Safety & Your Pets

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Learn more about our furry friends and everything Dakin has to offer!

Dakin Humane Society
171 Union St., Springfield
(413) 781 – 4000
163 Montague Rd., Leverett
(413) 548 – 9898

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

  • Outdoor Barbecues: Not all backyard chefs utilize the traditional grill. Pets can be badly burned in pit fires and camp fires. Keep pets away from all open flames.
  • Wrappings: Foil, plastic wrap, and string may help chefs with food prep, but they can be dangerous if ingested. Keep these often food-covered items out of your pet’s reach and dispose of them in tightly covered trash bins.
  • Poisonous foods: Speak with guests about what your pet is allowed to eat. Several foods to avoid include fatty sausages (pancreatitis), chocolate from s’mores (chocolate toxicity), and mushrooms (mushroom toxicity can prove fatal to some breeds of dog).
  • Alcoholic Beverages: Never leave alcoholic drinks where pets can reach them. Ingested alcohol can potentially result in vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, acidosis, coma and even death.
  • Keep a Lid on It: Securely place all trash in garbage bins to prevent your pet–and wild animals–from eating tasty “leftovers,” including corn cobs and bones, which can cause blockages in the esophagus or intestines.
  • Hot Paws: Be careful if taking your four-legged family member to the beach or on a picnic. Animals should always have access to shade, properly ventilated shelter, and fresh water or they can become quickly dehydrated. Hot sand can burn sensitive paws.
  • No Dogs in the Car!: NEVER leave animals in hot cars, even with the windows partially rolled down. Within minutes, the internal temperature can exceed 100 degrees. If it’s close to 70 degrees outside, it’s best to leave your pet safely and comfortably at home.
  • Heat Stress: Heat stress symptoms include severe panting, staggering, weakness, and collapse. If your dog shows these symptoms, gradually lower the animal’s temperature by hosing him down with cool water. Seek prompt veterinary attention.

Fostering a Pet

  • Fostering saves lives, hundreds every year. Foster care is a great way for people to partner with Dakin Humane Society and help save the lives of animals in our community.
  • Foster homes are needed throughout the year to help with animals who need time outside of the kennel/shelter environment. Foster opportunities abound and most especially at this time of year with the influx of kittens.
  • There are all kinds of foster opportunities available including fostering bottle babies, orphaned kittens, mom with kittens, even adult cats and dogs are in need of temporary care in home situations until they can come back to the adoption center to find permanent homes.
  • Fostering is a great way for people who want to help who are not able to make a long-term commitment to adoption.

Handling Strays Safely

  • If you have found a stray dog, please call your local animal control officer. In Springfield and many surrounding communities, the animal control agency is the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center. Dakin will only accept stray dogs after they have stayed their required 10 days with an animal control officer. This helps stray dogs find their original families more easily.
  • Feral days/times: No appointment is needed; bring up to 3 feral cats/kittens at 8 AM any Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. If you are trapping a large colony and want to bring more cats at a time, please call us.
  • For the safety of the cats and our staff, we cannot perform surgery for feral cats brought in anything except humane traps (for example, cat/dog carriers, etc.)
  • Please cover the trap completely with a blanket or sheet. This will help the cat feel safe, and will prevent the cat from hurting him/herself in the trap.
  • Where to get humane traps. Dakin’s Adoption Centers have traps for loan. Visit either one of our locations, Springfield or Leverett, any time during our normal business hours to borrow a trap. A refundable deposit is required. Some rental agencies (for example where you would rent tables and chairs for a party) have traps for rent.
  • How to use humane traps. Click here for information on how to trap feral cats for surgery. Have hard-to-catch cats? Click here for advanced trapping tips.
  • Ear tipping. An ear tip (as shown in the photo above) is mandatory with the feral cat package. An ear tip is the surgical removal, while under anesthesia, of the top 1/4 inch of the right ear. The ear tip enables the cat to be easily identified from afar as already spayed or neutered.
  • When is a feral kitten old enough for spay/neuter surgery? Kittens are ready for surgery when they are 2 pounds in weight (8-10 weeks of age). Rules of thumb: They are faster than you when they are about 6-7 weeks old. The mom cat usually brings kittens to start eating food at about 7-8 weeks old.
  • So if you have been seeing kittens out and about, eating food- they are old enough for surgery. If you have caught feral kittens when they are quite young (the younger the better- best is about 4 weeks old while their eyes are still blue), and raised them in your home so they love all people, including strangers, then congratulations! They are now tame kitties and can be placed in loving homes at 8 weeks of age.
  • Services and fees. Our feral cat package is $35 and includes spay/neuter surgery, rabies vaccination, ear tip, and pain medication. We strongly recommend adding FVRCP (distemper) vaccine for $10 and Revolution (flea, roundworm and ear mite treatment) for $5. We accept cash, credit or debit cards. We do not accept checks.

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