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What to do with a 'stray' dog in New Mexico, USA
February 17, 2009 9:41 AM   Subscribe

What to do with a 'stray' dog in New Mexico, USA

This is probably a question only for those familiar with the cultures of northern NM/southern Colorado. We have a stray dog situation on our hands.We don't know if we should just let the dog be or take it to the rescue place to find it a home.

For the past 2 weeks a dog has been coming by the house. In Taos, New Mexico, where we live, dogs walking around by themselves is quite common (though we do not allows ours to do so) This one was different in that he will stay for a few hours, instead of a few minutes as with most dogs that come by. He likes to play with our dogs and just hang out.

He is a lab mix (with some larger breed), very friendly. He is not neutered.

In an effort to discover if he had a home or not, last time he was here, I put a collar on him and a tag with my cell #. Today he showed up with no collar. This tells me that he does have a home and they took the collar off, and that the home is likely someone native to this area. The hispanic/native culture of northern NM/southern Colorado treats dogs differently than anglo culture (such as it is ;) ). I guess if he were neutered, I would lean towards leaving him be.
posted by allelopath to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It sounds as if he lives nearby and just wants to hang with your dogs once in a while. If he is not being aggresive with your dogs, why do you not welcome him because he is unneutered? If one of your dogs is female, and unspayed, then when she was in heat there would be an issue( but then only in the last few days of heat when she is receptive), but there would be an issue with other dogs coming around, as well.
posted by newpotato at 10:32 AM on February 17, 2009


We are glad to have him around, he's a nice dog.
There are no problems with my dogs as they are all neutered/spayed.
I see it as irresponsible to let an intact male dog roam around producing more dogs.
This is one of the culture differences I refer to.
posted by allelopath at 10:38 AM on February 17, 2009


I would get him neutered (low cost?) and let him go where he's gonna go. Recovery time is nothing, and he could just go back to his routine. I lived in Phoenix and it drove me crazy how people were so irresponsible with their pets. It is a function of culture. I worked in a vet clinic there, and the reason that most would not neuter their pets was because it would make him less of a boy dog or something to that effect.

Neuters aren't that expensive. Look at it as a small contribution to a spay/neuter program.
posted by bolognius maximus at 10:59 AM on February 17, 2009


You assume that an owner took the collar off. You don't know that for sure. Many dogs are good at getting their collars off very easily.

You also do not know if this dog is up to date on his vaccinations. If he is roaming about, he has a higher chance of being exposed to diseases, such as rabies, than your dogs. While this risk is lower in the winter, the weather will be turning soon and the foxes, bats, raccoons, and other wild life in your area are going to become more active.

Personally, if I didn't know who owned him, I'd either confine him to my yard and put up posters for a few days. If no one calls, I'd either keep him and get him fully vaccinated or I'd turn him over to a rescue org. If you decide to keep him for a few days, you could also check with Animal Control to see if anyone filed a lost dog report.
posted by onhazier at 11:32 AM on February 17, 2009


I have family around the same area. I understand the culture differences you're referring to. One of the nice things is that if he is really someone's dog and he disappears for a bit they might not notice or care that much**. Take him to the vet, get him neutered and some shots, and let him decide whether he wants to hang at your place or his previous place. Why not? Or else you could adopt him by starting to feed him.

** This is my experience and mean no disrespect for the people of northern NM.
posted by miss tea at 1:32 PM on February 17, 2009


You don´t mention feeding him, or that he looks to be a mangy starving to death dog. I´m sure he has some people who consider themselves to be his owners.

I see it as irresponsible to let an intact male dog roam around producing more dogs.


I wouldn´t follow miss tea´s advice, as they might have kept the collar with your name and phone number and will probably not exactly be jumping for joy when they see their dog has been fixed.

My experiences in small-town NM have led me to believe that it´s irresponsible to let your dog roam around assaulting bicyclists, pedestrians, and small children. This dog won´t produce any more dogs unless he runs across a female dog whose owners haven´t bothered with neutering, unfortunately this is all too common.

I don´t know anything about rescue places in Taos, but in Albuquerque most of the dogs that go to the pound die. I wouldn´t send a peaceful animal that probably has an owner there. In Albuquerque, if the owner does pick up their dog (and they don´t have that long to do so, only a few days), they are required to have the dog chipped, fixed, and licensed. That´s city or county law though, so probably different there.

Having only had to deal with the problem of aggressive stray dogs, I´m not really sure why you see this as a problem for you to fix. It would be good if the owners had their dog fixed, but I don´t think taking their dog away or having fixed without their permission is a good solution. It would be best to talk with the owners about it, but you don´t seem to know who they are.

It´s an unfortunate situation, but it sounds like the dog is happy and healthy. I´d leave him be. What I really hate to see is the dogs on chains that aren´t taken care of, I´ve had a few friends who worked in vet offices and some dogs that had suffered extreme neglect.

Your local non-govt animal shelter
(you might ask if they are no-kill, and if they transfer animals to a kill shelter)
Taos Co. animal control
Taos Co. animal control ordinance (long PDF)
posted by yohko at 8:28 PM on February 17, 2009


where we live, dogs walking around by themselves is quite common ... This one was different in that he will stay for a few hours

A serious question, as I feel like I´m missing something from your post: Why are you considering taking the friendly dog to the rescue place, but not other dogs you see? What about this dog makes it something you need to figure out how to deal with? (I´m assuming many of the other dogs are also not fixed)
posted by yohko at 8:32 PM on February 17, 2009


>>Why are you considering taking the friendly dog to the rescue place, but not other dogs you see? What about this dog makes it something you need to figure out how to deal with?
Because the other dogs that come by don't stay for long or we know where they live.
Like I said, this one seemed different somehow.

I have no worries about this dog attacking anyone. He is really friendly.
I do worry about any of these dogs getting hit by a car or shot by landowners (it happens out here, just last week in fact)

He does seem to be in good health. We offer him food, and he usually eats heartily, but that might just be the Lab in him.

I think we are going to let him be, at least for now.
The most action I might take at the moment is to take him to the vet and get him shots. Pretty likely he hasn't had them.

Stray Hearts, which is linked to in the replies, is not "no-kill". They kill about 10% of the animals they receive. They have been the center of some controversy recently

Thanks for the responses.
posted by allelopath at 1:52 PM on February 19, 2009


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