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The Thin Line Between a Stray and a Stroll

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I’ve often wondered how my dog ended up in a shelter. She’s the kind of dog that makes you ask, “Who would ever give you up?” It’s clear that someone loved her enough to train her, and she has absolutely no fear of people or much of anything really (except for thunder, vacuums, and baths). But she came from Georgia, where dogs are just treated differently. Frankly, they’re allowed to behave more like dogs — roaming the countryside, following their noses, and coming home when it’s time to eat. So when I saw this story today I wondered, “Is this how Maybelle ended up on my couch?”

According to Life with Dogs:

Mitchell picked up a stray dog on the side of the road in Oxford last week. The dog was not wearing any form of identification, so she brought it home for the night.

She was arrested 24 hours later, and maintains that something needs to be done to modify state law.

After reading this I wondered just how far was the dog was picked up from its home. Was it really stray or lost, or was it just roaming it’s neighborhood? Earlier this year I found a dog sitting on my front steps. She was a big dog — the kind that would probably be labeled a pitt-mix — and extremely friendly but didn’t have a collar or tags on. I went outside and got her inside my dog pen and called Animal Control. (She was rather portly and well taken care of, but I didn’t know how far she’d wandered from home.) A few months later I saw her walking down the street with her owners and stopped them to chat. As it turned out, she lived just a few houses down the street. (I was new to the neighborhood.) She probably would have found her way home except she happened to see my dog sitting behind the screendoor and decided to come up and make friends. Now  that I know where she belongs, I’ll just take her home if she ever gets out of the yard again.

But in Connecticut, we don’t tend to let our dogs wander. In the south, they do tend roam, so how does one decide if a dog is stray or just going for a stroll? I mean, my cats roam my neighborhood and I’d be more than a little angry if someone scooped one up and claimed it  was stray. And part of me wonders if Maybelle just went out for a walk one day and suddenly found herself being shipped up to New England.

Still, it seems like arresting the woman who thought she was doing a good deed in this particular incident was a bad idea.


About TheresaMC

Basically, I'm a reader and a writer, just trying to negotiate the changing world of publishing.

2 responses »

  1. We live in a city where neither your dog or cat may be out unattended and both need to be licensed. Of course too many ignore the bylaw and sadly their pets may be picked up by well meaning folks or at worse, hit by vehicles. So many end up in a shelter unclaimed. It’s so sad. On my vets advice we keep our cats indoors, for us, this is peace of mind as they are safer and healthier. I’m sure that women was trying to help, hopefully it all works out in the end.

    • Here our laws about cats aren’t so strict. Animal Control will (generally) not pick up a cat unless it seems injured (one of my cats faked a limp to get himself taken in by AC — and that’s how I ended up adopting him), or has bitten/scratched someone and needs to be quarantined. In fact, when you find yourself with a stray cat on you hands, it can be more than a little hard to find a place to take it because shelters are overwhelmed.


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