no problem. He had a collar, seemed totally aware of how to get home and was having a blast running around in the rain. So, was he a stray dog? Or should I have just kept driving and left well enough alone? But isn't any dog on the side of a busy highway one that needs rescuing?

So I guess that's my question. Do I stop and bring every dog I see walking down the side of the street back to his house? When do I get involved and when do I just assume the neighbors are letting them out for a walk about? I know the dog owner culture is VERY different here and I don't want to judge but I'm not really sure what the right thing to do is and when.

Sorry this was so long!

Hope for Natalee Holloway, STILL missing in Aruba.
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*The Enabler*

« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2009, 05:15:29 PM »

Interesting topic! I'd like to know too.

Seems like even IF the dog knows where it lives it is still in danger of being injured.
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2009, 07:42:53 PM »

I agree with your definition of a stray and your municipal code agrees, even if they do not use the word "stray" (

The right thing to do is harder to be 100% sure about. It can go from what you do, bring the dog back to its home to alerting the animal control people so they can issue citations/impound the dog if they deem it necessary. The when to do the one or the other can depend of a lot of things. In my mind, no dog owner is completely free of the risk of an escape (never happened with my two but happened twice in 20 years with three of my parents' dogs). If one of mine ever escaped I would be soooo thankful to the person who would call me or walk my dog back to me. Of course, this assumes that some kind of tag is on the dog. I would also be thankful to the person who alerted AC so that they could come, take it off the street and keep it safe until I reclaimed it. On the other hand, ID or not, when the same dog is repeatedly let loose and therefore put at risk of being hurt or killed, it is perhaps time to contact the authorities. It is also time to contact the authorities if the dog is in really bad condition when you find him. However, and that is why I used perhaps, it becomes less clear cut if you live in an area where most animals whose owners cannot be found and who end up with AC are euthanized.

I have not resolved this dilemna yet... that's why I still have all the neighborhood cats who lounge on my front lawn, pee and poo in my flowerbeds and drive the girls crazy. It is also why (coupled with a pretty unresponsive and understaffed AC and the fact that most dogs around hereare unchipped ) now I only routinely stop when I can see tags on strays. The other ones, if they are in residential neighboorhoods away from main thoroughfares, I let be in the hope they are indeed just going for a walk and will find their way home. Do I feel guilty ? Yes because I cannot help but play the what if game : what if he got hit by a car and was left to die ? what if he never got home and slowly starved or got sick ? On the other hand, I know that there are about 80% chances that if AC gets them, they are dead in 7 days.

Flem GR DOB 04/24/04 - Nathalie - Spip YL DOB 05/18/02
Kim H
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2009, 07:56:27 PM »

This drives me nuts about the country. When we met the neighbors, they met the dogs and said oh, good, now we'll know who they belong to. They all let their dogs have free roam of miles of area. I've become familiar with the wanderers to know if I saw one that wasn't part of that group, but I guess my usual response is, if in doubt, I stop, for the dog's sake.

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