Animal Control and Treatment
Rabies is a virus that is usually transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, although it can also be transmitted through aerosolization. Vaccination programs, the elimination of stray animals, and strict quarantine procedures have reduced the number of rabies infections in the developed world, although it remains a serious concern in underdeveloped countries, accounting for almost 33 000 deaths per year (Baer, 1998; Bleck and Rupprecht, 2000; Murray et al., 2002, 2013). For additional information see http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies/.
In order to avoid rabies, it is required to avoid feeding or handling wild or stray animals. For more information on animal bite prevention see here.
According to one source, the law in Texas prohibiting cruelty to animals did not specifically protect feral cats until 2007. Jeremy Masten, Note, Don’t Feed the Animals: Queso’s Law and How the Texas Legislature Abandoned Stray Animals, a Comment on H.B.2328 and the New Tex. Penal Code § 42.092, 60 Baylor L. Rev. 964, 973–74 (Fall 2008). As a result, many criminal defendants who were arrested on animal cruelty charges were acquitted because their alleged crimes had been committed against feral animals. Arguably, the Texas statute already protected feral cats, since it protected “domesticated animals.” However, the failure to explicitly include feral animals in the definition of domesticated animals apparently compelled an interpretation — at least in the minds of many jurors and legislators — that those animals were excluded from the law's protection.
State or local laws affect how stray cats and dogs are treated and disposed of when they are turned into a public animal control center. Some of these animals are owner drop-offs from individuals who no longer want or can no longer keep their cat or dog. But more often, animals come into an animal control facility because they are reported as strays — roaming at large — in the community.
Once animals come into an animal control facility and have been checked for identifying tags or microchips, they are assessed for health and temperament and are generally warehoused until a statutory waiting period expires. This waiting period, typically between 3-10 days, is the minimum time an animal control facility must keep animals before they can consider their disposition. This gives owners whose dogs or cats have run away an opportunity to reclaim their animals.
Animal control facilities are generally overcrowded, however, and are eager to dispose of stray animals coming through their doors. The general policy, therefore, is that once animals have been kept for the minimum waiting period without being redeemed, they are free to be disposed of as seen fit. Disposition can mean adoption, sale, transfer, or even euthanasia. Many animal control facilities have their own adoption facilities or work with a local shelter or rescue group to facilitate the process.
More to see here.
In India, here are some very important laws for street animals in India that people should be aware of. It is not illegal to feed stray animals, to poison stray animals, to cause harm to stray animals, to deliberately starve street dogs or take away their shelter, and to display stray monkeys as means of entertainment. Government issues IDs to people who feed stray animals. It is against the law to relocate stray animals from their territory. Capturing them against their will is against the law. Proper documentation is required for the buying/sale of cattle. Read more here.
Holding period laws are state requirements that determine how long an impounded animal must be “held” before it is able to be released or euthanized. Typically, these laws give owners anywhere between three and ten days to redeem the animal before the animal can be placed for adoption, sold, or euthanized. The majority of states require a holding period of three to five days. In all of the states withholding laws, the decision of what happens to the animal after the holding period has passed is left solely up to the animal shelter or organization that has impounded the animal. For example, the Arizona A.R.S. § 11-1013 is for dogs and cats considered to be stray animals, and California’s West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric.Code § 31752 (Cats) and West's Ann. Cal. Food & Agric. Code § 31108 (Dogs) are for stray cats and dogs. In Maine, 7 M.R.S.A. § 3913, the law applies if the dog is considered to be a stray dog (roaming at large) and it does not apply to dogs that are “obviously abandoned.”
Responding shelters were asked to identify the types of medical services they had in place to offer animals within the shelter (Table 4.8). Almost all of the shelters always document all medical care, assess the health of the animals at intake, and provide core vaccines and parasite prevention in accordance with best practice guidelines. Most also provide rabies vaccination, necessary grooming, use modified live viruses, and have emergency medical and disease response plans in place. The provision of basic vaccines and parasite prevention assures that the chances of disease transmission in the shelter will be minimized.
Some animal medical issues such as rabies, parasites, and leptospirosis can also be transmitted to humans, thus vaccinations help protect public health. Outbreaks of disease in shelters are common for a variety of reasons including the intake of stray animals, transfer programs from areas with high rates of diseases such as parvo, and the need to admit animals from hoarding situations where their health status can be compromised. DACC’s emergency medical plan led to national recognition by leaders in shelter medicine for their handling of an emerging pneumovirus contagion in 2016. More to see here.
People raise domestic animals as companions and should bear the responsibility of raising them. Due to the negligence of the owner, the abandoned or lost animals became stray animals. The treatment of the stray animals shall be humane and ensure the minimum level of care of the animal welfare. After all, it is not all their fault.
Read more:The Animal Law Resource Center provides the Model Law for stray dogs as the Act to Prevent Dogs from Running At Large;Lost and Found: Humane Societies' Rights and Obligations Regarding Companion Animal Ownership
For more questions and answers, please check the Q&A on Lost Pets by Christopher A. Berry here or Frequently Asked Questions on Local Dog Laws by Rebecca F. Wisch here.