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Here's one for the ethicists... found dog

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  • Here's one for the ethicists... found dog

    About a week ago, a friend brought over a skinny miserable starving dog he found near his house. No collar. It is a tiny mini dachshund. Young but not a baby. Has grown up teeth. It is adorable and I will keep it if I cannot find its owner. That is my dilemna ... I have looked on Craigslist, petfinders, and all the websites for lost dogs. No "lost" ads that fit my pup. I am going to take her to vet and make sure there is no microchip. I think you can feel them at the withers, right? Other than this, how much more do I have to do? The longer I have her, the more attached I am getting.

    I am updating this to try to ward off some of the hostile nasty replies I am getting. Thank you to those who gave good advice, and especially to the person who noted that not all persons are computer literate enough to use on-line resources. In light of the hostility here, I do not feel a need to list all the additional measures I have taken to see if this dog has an owner. I will only get criticized for not doing more or not doing things faster. It was in heat when I got it, and it needs to go back to the vet to make sure it is not pregnant, and to get spayed. I have already had it heartworm tested, and got it HW meds. It is not housebroken, and I am investing the time to train it. I have decided I can ethically do those things even though it is not my dog, and I hope I do not hear that it "just might be a champion and I have no right to abort her valuable babies". Honestly that is the sort of replies I am getting.

    I realize my original post did sound blase about finding an owner, but I believed that if there were an owner, I would see some sort of effort. Some sort of "lost" posting, but there had been nothing. I also admit that I am a bit callous. "Lost" dogs around here are either dumped or belong to adjoining ranches who do not care for them. A collarless poor-condition unspayed unhousebroken unchipped dog does not spell out "find my owner" to me. She would probably not have survived another night in the sub-freezing cold spell when she was found.

    I have lived in this area almost 20 years, and have done my share of trying to find homes. If they wander around long enough, they are shot or poisoned by the goat farmers. I know of ranchers around here who openly proclaim that they will shoot any dog on their property. A good friend had her dog poisoned. I find the whole goat ranching business appalling (they are too small to defend themselves), but I have seen pictures of a field full of dead and dying goats eviscerated by dog packs. You had better believe I keep an eagle eye on my own dogs. Their collars with tags (now both an ID and a chip tag) are never off. Each collar is adjusted so it can slip off if they need it to. They are bright red, and I make sure the neighbors know who my dogs are. Whatever happy endings I recall were for dogs with collars and tags.

    My heart goes out to the person with the GP who is lost. I wish the little dog I have was hers. I hope she finds it. One difference between her an my situation is that I'm sure I would see or hear of her efforts by now. Years ago, there was a magnificant GP living feral in the woods behind my back pasture. I would see him once in a while in the distance like a ghost. He belonged to a neighbor who said she "couldn't catch him". That is the sort of "lost dog" situation that happens around here.

    Oh yeah, I this little dog microchipped when I had her scanned. I have not sent the papers in yet and if an owner shows up, they can do so. I think I am within suitable ethics to do so, but I am sure I will hear otherwise. The main thing I am getting out of this experience (other than nastiness) is that it is simple and easy to microchip your dog. You get a bright yellow tag that shouts out "I have an owner who wants me back". The other overlying message seems to be that dog overpopulation is a huge problem. Look up a rescue for your breed. There will be hundreds. Both the "pets" and "lost and found" sections of craigslist are long and active (and full of the usual CL nuts). Cute litte Shozti goes in heat or starts yipping or is difficult to housetrain, and she gets ousted.

    Another tip for people who lose dogs in rural areas. Teach your dog to "speak". I taught my corgi that as mostly a trick because she was always going into stalls to eat poop and getting shut in. Saved her life when a neighbor put out havaheart traps for coons. I could not find her and as I searched I yelled "speak" "speak". Heard her from at least 1/2 mile away and found her in a trap.
    Last edited by ToTheNines; Feb. 7, 2010, 10:51 AM.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

  • #2
    I can not imagine having a stray dog for a week and it has not been scanned to see if it has a chip or not. Read the thread here about a COTH member who has been looking for her dog all this time. Why are you waiting?

    If you are using miserable and starving as your excuse remember that if the dog ran off and has been missing for a time it could get miserable and starving even if it did not start that way.

    A scared loose dog can run a lot further than we like to think they can. So make sure you are contacting the agencies in your surrounding areas also.

    All three of my dogs have chips and I can not feel any of them. On a tiny dog I do not know since none of mine are tiny. But I would not assume that since you can not feel it there is no chip there.


    • #3
      I say no chip, no ads, he's yours, and VERY lucky!!!
      Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
      The Barkalicious Bakery
      On Facebook!!!


      • Original Poster

        That is part of my question, I read that you can feel a chip at the withers, and it seems like you should be able to on a dog that small and thin skinned. It is the size of a grain of rice. Also, she was weak and starving. I will take her to the vet in a day or two when she is stronger.
        Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


        • #5
          Have you called your local shelter to report a found dog? Why do you have to wait until she is stronger to take her to the vet? If she was s bad off that you think she needs her strength back before going anywhere, then a vet would have been my first stop.

          You can't always feel microchips. Also, a good percentage of people (especially little old ladies who often own that breed of dog) don't know how to post online, so they call or visit the local shelter.

          I know you feel like you're doing best for this little dog, but by not looking for a microchip or calling your shelter, you're doing the potential owner a disservice.


          • #6
            You need to call the shelters in the area, and any local vets. Take her in ASAP for a micro chip scan- you can't always feel it. If no one knows anything about her, and you don't get any calls back from the shelters in the next few weeks- you probably have a new dog.


            • #7
              The dog does not have to be strong to be scanned....Call the shelter, call the vet, and find out.

              Try thinking about the shoe being on the other foot. What if you lost your dog? How would you feel if someone was harboring it and refusing to do their due diligence to find its owner. Checking out CL and Petfinder are not enough.


              • #8
                Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
                That is part of my question, I read that you can feel a chip at the withers, and it seems like you should be able to on a dog that small and thin skinned. It is the size of a grain of rice. Also, she was weak and starving. I will take her to the vet in a day or two when she is stronger.

                LOL, you are supposed to take a dog to the vet when he's weak and starved, just to make sure that groceries is all you need.

                While the chips are rather larger, they can also wander a bit, so squishing around on a dog's neck would not me conclusive I'd think.

                Considering the tards in my area, I would not be surprised if dog was thrown out once puppy hood was over and the novelty wore off, or the incoming adult teeth lay waste to some 'precious' possessions.


                • #9
                  My found dog story

                  I had a situation last year that brought up some ethical questions. In that case, I found a nervous, emaciated dog in the road. I rang a couple of local doorbells and was told that the dog had been hanging around for a while, so I took her with me and gave her to this fabulous woman I knew. She took her straight to the vet and had her doctored (treated for worms and diarrhea) while I called the pound to ask whether she'd been reported as lost. The vet found a microchip that identified her address as RIGHT where I'd found her (a door I'd actually knocked at, but with no answer).

                  After agonizing for a day or so about what to do, my friend and I agreed that I would call the number on the microchip and find out the story. Was the dog neglected, starving, and left loose as a matter of course, or had she been lost in the wilds of somewhere else and made her way back home to her beloved masters just that morning??

                  I made the call, and framed it as, "we found this dog, we LOVE this dog, we can guarantee this dog a safe forever home if by any chance you don't want her, but we learned today that she belongs to you." They, it turns out, didn't give a $#!T about the dog one way or another and they were even so kind as to meet my friend and sign her microchip paperwork to transfer the file to new ownership.

                  I think my friend would have always lived with the twin fears of, "what if I've stolen someone's beloved dog?" and, "what if this dog is microchipped in the name of bad people—and what if she gets lost and is returned not to me, but to THEM?" had she not had the scan.

                  I would go ahead and prepare yourself to have a frank conversation with your little dog's owners if there IS a microchip. Just say that if there's any chance this dog will not be cherished in it's legal home, you would be more than happy to assume ownership. Don't accuse or blame, but just state your willingness to keep the foundling.

                  Otherwise, I believe that in our area the legal obligation is to notify the animal shelter, allow them to conduct a free scan for a microchip, and wait 30 days for owner claims. After that, the dog is yours.

                  Good luck with whatever shakes down . . .
                  My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                  Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives


                  • #10
                    My dogs ahve always been chipped. They're not always easy to find/feel by hand. Some wander, some just aren't easy to feel.
                    If you call the vet they'll most likely scan the dog for free, takes 2 seconds. But I would have a severely emaciated dog looked at anyways...just a wellness exam to see if any blood tests are warrented that might be a secondary reason for it's condition.
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!


                    • #11
                      My little guy was adopted from the local shelter, he had come in as a stray. He is now not only chipped, but he also wears a collar with the Home Again tag AND a brass tag with his name and my phone #, because he is a serial escapee. He was quite skinny when we first brought him home, but I would have been heartbroken if in those early days, before we learned how talened a jumper he was, he had gotten off and not been returned to me by someone who just saw a skinny stray with no collar and assumed he was neglected. There were actually quite a few phone calls from home again about a month after his arrival, because he was new to us so the neighbors didn't know who he belonged to.

                      Now that I've had him for a bit, and know how prone he is to running off when he has a chance, I often wonder if his former owner is still mourning the loss of this wonderful little guy. I can even understand why he was so skinny, as he's a picky eater and will not eat when he's alone and confined.

                      OP, please take your pup to the vet or shelter and have it scanned.
                      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                      Witherun Farm


                      • #12
                        A lost dog may not be a dumped dog. Maybe someone was house sitting, maybe the owner died...who knows...it could've been thin because it's been lost for so long.

                        You call the animal shelter/AC (most places require this by law!), you call local veterinarians, you put an ad in the paper (it's free in most places when you find a pet), you put up signs in your area.

                        It may well be a much loved and missed companion!

                        And no, you can't always feel a chip.

                        And yes, they sometimes migrate.

                        And no, not all chips can be read by the same reader so unless someone has a universal reader, that's no guarantee.

                        Look...please make every effort to find the dog's owner.

                        A few years ago, I was new to the area. I had let my dog out to pee and he didn't come back which was really odd. I called friends/coworkers. Had 30 people out canvassing the area, whistling, door knocking, calling my dog's name. I slept by the sliding door with it open all night...in DECEMBER.

                        No dog.

                        I called the sheriff's dept, AC, every vet in town, he had a collar and tags on him and everything.

                        Two days later as I left my driveway on my way to work, I saw in the distance a woman walking a dog. It was MY DOG.

                        I drove over. And the gal said, "Oh, are you sure we can't keep him? He's so great with the kids, blah blah blah"

                        Yeah. Her kids had been out the night my dog disappeared...eating pizza on the back porch. They took him in to their house. She acknowledged that he had been whining and crying to get out...that she heard people hollering and whistling. She admitted she'd seen my signs out. She admitted she hadn't reported it to the authorities. SHE WANTED MY DOG. And she continued to ask if I was sure I wanted him. HELL YES I WANTED MY DOG BACK.

                        It was freaking creepy.
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                        • #13
                          Sorry, I do my best to not write strongly worded messages on here - but WTF??? Why do you even think this is an ethical question? However attached you may be getting, she is not (yet) your dog to get attached to.

                          Do your best to find the owner. Yes that owner may not care, may have neglected the dog etc - but the outcome will surely be that you at worst pay a few bucks and keep the dog.

                          On the other hand there may be a sobbing child or distraught house-sitter, relative etc who had been caring for the dog in the owner's absence. Dachshund's may be small and cute but they are hunting dogs, she could easily have strayed. A caring owner will be having all sorts of scenarios running through their head, imagining their puppy hit by a car; imagining her stolen (which she has been if you want the ethical discussion..), imagining her not being loved; imagining her trapped somewhere; imagining her in a fight with a bigger, stronger dog.

                          Do the right thing. Your friend who brought the dog to you didn't. It's your turn to make amends. Be selfish about eating candy - not about a living creature. There may be someone devastated about losing her.

                          Sorry if this comes across as harsh - but just read some of the heartbreaking threads on here of people who loved their dogs very, very much and have lost them.

                          Oh, and as many people have said, you can't feel a chip - and if she has been so abused surely she needs worming and medical attention. Surely if you are a responsible, caring person you'd make sure she has all the vaccinations a puppy her age should have that her uncaring previous owners didn't give her - without them you'll kill her anyway by exposing her to fatal viruses.

                          I'm sorry, I should probably delete this, it is by far the strongest worded thread I've ever written, but I just can't rationalise your thought process at all; all I can see is someone saying they're responsible and being anything but.


                          • #14
                            It can be heartbreaking to lose a dog so you do need to see if someone is looking for it.

                            That said, sometimes people do just discard animals . I found a siamese cat living at an apartment complex many years ago. When I finally was able to tempt her (with food) into being caught I discovered she'd been declawed front and back.

                            I posted some signs and got a call right away. Yeah, some guy said. It was my mother's cat and she didn't want it any more so she let it outside .

                            If this dog gets claimed there are so many dogs who DO need good homes. Get thee to a shelter! Both my dogs came from a local shelter and they are great (My westie was picked up by the dog control officer who brought him to a no-kill shelter. The shelter located his "family." They didn't want him because he would run out the front door and when he got picked up, cost them $$ in fines. Pure bred Westie! He was a year old and hadn't been neutered. that was 9 years ago and he's been a really great family dog for us since them!)
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                            • #15
                              When I used to rescue dogs (by paying the "buy" fee at the animal shelter), I would put a "found" ad in our newspaper (free). There are people here who still would NOT think to call the shelter to ask if their dog had been picked up by them or found by a private person and reported.

                              I would put a general description, "Found, Doberman" or "Found, Sheltie" and then leave it up to the caller to tell me the color, sex, fixed or not, and any other identifying thing.

                              The only dog I can remember getting a call about was my red Doberman, Garnet. He had a tattoo (which I mentioned in the ad). Someone called (not the owner) wondering what king of tattoo a dog would have (think "Mom" or "Biker"). He wasn't the owner, just curious. Garnet's tattoo was actually a 3-digit number.

                              Garnet was starved and totally unsocialized when I "adopted" him. I have a feeling that someone was simply tired of him and let him loose. Thank God, the good Samaritans who saw him running loose on the highway stopped, coaxed him into their car, and took him to the animal shelter.

                              Good luck on the little guy. I hope it works out for the best for all.
                              "Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt


                              • #16
                                I wouldn't wait to take the pup to the vet. She needs medical attention now if she is weak and undernourished.

                                She could have a whole lot of things - Giardia, coccidia, parvo etc. - that will get worse if not treated and could kill her.

                                I used to pull pups from our local shelters for border collie rescue, and I have seen little pups with not much in reserve go down really fast. Like, overnight.

                                Not trying to be an alarmist. But really, she needs to see a vet immediately.
                                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                                • #17
                                  Someone on another BB found a pitbull. Scars around the face, back end full of scars and open wounds, lame behind, ears cut with scissors.

                                  She did the good thing and looked for the owners.

                                  Found the owners who picked the dog up. Said that it had gotten loose off its chain (where it LIVES FULL TIME). The injuries were from being attacked by another dog on the property several times.

                                  Dog finder offered to purchase the dog, but the owners declined and said they planned to breed her so she could buy a puppy.


                                  • #18
                                    OP, please tell us you are off doing the right thing and getting this dog scanned, posting photos, calling the local shelters, and generally trying to help this dog find its home. Right?

                                    You don't actually have an ethical dilemma. You are just getting attached to a dog that you KNOW isn't yet yours to get attached to. Right? Right?

                                    If unclaimed, you may claim her. But not yet.
                                    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                                    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                      Someone on another BB found a pitbull. Scars around the face, back end full of scars and open wounds, lame behind, ears cut with scissors.

                                      She did the good thing and looked for the owners.

                                      Found the owners who picked the dog up. Said that it had gotten loose off its chain (where it LIVES FULL TIME). The injuries were from being attacked by another dog on the property several times.

                                      Dog finder offered to purchase the dog, but the owners declined and said they planned to breed her so she could buy a puppy.

                                      Sicko I say!


                                      Rerider/Haydunker Clique

                                      RIP Barbaro, you were my hero!


                                      • #20
                                        My Boston Terrier got out of his (fenced) back yard got spooked and was gone for 3 days. WE searched high and low, and did EVERYTHING right(postered, walked, called) He wasnt returned till someone who had him (in their house) called the local shelter and reported him. Yes, they wanted to keep him, and would have, except that he was on file. I went down immediately confirmed it was him and gave them 100$ for doing the right thing. Make the call.