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Stray versus wild: What to do when you find an animal in distress

We often get asked what to do if a member of the public finds a stray domesticated animal or a wild animal.

Baby-SkunkIf you find a stray domesticated animal in Richmond, we strongly encourage the finder to bring the animal to the RAPS City of Richmond Shelter, located at 12071 No. 5 Road. These animals may include anything from a cat or dog to a domesticated bird, rabbit or farm animal.When the finder arrives with the animal, they will be asked to fill out a Stray Animal Drop-Off form, which asks about the location, time and other relevant information about the incident, including any identifying characteristics. We will use all this information to try to reunite the animal with their rightful people.

If the finder can’t bring the animal to the Shelter, we ask them to please call our on-duty Animal Control Officer at 604-275-2036 (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The ACO will pick up the animal. If the animal is found outside of these hours, please call the RCMP non-emergency number at 604-278-1212.

RAPS also responds to calls about injured or deceased wildlife. This includes injured or deceased birds, rodents, rabbits or any other wild animals. There are certain exceptions to which RAPS cannot safely respond. This includes injured coyotes and raccoons. If these animals are found, please call the BC Conservation Officer at 604-582-5250.

Once a wild animal, such as squirrel or bird, arrives at the Shelter, they will be transferred by us to the appropriate care facility, such as Wildlife Rescue in Burnaby or Critter Care in Langley. These organizations will then send volunteer drivers to transport the animals to their own facility, where they are rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

We want to stress that if you find an animal in distress, please do not be a bystander. Contact RAPS as soon as possible.