Should you take that street puppy home?
Updated: Oct 25, 2021
You could be causing more harm than good!
We have seen several cases recently of well-meaning people taking street puppies home, keeping them for several months, not finding an adopter, and then threatening to dump the animal back on the street.
We know the scenario. You find a cute puppy on the street who looks to be all alone, or the puppy seems sick, and your empathy kicks in. You want to take her home, care for her until she's well then get her adopted into a loving home for life. Simple, right?
Not so fast. It's a sad fact that indie/mixed breed puppies rarely find homes and once puppies have adjusted to a home life THEY CANNOT GO BACK ON THE STREET and shelters will NOT take in homeless puppies.
So unless you are prepared to care for the puppy yourself for the rest of her LIFE if you don't find a home, or pay long-term boarding fees for LIFE, think twice before taking a puppy home. Abandonment of an animal back on the streets is a criminal offence.
Here's our advice:
1. A healthy puppy who seems to be alone may in fact just have wandered off a little way, or his mother may have gone off looking for food. Unless you watch that puppy for hours you won't really know if the puppy is lost/abandoned or not.
Our best advice in this situation is to keep an eye on the puppy and feed in place. If you do not live in the area, take a photo, record the location and post the details on Facebook groups or local whatsapp groups asking for a local volunteer to keep an eye on the pup and feed. If the mother is there, feed the mother as this will help her provide milk for her puppies.
2. Puppies suffering from mild skin infections, flea and tick infestations, and small wounds and injuries can be treated on the street itself and this should be your first option. Consult your local vet or NGO for a diagnosis and line of treatment and treat on-site.
3. Puppies suffering from more severe conditions such as parvovirus, distemper, tick fever, severe skin infections, broken bones, severe maggot wounds, accidents etc. will need treatment in a foster home or in a shelter. Foster homes are better than shelters due to the risk of infection in shelters.
4. If puppies receive treatment in a home or shelter, the puppies must be returned to the street where they were found AS SOON AS POSSIBLE preferably in a matter of DAYS. DO NOT keep the puppy for weeks and try not to allow the puppy to become accustomed to home comforts while recovering or they will NOT be able to adjust to the street again and it is very unfair to the puppy to get him used to home life and then be turned out.
5. If you wish to keep the puppy for longer and try to find an adopter remember that the puppy is now YOUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR LIFE if the puppy does not find a home. Finding a home for an indie/mixed breed is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. There are hundreds of street puppies at any one time looking for homes and only a small handful wanting to adopt. If you wish to try for the adoption of street puppies, it is best to leave the puppies on-site with their mothers while adopters are sought, rather than take them home, so that if no adopters are found they don't lose their survival skills.
Leaving the puppy at a shelter is not an option as shelters will NOT take in homeless puppies.
You CANNOT return the puppy back to the street after several weeks have passed as they will have lost their survival skills and in fact it constitutes the criminal offence of ABANDONMENT OF A PET. If you cannot find an adopter and cannot keep the puppy then you will have to pay for long-term boarding fees for the life of the animal. Long term boarding fees are typically around 5,000₹ a month. A dog will likely live for ten to fifteen years. That's a lifetime bill of 6-9 lakh!
6. The focus needs to be STERILISATION of the street dog population to reduce the amount of puppies being born in the first place. If you really want to help street animals your first priority should be getting the dogs in your area spayed/neutered.