Providing transportation for dogs and cats that live in homes without reliable vehicles is vital. This tells you how to make it safe and convenient.
If drivers from outlying communities can pick up multiple pets, that’s great! If not, an organized transport is needed. Transport (gas) should be in the budget.
Make sure transport vehicles are a safe choice. Air conditioned or heated vans, SUVs or other vehicles are best. If stock trailers, pick-up trucks or other partially open vehicles are used, early morning or evening may be the only times to use them safely in hot weather.
Don’t waste transport space. If using a stock trailer make multiple stops to make the most of your mileage.
Make sure residents know you’re coming. Radio, newspapers or fliers sent home with school children notify the communities. Flyers should include pick-up points and a phone number to schedule the pets. Avoid confusion, note that the transport is for spay/neuter and not for pets needing just vaccinations.
Schedule appointments in order to get an estimate of how many animals to expect at a pick-up location.
If possible, pick up the animals the evening before surgery, bring them to the clinic, and provide a normal meal that evening. Animals remain crated overnight and are walked in the morning. After recovery they go home.
Animals go home with commercial pet food, aftercare instructions and health care tips. Including an overnight stay, plan 18 to 24 hours from pick-up till the pet returns home.
Locate an appropriate vehicle and arrange a sufficient number of cages. Carriers used for transport will be tied up for 24 hours.
Necessary supplies include clam shell style carriers, bungee cords for securing carriers in place, tape (duct or masking), permanent “Sharpie” markers in both red and black, check-in forms, pens, leashes, spray bottles of cleaner, paper towels and water, paper bowls and emergency animal supplies.
As soon as an animal is put into a cage put a piece of masking tape or duct tape on the carrier with the caregivers’ last name. A corresponding number will be written on the carrier and on the intake form. The intake form will be put into a folder, not remain with the cage, so it needs to get back to the right animal. A corresponding number makes sure the correct paperwork gets back to the correct dog or cat and into the correct cage.
If at all possible, separate cats from dogs. Cat carriers can go into the front of a truck or in a camper shell while dogs are in the stock trailer. In a cargo van, cover cat carriers with sheets or blankets.
MARK TRANSPORT CAGES WITH A LARGE RED “T”. The people unloading and handling the animals will not be the same people throughout the animals’ stay. Labeling prevents multiple trips because of forgotten carriers.
The correct form, carrier and animal must get back together, and a “T” will make sure they get back onto the transport the next day.
Have bowls with which to feed and water the animals when they get to the clinic location. After that feeding they will fast for surgery the next morning.
Where companion animals are free roaming, females are the limiting factor and therefore are the priority. Neutering the males is very important in order to prevent roaming and fighting and it helps the dog keep his home, but obviously females still go into season, and if she does a free roaming male will reach her. If space is limited we prioritize females on transports.
Where companion animals are free roaming, the females are the limiting factor and therefore are the priority. While neutering the males is very important, doing so obviously does not affect the potential for the females to go into season and has no bearing on how many unwanted litters will be produced. If an intact female dog or cat is free roaming, there will be a litter, no matter how many males your program has neutered. We strongly encourage homes to get males neutered in order to reduce the number of dog fights, the likelihood of the dog not roaming and the potential for the dog to keep its home, but if space is limited we prioritize the female dogs or cats.
Read more about Organizing a Transport.