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World Stray Animals Day: What to do when you find an abandoned animal

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

On April 4th, we celebrate World Stray Animals Day. This date was created by Dutch non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and, despite not being an official date, many worldwide organizations embraced it. The aim is to raise consciousness about abandonment and the cruel conditions that stray animals have to deal with.

According to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), just in Brazil, about 30 million animals are living on the streets. So, around the world, millions of pets are facing this reality. Being homeless means being subjected to hunger, cold, violence, diseases, and a lack of love and care.

The importance of World Stray Animals Day is undeniable. Besides that, it is a date that all of us should use to reflect on our role in improving this scenario. So, what can we do — not just today — to help stray animals? Her Campus Casper Libero gives you some ideas:

  • Donate to non-governmental organizations that focus both on rehabilitation and on the process of adopting animals;
  • If you are looking for a new pet buddy, adopt;
  • Provide food and water to stray animals;
  • Be a responsible guardian;
  • Report cases of violence.

However, it is also important to be aware of our position in case of finding an abandoned animal!

The non-governmental organization Amor em Patas Institute affirms that animal rescue is a complex topic and takes time and appropriate knowledge. But it is important to understand that everyone can do their part and the NGOs are just a piece of the support network that attends to the animals’ immediate needs.

An IAPA representative recommends that if “You are the one who found the animal and activated NGOs and independent protectors to the rescue, and they do not return you, then evaluate to be a temporary home to this animal until some of these agents help you on the adoption process”.

The Institute also highlights the importance of reporting cases of violence. When you find an animal in this situation, it is important to know who is the aggressor — and, then, make a complaint to competent institutions. Also, the institute informs that denunciations of abandonment and violence are legitimized by the Art. 32 of the Federal Law nº 9605, by the Brazilian Federal Constitution from 1988, and by article 164 of the Penal Code, besides municipal laws that can change according to the municipality.

For the animals that need medical care, you can take them to a public veterinary hospital or to a zoonosis control center — that are departments that work to control the spread of diseases, such as rabies, leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, histoplasmosis, and leishmaniasis, working on the vaccination and the appropriated care. You can also seek trustworthy professionals who can help with the rehabilitation process of the animals.

The IAPA representative also stated: “The most important thing is to know that the fragile animals are a collective social responsibility. The NGOs are always overloaded, therefore everyone needs to make all the possible efforts to help the furry ones.”

The Amor em Patas Institute, IAPA

One of the main flags raised by Amor em Patas Institute is that the animal cause is a social cause. Therefore, besides working directly with the animals, the institute promotes awareness and social mobilization of the true importance of good, lovely, and dignified caring. Located in São Paulo, from the rescue to rehabilitation, the IAPA works tirelessly to protect animals and goes through the reception and adoption process.

For rescues, after being contacted by social media or email, they screen the cases according to strict criteria, focused on understanding the available resources to the case, the available vacancies at the NGO, the severity of the animal’s condition, and a veterinarian hospital for the service. After this process, they promote all the necessary care and temporary homes, in partnership with three veterinarian hospitals. When the animal arrives at the IAPA’s care, the main objective is health recovery.

Being healthy and able to socialize it’s the goal, and it starts by understanding the traumas and socializing with people and other animals. This proceeding can be very challenging, but it is essential to make them feel safe. Until the IAPA finds a family — by the adoption process — the rescued stray animals stay at shelters, paid temporary homes, and solidarity temporary homes.

To maintain its activities, the NGO relies on voluntary work in different steps of their work. If you want to be part of the IAPA volunteer community, you can contact them and fill out a form. Donations of any kind are also very important! For more information, access their website.

A rescue experience: Fernanda Gomes

The lawyer Fernanda Gomes loves animals. She has had the company of pet buddies for 21 years, throughout her adulthood. She acted in the rescue and caring of abandoned cats and dogs that were left near her house or that she found on the streets. Fernanda stated: “I don’t consider myself as a protector of animals, but a person who loves them! And who loves will always be linked to this cause in one way or another”.

When she finds an abandoned animal, her actions depend on the time and place that she is in, besides the health state that the animal is in. Fernanda said that in cases where the rescued animal is sick, she takes care of them until the full rehabilitation. One of these animals stayed with her and four got adopted. Unfortunately, despite all the cost and efforts, she couldn’t save the other four animals after the rescue.

For her, every time that she has helped an animal was a milestone in her life. Once, seven cats were left on her door, in a very serious situation of malnutrition. At that time, she had to stop her post-graduation to focus on their care and needs. Four of them were saved from that situation, and their adoptions were a very emotional process for her.

She recommended that, in case of finding loose animals in the streets, sharing pictures of them and their conditions on social media and in the neighborhood is the best option because you don’t know for sure if it is a stray animal or a lost one. Also, provide water and food — and, if you can, welcome them temporarily or permanently. In case you can’t find the owner and can’t be family to these pets, spread to other people that he needs a family: “There may be someone nearby who can do something more”.

So, both the tips from IAPA and Fernanda’s experiences can help us have an idea of what to do in case of finding an abandoned animal. Use this World Stray Animals Day to reflect on the stray animals’ reality and what you can do to help them and their cause!

The article above was edited by Júlia Pupo Mucha Fagá.

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Isabela Munhoz da Luz

Casper Libero '25

A journalism student, who loves writing and telling stories. I also believe that we can change the world with words and information :)