What do I do if I find an injured, stray or feral animal on Long Island?

A:

Wildlife:
Found a baby animal? Read this before you do anything else. 
For adult wildlife on Long Island, please contact Volunteers for Wildlife at (516) 674-0982 or wildlifeadvisory@gmail.com.

Stray or feral animals:
If you find a feral or stray animal, don’t assume he or she has a home. Stray and feral animals are not equipped to survive long in the wild, often succumbing to predators, poisoning, disease, starvation, and even laboratory dealers.

Plus, if a stray animal is not sterilized, one cat can turn into dozens very quickly.

If a stray flees when you approach, start putting out food to get him or her into the habit of visiting. Borrow a humane box trap from your local animal shelter or purchase one from Tomahawk Live Trapping Company (1-800-27-ATRAP).

Next, check for tags and bring the animal to a veterinarian or animal shelter to check for microchips. Many lost animals are reunited with their families because someone took the time to check. But don’t assume that because the animal has a collar, he or she has a home. Many are abandoned, or their families have given up looking for them.

Immediately file a “found” report at all area shelters, and don’t be afraid to take the animal to a well-run shelter—that’s usually the first place where people look. Place a classified ad in the newspaper (many papers run “found” ads for free or at a discount). Put up signs within a 2-mile radius that say, “Found cat. Call [telephone number].” Don’t give any details. Let callers give you details; this weeds out people who are trying to acquire animals under false pretenses to sell to laboratories or dogfighting rings.

If no one claims the animal, find a home where he or she will live inside as a member of the family. Visit the home, ask lots of questions, ask for and check references, and have adopters sign a contract.

Always sterilize animals before they go to their new homes. Call 1-800-248-SPAY for information on low-cost spay/neuter programs in your area. If you are unable to find a good home, take the animal to a reputable shelter run by a humane organization. (Many of these shelters will also allow you to be notified prior to any possibility of euthanasia if you request it.)


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