No matter where you live, you are likely to encounter an animal in need, not just once, but possibly multiple times in your life. I recently wrote about the amazing story of a group of bicyclists in California that came across a seal pup that was being attacked by a coyote. What they did may have saved the pup’s life, but that’s not always how such stories end.
Much like the story above, the animal you encounter could be a lost, hurt, or stranded wild animal, an abandoned family pet, or perhaps one that’s been the unfortunate victim of cruelty and neglect. No matter what the situation, you’re probably not going to have a lot of time to ponder over your options or debate next steps with your friends and family. In fact, knowing what to do within minutes could mean life or death for the animal involved. That’s a huge responsibility to bear, and no one wants to do the wrong thing in such circumstances.
What You Should Not Do
While it may be tempting to feed, cover, or comfort the animal in question, more often than not, handling injured, sick, or orphaned animals (especially wildlife) can do more harm than good. It’s quite possible for most of us to misinterpret normal animal behavior (especially baby wild animals that appear to be abandoned) as abnormal, and we may end up unnecessarily disturbing or stressing the animals by attempting to handle them. And just in case you were wondering, please don’t take the animal home, especially if it’s a wild animal!
The Right Way to Handle the Situation
Firstly, if you happen to witness animal cruelty in progress, don’t think twice and call 911. Every state has laws prohibiting animal cruelty, and 49 of them contain felony provisions. In all other circumstances involving an abandoned, injured, stranded, sick, or lost animal, usually, the best course of action is to not take matters into your own hands, and instead, get in touch with a professional by calling the nearest animal rescue hotline (in case you were wondering, that’s exactly what the bicyclists did in the story mentioned above). By calling a hotline, you are ensuring that a trained volunteer or professional will be able to determine the right course of action, including (if necessary) dispatching a team to rescue the animal.
But Who Should You Call?
Let’s assume you see an animal in need, and you decide you should call a hotline. Believe it or not, there is no central resource where you can easily find the appropriate hotline that covers your region! And given the fact that there are literally hundreds of rescue hotlines in the U.S. that specialize in different animals and types of rescues, where would you look?
We were equally surprised that nothing existed to make the process of finding hotlines more efficient, and felt like it was very important for us to tackle this problem.
That’s why we created the first ever directory of animal rescue hotlines, a brand new resource where you can locate a range of animal rescue hotlines to report animal cruelty, stranding, illness, abandonment, injury, for all kinds of animals, including wildlife, marine, and domestic animals, across the country, within seconds.
OGP’s Animal Rescue Hotline Directory
Here are some of the features of our new tool:
- Comprehensive Directory: A comprehensive listing of animal rescue hotlines across several categories, covering multiple states in the U.S.
- An easy-to-navigate interface: Enables searches by state, and lists results by category and location, making it very easy to find the nearest one. In addition, it works on your computer and your smartphone (just click the hotline number to dial directly from your phone!).
- Dedicated Listing Pages: Each hotline is provided a dedicated listing page, where readers can obtain detailed information about the hotline, leave ratings, comments, and also upload photos of rescues.
- Crowdsourced and Interactive: Lastly, users are encouraged to update/edit current listings and add new ones, to ensure this directory stays updated and becomes the biggest database of animal rescue hotlines in the country.
Here’s How You Can Help NOW!
- Easy Access: Bookmark our Animal Rescue Hotline Tool on your computer and phone.
- Explore the Tool: Look for listings near you, and if you have used one before, leave a comment, rating, or add a photo of the animal you called regarding (if you have it).
- Submit a Listing: We’ve taken the lead and added several listings, but we really need your help to add more listings! The tool is open source, which means you can edit listings and also submit listings of new hotlines. If you know of a hotline that’s not listed, please add it in NOW!
- Spread the word: The more people know about this, the more animals we will save! SHARE this post via email and social media so we can make this the awesomest animal rescue hotline directory in the world!
Now, Let’s Celebrate Rescues!
Let’s Get Social: We want to celebrate rescues and would love to feature a photo your rescued animal on our listing pages. Let’s show the world how awesome our rescue animals are!
To participate, upload a good quality photo of your rescue animal via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TinyRescue and it will be automatically displayed below this post and submitted to us for consideration.
Include the following information in your tweet/update: Name of your rescue animal, location, date he/she was rescued, and what your animal enjoys the most (funny responses encouraged | under 100 characters). Here is an example.