While most stray dogs are benign pups, in need of love and care from a family, some wreak havoc on their neighborhood, getting into trashcans, harassing pets and representing a potential danger to people, as well. Unfortunately, when strays band together and form packs, it can be an even greater threat. In such circumstances, you must notify the authorities, and take steps to keep your family and pets safe until the dogs have been caught and removed.
Stray dogs are not only a problem from an animal welfare perspective, but they also represent a safety hazard. If you see stray dogs around your home, contact the proper authorities and report the problem. Most municipalities have an animal control division that will deal with stray dogs. If your city, county or state does not offer such service, contact the local police or sheriff’s department. While it may be safe to approach a single stray using great caution, approaching a group courts disaster.
In contrast to your family’s dog, which comes from a loving home and is likely to trust humans, stray dogs may display more defensive or aggressive behaviors. Additionally, stray dogs may not be vaccinated against rabies and other diseases, which can make them act very unpredictably. Go inside immediately if you see a group of stray dogs, and be sure to look outside before going to your car or the mailbox. Do not let children play outside when stray dogs are around.
While a single stray dog may hurt or kill a small pet, a pack may cause serious injury to even the largest dogs. Do not leave your pet outside unattended until someone catches and removes the dogs. Your pet may attract strays seeking mates or an easy meal. Keep your cats inside as well -- even the most skilled climbers may be surprised by a pack and unable to reach safety.
You can do several proactive things that will discourage stray dogs from coming near your home. Do not feed your pets outside, as leftovers and food odors may attract the dogs. Additionally, keep your trash in a secure container that prevents the dogs from accessing it. Of course, a solid fence that completely encircles your property will provide the most protection, but be aware that some dogs can jump incredibly high.
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