THEbumping into an abandoned dog can generate various reactions in us, up to the decision to take him home. But the situation may not be easy to manage. The advice of Piera Rosati, president of La Lega del cane (LNDC Animal Protection) to operate in the best way.
Abandoning an animal is illegal: those who assist must report
Anyone who abandons an animal on the street, typically making it get off and restarting the car, commits a crime and can be punished with arrest for up to one year or a fine of up to 10,000 euros (Law 20 July 2004, n. 189). Those who assist can report at police (Carabinieri / State Police / Local Police) taking note of the license plate number as promptly as possible.
Abandoned, lost or neighborhood dog?
First of all, we need to understand if the furry dog is really an abandoned dog. For example, it could be a neighborhood dog: in some areas of Italy, the Regional Laws, in the rules on the Fight against stray dogs and the protection of pets, provide for the re-entry of dogs on the territory of belonging of stray dogs known to the veterinary authorities: vaccinated and microchipped, they are cared for by volunteers from the area. But it may also have been voluntarily left to wander around the house by the owners.
First of all, it is worth observing it carefully: if it is disoriented, it moves confusedly, has no direction, often chases passers-by, most likely it is a lost or abandoned dog. On the contrary, if it is a self-confident dog, which has mastery of the place, it is likely that it is an animal that lives free on the territory, looked after, with a good chance, by volunteers or inhabitants of the area.
He is an abandoned dog: how to help him?
The first goal is to identify him: you can therefore try to approach him without making sudden movements, perhaps offering him food or a little water, so as to gain his trust. He may have a tag with the owner’s phone number on it. You can ask for help from associations that deal with animals (Lega del cane, Enpa, Lav), but only for assistance: the discovery must in any case be reported to the competent authorities.
These are obliged to intervene (failure to intervene can be reported because it is a public service) but they may not be particularly prompt. The traffic police or the veterinary services of the ASL are required to be available 24 hours a day, including holidays. The Carabinieri (112) are obliged to intervene, but the Forestry Carabinieri (1515) can also come to your aid.
Choose the competent authorities well
It is easier to get help if you turn to the right people: near railway tracks, contact Polfer; if it has been abandoned on the motorway or on other long-distance roads outside built-up areas, notify the Polstrada, however in both cases dial 113; in particular situations (roofs, trees, tunnels) call the Fire Brigade (115).
Once the dog has been recovered, it will be transferred to the health kennel and then, after the days of the dog’s stay in the aforementioned kennel, it will be taken to the kennel / shelter agreed with the Municipality on whose territory the animal was found.
Can I take it home?
What looks like an abandoned dog may just have run away from its owner, who is looking for it. The discovery must therefore in any case be reported. Anyone who tries to avoid the kennel, bringing it home, must do everything to avoid the hypothesis that it is a lost animal: making sure, with a veterinarian, that it does not have a microchip, posting posters in the area and spreading the news of its finding.
Adopting a found dog is possible: but only, in fact, if it does not have a microchip or a tattoo that allows you to trace the owner. The ASL veterinarian can arrange for it to be entrusted temporarily for 60 days, and then definitively.
If he is injured?
If the dog is visibly injured, perhaps due to an accident, it is forbidden to make do with makeshift drugs but take him immediately to the vet. If the competent authorities are not prompt, any veterinarian, even a freelancer, has the duty of assistance provided for in Article 16 of the Deontological Code of the category. For transport, if there is a risk of fractures, it is advisable to equip a kind of stretcher.
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