So many times people do nothing because they don’t have the knowledge, money or resources to help a pet in need.  We have tried to provide you with as much information as possible in hopes that you will be equipped with all things necessary to do the right thing.  In case we missed something, here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:

What should I do if I see an animal locked in a car on a hot day? If you can’t immediately locate the owner, dial 911 and report it to the police.  Please remain at the scene so that you can direct the officer to the pet in need.

How do I find out if a lost or found pet has a microchip? Take them to your local veterinarian or shelter and ask them to scan the pet for a microchip.  This procedure should only take minutes and you should not be charged.

What is a microchip and where can I get one for my pet? A microchip can be purchased at your veterinarian’s office.  The veterinarian will simply inject a microchip, about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot and takes only a few seconds.  If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code.  This number will then be used to identify the pet and contact you. 

My neighbor has moved and left their pets behind.  What do I do? Call your local police department to file a report.  They should then contact the animal control officer who will follow up accordingly.

I have seen a pet that is not being provided with food, water or shelter on a daily basis.  What can I do to help the animal? If you feel comfortable enough to do so, please approach the owner to offer assistance.  If that’s not possible, please report this to your local police department by calling their non-emergency number.  You may also contact your local humane shelter or animal control officer to see if there is a cruelty officer that may be able to assist.

I am moving and can’t take my pets with me.  What do I do? Please take the time to try to rehome them with a responsible friend or relative first.  If that is not possible, there are many reputable rescue groups and/or shelters that may be able to assist.  Our website has provided you with information regarding shelters and how to find a reputable rescue on our Animal Control/Shelter and Rescues pages.

What’s the difference between spaying and neutering? Spaying is for females and neutering is for the boys!

My cat is in heat and is driving me crazy! Cats can have as many as 10 litters per year and their first can be born at 4 months of age. Therefore, it is important that you get her spayed as soon as possible!  Please see the Spay/Neuter section on this website to get help getting it done.

What is the earliest age in which I can get my pet spayed or neutered? Depending on which veterinarian you choose to use, they can be altered as early as 3 months and should be done no later than 6 months of age unless your veterinarian tells you otherwise.

I’ve been told that my female dogs and cats should have one heat cycle before they are spayed.  Is that true?   No!

What are heartworms and how can my dog or cat get them? Heartworms are transmitted from the bite of a mosquito and are not contagious from dog to dog.  The worms mature and grow in the dog’s bloodstream and the adults live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of the infected animal.  If left untreated, heartworm disease will progress and damage the dog’s heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, eventually causing death.

Please speak to your veterinarian about starting your dog on a monthly heartworm preventative.  They will conduct a simple blood test to see if your dog is infected. The treatment for heartworms is difficult on the dog and expensive, so prevention is the best medicine.

Cats are not as susceptible to heartworm infection as dogs.  The disease, for cats, is a bit different.  More information is provided in this link:

How many pets end up in Alabama shelters every year?  Approximately 120,000 pets are surrendered in our state every single year.  Also, a pet is euthanized in the United States approximately every 11 seconds due to overpopulation.  This is why spaying and neutering your pets is necessary to prevent unwanted litters.

I would like to make a donation to a local animal charity but only if I can get a tax receipt to go with it.  How do I find a good one to support? is a wonderful resource for finding 501(c)(3)  organizations that should be able to give you a legitimate tax receipt to turn in.  It is important to note that the term “non-profit” does not mean that your donation is tax deductible.  Only IRS approved 501(c)(3) organizations are able to provide you with a tax receipt that you may use when filing your taxes.

I have homeless cats in my neighborhood and I don’t know what to do about them.  These cats are either strays or feral cats and they are able to survive in outside environments much easier than dogs in that they are very resourceful when it comes to finding proper shelter and water.  They do, however, need help in finding food and they also need to be spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters.  As stated above, cats are able to have as many as 10 litters per year so it’s important to have them fixed as soon as possible!   TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) is essential in assisting these cats.  Please follow this LINK to learn how to help your cat colony.

Is surprising someone with a new pet a good idea?  Sorry but it’s probably not unless you’ve really done your research and thought it through.  Can the person afford another mouth to feed?  Can they afford all costs related to the pet’s medical needs, including spay or neuter, if not already done?  How much time do they spend at home?  Is their home pet friendly?  Will the pet’s personality match their lifestyle?  What will happen to the pet if things don’t work out?    Answer all of those questions and then make your decision.

What is the best form of identification to have on a pet?   According to Alabama law, your pet’s current rabies tag is to be worn at all times.  An additional tag with your contact number is also suggested.  Another recommendation is to either write your pet’s name and your number on it’s collar in permanent marker or to have that information engraved or embroidered onto a collar.  Also, microchipping is always a safe bet in that it can’t fall off or be removed.  Your vet can explain this simple procedure to you.

I often see roaming animals on the side of the road and I never know what to do.  Determine what city and county you are in, then use our Animal Control/Shelters section on this website to call the appropriate agency in that area.  You can also refer to our Lost and Found section for useful tools to try to locate the pet’s owner.