Thursday, May 5, 2016

Keeping Squirrels Safe

Owl hit by car

This post has a somewhat random title, I know, but its message is really quite relevant. Every day, I see animals that have been run over and hit in the road, and it breaks my heart to know that people have just left them there to die.  It's particularly traumatizing in neighborhoods, where people should be driving cautiously but somehow have managed to hit everything from squirrels to kittens. Driving safely is incredibly important not only for us humans but also for those around us.  So many animals could be saved if we were more conscious while driving.  And those that have been hit could be saved if people took the time to learn about wildlife rescue resources.  My mum witnessed a very upsetting incident yesterday that involved a squirrel being injured by a minivan, and it's so important that people be aware of wildlife rescue services in their area so that injured animals can get help and be rehabilitated.  Keep your local wildlife rescue service's phone number in your wallet so you can use it whenever you need to, and check out PETA's guide to helping animals hit by cars:

If you ever see an animal lying on the side of the road, don’t assume that he or she is dead! Here’s what you should do:

Remain calm. Be sure to note your exact location, including the closest mile marker if you’re on a highway.

If it’s safe to do so, immediately and carefully pull over and put your hazard lights on. Be extremely cautious and aware of the traffic around you.

Always be cautious when stopping to check on an animal lying on or near the road.
Always be cautious when stopping to check on an animal lying on or near the road.

Determine if the animal is dead or alive.

Is the animal stiff? This would mean that he or she has been dead for some time.
Is the animal breathing? With furry animals, the wind can fool you, so look carefully. Observe the animal’s chest and abdominal area for movement. If an animal is still warm to the touch but you can’t see him or her breathing or any other movement,  gently pinch a back toe to see if the animal pulls away. If safe to do so, you can also gently position your finger against the corner of the animal’s eye to see if he or she blinks.

Do not attempt to move injured animals without assistance from a trained individual. Some animals could be rabid, putting you in danger—and many animals, including dogs and cats, are more likely to bite if they’re in pain or frightened.

Dog Hit By Car Collage
An animal control officer picked up this dog after she was hit by a car and injured.

If you think an animal might still be alive or if you see an animal run away after being hit, call your local animal-control agency or police dispatch. If you can’t reach a live person, call 911. Calmly state your emergency:

I’ve just found an injured animal who has been hit (state your location) and is still alive. This animal is suffering badly and needs help. Can you please send an animal-control officer right away? I’m pulled over in a (describe the make and model of the car you’re in) and will stay with the animal until help arrives.

Most importantly, do not leave the animal. What if the officer can’t find him or her? Or what if the officer never shows up, and the animal is left to suffer? Stay with the animal until a professional arrives. 

Foxes, raccoons, deer, and other wild animals deserve to be free from suffering, just as the animals we share our homes with do. If you couldn’t imagine your injured dog or cat lying helpless on the side of the road, please show compassion to other animals by stopping to check on them.This deer was hit by a car and badly injured. If you see any injured animals on or near the road, be sure to call animal control and wait near the animal until help arrives.
Owl hit by car
Obviously, it's important to stay safe, so remember not to touch animals because they may be rabid.  But don't just leave them there, either. Do your best to get them the help they need.  It'll make the world a better place!

<3 Frances

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