Natural Disasters Mean Deserted Animals: Know the Dog Before You Take in a Stray

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Natural disasters have a way of affecting all in their path, including the pets and animals left behind when an owner can no longer care for them due to loss of home or resulting depleted finances. From runaway pets to those we find wandering the streets after being separated from their owners, the shelters fill quickly with those in need of a home. For some of us who are in a position to care for a new friend, we find it hard to resist taking one in. But, as cute as they may seem on the outside, dogs and cats are still animals and must be considered as such before we become too friendly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs alone, and many of these bites require emergency treatment and subsequent antibiotics. Animal and dog bites can be classified as any action that breaks the skin, such as scratches, scrapes and bites, whether intentional or not, and whether the bite was from a youngster or one who is full-grown. Although we often see children in emergency rooms, bites are not restricted to children. Many adults are also bitten trying to help an injured dog, or making the dog do something it doesn’t want to do (like getting in or out of a car). Even veterinarians who are trained to deal with animals who may be intimidated are bitten while trying to remove stitches after surgery.

Stray dogs are often frightened, and their aggression comes out because they don’t trust anyone. If you decide to care for a stray dog, it’s good to know that it may take some time for that animal to graduate from an abandoned animal into a family pet. Chances are the process requires much patience and training.

If you have been bitten by a stray dog, or a neighbor’s pet, you know that the first course of action is to seek medical attention regardless of how big or small the bite…or the dog. Dogs carry all sorts of germs in their mouth, and those germs are transferred via the dog’s saliva. In the case of a stray, it will be more difficult to find a responsible party. And, if you have been bitten by a pet with an owner, dealing with that owner will quickly prove a different point of view from your own: “Thrasher never bites! You must have done something to provoke him. It’s your fault.”

Certain attorneys specialize in cases involving dog bites and bites from other animals, and owners might be subject to civil penalties if there was an intentional permission for the dog to bite. In order to sift through the case and have proper action taken, you’ll want to seek the advice of an attorney in New York or in your area who can handle this type of case.

When it comes to animals and possible pet adoptions, it’s never faulty to be overcautious before you take in a stray. A good, well-cared for pet will be a lifelong companion for years to come.