What do you do when you come across an animal – maybe a dog, a deer or a bird– who’s been hit by a car or needs some other urgent help? Or you have a wildlife emergency of whatever kind?
I’ve read numerous advice columns that say: “Call your local wildlife rehabilitator.” And I’m supposed to know who that is?
Maybe you can reach your own veterinarian on your cell phone. But what if you’re traveling?
Here’s a much-needed new service.
Animal Watch, based in Boulder, Colorado, has developed an iPhone app and website for anyone who encounters a lost, injured, sick, abused, or distressed animal. An Android app should be out by the end of May. This project, Animal Help Now, will direct you to the closest and most appropriate veterinarians, wildlife rehabbers, shelters, animal advocacy organizations, or law enforcement agency. The phone apps are free.
At this time, Animal Help Now only operates in Colorado, but the group expects to be expanding throughout the United States before year’s end.
When you contact, Animal Help Now, you’ll be asked a few basic questions like what kind of animal, his or her condition, and whether you transport her. Based on your answers, and the time of day and location, you’ll get the best contact information.
The program goes beyond wildlife emergencies, to include abuse and neglect, human safety issues (e.g. cows in the road), sick, injured or lost/found pets, and farm animals.
And since many veterinarians and wildlife rehabbers do not have web pages, Animal Help Now makes it easy and fast to contact the right help no matter how remote the location or what the situation.
You can also work with them to help develop the service in your home town or state.