3 Animal Services Safety Tips

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Animal Services Safety Tips for Rancho Cordova Residents and Animals

The City recently released three public service announcements relating to animal services to help protect animals and residents in Rancho Cordova and educate the community.

The City of Rancho Cordova has highly trained Animal Services Officers who provide field services, such as response to stray or lost animals, barking dogs, loose aggressive and dangerous dogs, injured animals, deceased animal removal, investigation of animal cruelty, and public education. 

If you need Animal Services, call (916) 851-8852. For emergencies involving immediate threats to public safety, call 911.

Protect Pets from Heat, At Home and On the Go

During summer and early fall months, the Sacramento region experiences extremely hot weather, which can be uncomfortable, and dangerous for pets. As we experience triple-digit temperatures, the City of Rancho Cordova reminds residents to take special care to avoid the health impacts that extreme heat has on pets.

  1. Never leave your pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. For example: On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature may reach 120 degrees. Pets may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see a pet left inside a hot car, please call Rancho Cordova Animal Services at (916) 851-8852 or the Police Department at (916) 362-5115. In situations in which the animal requires immediate response, citizens may take action to rescue the animal in accordance with California Penal Code Section 597.7 after making contact with the proper authorities.
  2. Walking your dog on a hot day can have painful consequences. Asphalt and cement get very hot during summer months and can burn your dog’s paws. Avoid this problem by walking your dog in the early morning or evening hours, or, if possible, walk your dog on grass. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.
  3. At home, keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, mat, or with a quick cool bath.

What to Do When You Encounter a Wild Animal

Always be vigilant and use your common sense in areas where wild animals might be present.

Small pets and children should never be left unattended where wild animals might be present, and dogs should always be walked on a leash. Problems are more likely to occur when the animal is out of the owner’s control. It can also be helpful to carry a noisemaker, such as an air horn or whistle, citronella spray, or pepper spray. Here are some tips on wild animals that you may encounter in the Rancho Cordova area:

  • Coyote/Wolf: Use a loud and authoritative voice or make loud noises to frighten the animal. Throw small rocks, sticks, or other objects near the animal and become as big as possible. This will show your dominance and intimidate the animal. Remember, the intent is to scare and not to injure.
  • Snake: Remain calm and still. If you are with your dog, keep him/her close to your side. Step backwards slowly, and only turn your back when you are more than six feet away from the snake.
  • Opossum: They are usually docile and will not attack unless provoked or cornered. Keep your dog on a short leash and remove yourself from the area.
  • Deer: They do not generally pose a threat unless they feel threatened themselves. Keep your dog close to you and walk past the deer. They should move along. If they make aggressive movements or sounds, turn away and leave the area. If you encounter a baby deer alone, do not disturb it. Mothers leave fawns alone while they forage for food and return to the fawn’s original location. 
  • Mountain Lion: Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Do not approach a lion or run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal and become as big as possible. Talk calmly and regularly and back away. Do not turn your back, crouch down or bend over.
  • Bird: If you encounter a baby bird by itself, it is usually best to leave it alone. If a bird appears distressed or injured, contact the Wildlife Care Association’s wildlife care hotline at (916) 965-9453 for recommendations before attempting to assist the bird.

Report emergencies to 911 or, if you are in the American River Parkway, call (916) 875-PARK (7275).

What to do when wild animals pose a threat to public health and safety or cause damage to property or livestock:

The City of Rancho Cordova has a contract with the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office Wildlife Services, which is a cooperative program involving the United States Department of Agriculture, State Department of Food and Agriculture, State Department of Health, and Sacramento County. Wildlife Services is responsible for the control of non-domestic animals, such as skunks, opossums, raccoons, beavers, coyotes, and damaging birds that pose a threat to human or animal health and safety, or cause damage to property or livestock. A Federal Wildlife Specialist can be reached at 916-875-6603, Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

What to do for distressed or injured wild animals:

If you see a distressed or injured wild animal, contact the Wildlife Care Association’s wildlife care hotline at (916) 965-9453. The Wildlife Care Association is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization in Sacramento that is permitted by the California Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to care for wildlife. Wildlife Care Association (WCA) rescues and rehabilitates wild animals that are dropped off by concerned citizens and public agencies. They do not provide a pick-up service, so call the wildlife care hotline or visit the WCA website (http://www.wildlifecareassociation.com/found-animal/) for tips on how to properly rescue a wild animal.

If you feel the animal is in need of immediate care or you are not comfortable waiting for a call or email back, please take the animal immediately to the WCA facility during their intake hours 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. seven days per week.

What to Do When You See a Dog on the Loose

Dogs are to be kept leashed at all times during walks. Homes should have proper fencing so dogs are unable to escape. Only at dog parks where dogs are allowed off-leash, may you let your dog off leash.

Dogs do sometimes manage to escape from the control of their owners. Aggressive dogs running loose can be serious threats to public safety. Dog bites can cause injury and infection, especially if the dog bite breaks the skin and is not vaccinated for diseases such as rabies. Children are much more likely to be severely injured by dog bites due to their small size and not being aware of how they should act around dogs. Also, dogs running loose can cause traffic accidents if crossing busy roads and highways.

The following tips help reduce the dangers and possible accidents caused by loose dogs:

  1. If you see a dog running loose and cannot identify its owner, call Rancho Cordova Animal Services at (916) 851-8852 and be prepared to give a description of the animal.
  2. Be careful but observant of the dog’s behavior. Learn more about behavior in dogs at: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/aggression
  3. If the dog is aggressive, ensure that you and others near the dog go inside or to a location inaccessible by the dog. Call 911 if you are in need of immediate care or unable to wait for Rancho Cordova’s Animal Services.  to arrive.
  4. If the dog is rushing towards you or your dog, try startling the dog with an air horn or other loud noises. Use Citronella spray to irritate the dog and force it away from you. Long instruments, such as a broom or long stick, can be used to push away the dog. Popping open an umbrella can help to keep distance and startle the dog away.
  5. If you are bitten by the dog, seek medical attention. The doctor will need the following information: your name, address, telephone number, place where you were bitten, date and time of the bite, and the circumstances of the bite incident. They will also need any information about the animal (i.e., animal type, breed, description, location of the animal and any owner information you may have). After seeking medical aid, call Animal Services (916) 851-8852 to report the bite.

It is always best to be careful around a stray dog that does not know you. Some dogs who appear friendly might try to bite if they are afraid and protecting themselves. If the dog is friendly and you are able to safely contain the dog you may check the neighborhood for the owner, report found animal on social media, file a found report with Animal Services and local shelters, request Animal Services to pick up the dog during regular business hours or transport the animal to the SSPCA