“Pets Are Worth Saving” Stickers Alert First Responders

PAWS logo less white space If your house was on fire and you weren’t there, would firefighters know about your dogs or cats in order to try to rescue them?

Or if you had a medical emergency and weren’t able to communicate, would EMS know to look for any pets to make sure someone takes care of them while you’re at the hospital?

Georgetown Police and Georgetown Animal Services recently introduced a new program called “Please PAWS: Pets Are Worth Saving,” designed to make sure your pets are rescued if there is an emergency. A sticker with a red stop sign and the “Please PAWS” symbol on it in a front window alerts emergency officials that you have a pet in your home.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that one out of four people in the United States own at least one dog. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that police and other first responders encounter an animal on one out of every three calls, whether stray animals or owned pets.

“We had a situation a while back where a woman was transported to a local hospital and admitted,” says Capt. Evelyn McLean with the Georgetown Police Department. “We were unaware that the woman had two dogs crated in her garage until a neighbor called a couple of days later saying she could hear the dogs. If she had a PAWS sticker displayed, we may have located the dogs the night she was transported and we could have made arrangements with Animal Services to care for the dogs.”

The stickers also can serve to alert police officers responding to a residence so that they know of any animals they may encounter if they enter the home. Awareness of animals can lower the risk of bad outcomes from an animal that might be threatened by a stranger entering the home.

The “Please PAWS: Pets Are Worth Saving” stickers are an effort initiated by Capt. McLean and Animal Control Officer Kelly Thyssen. “We believe that a first responder’s heightened awareness of pets, especially canines, in a home will hopefully decrease negative and potentially dangerous encounters,” says Thyssen.

The Please PAWS stickers are available for no charge at the Georgetown Public Safety Operation and Training Center, the Georgetown Animal Shelter, and directly from animal control officers in the field.

The City of Georgetown Police Department is located at Public Safety Operations and Training Center at 3500 DB Wood Road, which is next to Fire Station 5.  Contact the department at (512) 930-3510 or by email at pd@georgetown.org.

The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Drive near the McMaster Athletic Fields. Contact the shelter at (512) 930-3592 or by email at animalsvc@georgetown.org. The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter website is pets.georgetown.org.

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