Updated: Nov 30
So, you have found a stray animal? Firstly, thank you for taking on the responsibility of reuniting this animal with its owner. The safety of you and the animal is important, so ensure that you are not at risk of injury when collecting, restraining, or transporting it.
Check for any identification tags that may be present. If there are, then contact the number listed to make arrangements with the owner. If not, we have outlined what you should do below.
Duty of Care Understanding your legal responsibility before taking on a stray can be a helpful way to determine whether it’s something you want to do. By picking up a stray, you have accepted the duty of care for this animal as you are legally the ‘person in charge’ of the animal.
You are obliged under the Animal Care and Protection Act (2001) to provide appropriate care for this animal. This means that you must keep it safe in your possession whether at home or sitting in the clinic, until it is collected.
If you choose to leave the animal or release it, you have abandoned it. By abandoning the animal, you have breached your legal duty of care, and can be held liable.
What We Can Do If you choose to bring the animal into our clinic, we can scan the pet for a microchip and contact the owners if there is one recorded. If we reach the owners successfully, the animal will have to remain in your care until they come to collect it. This means either waiting in the clinic with the animal or taking it home and keeping it safe while arrangements are made for the owners to come. Failure to do so will be a breach of your duty of care.
We cannot keep the animal in our care under any circumstances.
Local Council Stray animals are the responsibility of the local government. Report the stray to your local council, and an Animal Management Officer will collect the animal free of charge from your location. Councils run the pound facilities that collect and accept stray animals. Ipswich City Council - (07) 3810 6666. Brisbane City Council – (07) 3403 8888.
RSPCA If the animal is injured, very sick or in immediate danger, you can contact the RSPCA. However, the RSPCA often does not have the resources to collect and house healthy strays, so ensure your local council is your first point of contact if this is the case. RSPCA Australia - 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
Wildlife When it comes to wildlife, the regulations are different. You can bring in and leave any wildlife you have rescued, collected, or found, and we will take it into our care.
If the animal does not appear sick or injured, observe it from a distance first and see if it moves along on its own. If not, attempt to safely capture the animal to bring it to us for a veterinary assessment. Be careful when handling wildlife, as they can carry zoonotic diseases. Always wear PPE where possible to prevent you or the animal from contracting a disease or getting injured. You can drop off any sick or injured wildlife at our clinic, and it will be cared for it while we make arrangements.
FAQ’s - Questions we get asked regularly
Why can’t you take it? Veterinary clinics are not collection centres and, unfortunately, do not have the facilities or resources to be collecting and housing stray animals. If you found a lost child, would you take it to the doctor?
Why do I have to stay until the owners arrive? You have a legal duty of care under The Animal Protection Act (2001) not to abandon the animal in your care.
Can we have the owner’s information? Unfortunately, that is a privacy violation, and we legally cannot give out personal information unless the owner consents to it.
Can I drop the pet off at the owner’s house? If the owner arranges to do that, yes, but we would need to liaise with the owner first to get consent to give out their information to have this arranged.
What if the animal requires immediate veterinary care? If the animal requires life-saving veterinary care, take it straight to the RSPCA or nearest veterinary clinic. Emergency treatment will be given to stabilise the animal. The RSPCA will then be notified to continue the animal’s care.
I don’t have time to wait, I must go to work. Unfortunately, because you have a legal duty of care, you cannot abandon the animal for any reason. Instead, contact the council to explain your situation and see if they can organise something quickly for you.
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