Spring fever could lead pets astray

A reminder to keep your furry friends safe during the warmer months.

  • Apr. 5, 2011 7:00 p.m.

What doesn’t an animal love about spring?

Warm weather, new friends to make and lots of exercise to be had. Unfortunately, all the excitement of the new season can lead to one’s cat, dog, or other pet running away.

A number of animals (mostly cats) go missing in the valley every spring. Last year, ICAN deemed that animals lost and not returned were likely taken by predators, as there is a higher risk of pets being hunted by wild animals during the warmer months.

This is not just a missing cat issue, it also applies to rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, and small dogs.

Predators that could threaten these animals are coyotes, cougars, eagles and owls. These wild animals can live and hunt right in town, or may venture in from surrounding areas to find food.

“Once we learn of a pet that’s gone missing, we go out to look for it if the guardian wants us to,” said Lana Banham, president of ICAN. “We’ve gone out in the woods to look before, even.”

In the case with cats, felines can usually find their way back home 35 per cent of the time if they go astray outdoors.

“It’s spring fever, people start letting their dogs out, don’t fence them in or don’t leash them,” said District of Invermere dog control officer Carol Dobson. “If they phone me, I’ll ask the usual questions and then I’ll start my search if it’s feasible. Licenses for dogs from the district are always good to have, or any kind of identification.”

It is suggested that owners keep a close eye on their animal companions while they are enjoying the outdoors, or spend time outside with them. Walking pets with a leash or harness, or building a safe enclosure for them to enjoy the outdoors is also highly recommended to prevent pets from running away.

Spaying and neutering your pet can also help, as it lessens their need to wander off in search of a mate.

If your pet has gone missing, contact your local dog control officer at 250-342-1707 (District of Invermere), 250-347-9793 (Regional District) or ICAN at 250-341-7888 and through email at info@icanhelpapet.com. ICAN can immediately post a photo and a detailed description of the missing pet on their website (www.icanhelpapet.com).

ICAN will also be holding an adoption event on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and are also seeking gently-used items for their 4th annual garage sale. For more information, contact ICAN at 250-341-7888.