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So you suddenly find yourself faced with an emergency. The situation is urgent. A pet is injured or abusive crime against an animal is happening in front of you. What next?

Do you wonder if the pet is really in danger? Would you rather not get involved? Are you in a hurry? If these thoughts are delaying your decision to call, you are not alone. These are typical concerns.

Call 9-1-1 or police

Let a professional decide if the pet is truly in danger. A phone call takes just a few minutes and then you can move on with a clear conscience. Keep a completed wallet card with you at all times, so the phone number is handy. PLEASE NOTE that each municipality has procedures for animal control and phone numbers change when you cross boundaries. Prepare for emergencies by calling your sheriff or shelter in advance (TODAY) and research phone numbers for all municipalities that you travel through regularly. You can also use your local phone book to look up the phone numbers that are appropriate for your municipality.

  1. These situations are emergencies, and you absolutely must call immediately:
    —The pet is unable to stand.
    —The pet is bleeding profusely.
    —Someone is beating a pet.
    —The pet is in shock. Gum tissue is white.
    —The pet is in direct sun or in a parked vehicle, panting heavily. Heat stroke kills. When the outdoor temperature is just 72 F, the interior of a vehicle will reach 108 F in just one-half hour and 117 F in an hour.
  2. Be prepared to describe the pet’s condition, the address, and the location on the property when you call. You do not have to give your name. You do not have to testify.
  3. If you can offer help to the pet, ask the official whom you are talking to how to help safely.

IMPORTANT: research your region to learn which animal control agencies and authorities you can trust to uphold compassionate animal welfare standards. While many municipalities are responsible and caring about the animal lives in their facilities, others are quick to end lives for convenience or budgetary reasons. Talk with shelter staff, local rescues, and veterinarians to learn how your municipality would handle a stray or sick animal or a neglectful, abusive owner.