Stray animal numbers rising in Chippewa Valley

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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - The Chippewa Falls Police Department has seen a massive increase in stray and lost animals this summer.

What happens if you find a stray animal? What should you do?

If someone finds a stray animal, they usually call it in to the police department, which is what you should do. The department then has to find an officer to pick up the animal and take it to the humane society if it’s not during their office hours. And that takes them off the streets where they could be dealing with other issues.

"I think today we've already had three or four,” David BeBeau with the Chippewa Falls Police Department said.

And that was around 11 a.m. Monday morning. The number of calls for stray animals has skyrocketed in the recent months and police say a big part of the reason is because of the Fourth of July fireworks; they may be fun for people, but what about when it comes to your pets?

"Recently, it's been the fireworks that have been setting them off,” Jennifer Johnson, with the Chippewa County Humane Association, said. “They're just not used to the loud noise; they think the world is coming to an end, not quite sure what's going on.”

And it’s not just the person who finds the stray who is using a lot of their time.

“We get a lot of complaints and a lot of calls on stray animals running at large and that really eats up a lot of our time out on patrol," BeBeau said.

Johnson says around half of the animals that come into the humane association don’t have anything on them to help find the owners.

"We have so many cats and dogs that come in with just a collar and collars are not supposed to be just for show,” Johnson said. “Put a tag on them; put a phone number on them so we can get ahold of you.”

If you lose your animal and don't have legal documentation for it, there could be repercussions like losing them for good.

"The law in Wisconsin has changed to a four-day hold,” Johnson said. “So we hold them in a shelter for four days and then after that, they're able to be put up for adoption; it can be heartbreaking for someone that was maybe out of town and all of a sudden they get back and didn't have identification and it gets adopted out. Legally, there's not a lot that can be done once that animal has been adopted and has a new legal owner."

If a dog is determined to be lost by an owner, it’s a $25-100 fine.

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