‘Tis a busy time for animal encounters


Photo by W.J. Berg, courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Here in the Columbia River Gorge, as elsewhere, volunteers are very busy right now retrieving abandoned or injured wildlife, as well as homeless cats and kittens.

Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue in Hood River, Ore., and Gorge Kitten Project in Lyle, Wash., are currently up to their eyeballs in homeless kittens and pregnant cats. These volunteers work hard to spay or neuter as many cats as possible, with the goal of eventually making “kitten season” an obsolete term.

(See the Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue web site to donate online or if you can adopt or foster a cat; you can send donations to the Gorge Kitten Project at PO Box 722, Lyle, WA 98635.)

And wildlife clinics get calls frequently this time of year from people asking for help with animal babies they’ve found in the wild.

(Note: When people find an animal baby in the wild and don’t see the mother nearby, they often think the babies are abandoned. However, the mom is probably foraging and will return. Read the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife page called About Injured and Young Wildlife FAQS.)

One of the more common calls wildlife clinics receive are from people who have found injured deer that were attacked by dogs. Unfortunately, it seems that many people don’t understand the importance of keeping dogs on leashes, especially in areas frequented by wildlife.

As an avid hiker, I see it every week. And I’ve had several people tell me over the years that their dogs are so well-behaved they would not chase or harm a deer, or that their dogs were simply too small to hurt a deer. On the contrary, dogs — of any size — will potentially chase and injure a deer or other animal, either directly by attacking it or in the pursuit. (A frightened deer, for example, can trip and break a leg or run into a road and get hit by a car.) Dogs are hard-wired to chase — and it has nothing to do with the dog being “bad” or “good.”

I believe if these dog-owners saw the injuries — and suffering — their dog caused a deer or any animal, they would keep their dogs leashed.


For more information on what to do when you find an injured or homeless animal in the wild, see Rowena Wildlife Clinic‘s web site. You can donate online, too.

Also, see this link from the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife to Learn More About Living with Wildlife.

Spay or neuter your pet: It’s the humane thing to do.

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