Have you found an injured animal? Here's what do to...
During the day, you can call Palo Alto Police Dispatch at 650-329-2413 to report a stray; sick; injured; aggressive; or orphaned domestic OR wild animal and an on-duty Animal Control Officer (ACO) will respond in the cities of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. However, if you found the animal after hours when an ACO is off duty, what do you do?
There are several options based on the severity and circumstance. For example, if you found an orphaned baby animal, or injured small animal like a bird or squirrel, if safe to do so please place the animal in a box or wrap in a towel and bring the animal to MedVet at 601 Showers Dr., Mtn View (650-494-1461). The staff there will provide the appropriate care for the animal overnight and will call an ACO to pick up the animal in the morning (at no charge to you!)
Alternatively, if you can place the animal in a box and keep it warm overnight, you can then call 650-329-2413 for and the on duty ACO will respond in the morning.
Another option depending on circumstance, is to leave the animal be and the ACO will assess first thing in the morning. Most of the time ACOs respond to calls for injured animals which turn out to be just underage, not injured enough to require intervention, or by the time an ACO arrives the animal has left the area. So, if at all possible, your quick action could save the animals live and be a significant help to the ACO!
Stray domestic animals found afterhours that do not require medical attention can be brought to the Palo Alto Police Dept at 275 Forest Ave. Palo Alto, or Adobe Animal Hospital at 4470 El Camino Real, Los Altos (650-948-9661)
Birds make up a significant number of calls for service, especially in the spring and summer seasons. Here is a quick guide to help determine if the bird needs help or not:
If the bird is a nestling, it has most likely fallen out of its nest. If you can find the nest, you should attempt to return the bird to its home (don’t worry, the idea that mama bird will abandon it because of the smell on your hands is a myth). If the nest has been destroyed, you can make one. Try using a plastic container with small drainage holes cut through the bottom. Line it with soft nesting materials (paper towels or a wash cloth) and nail the container as far up into a tree close to where you found the nestling as you can. The mother will probably locate her young and continue supporting it while it grows to a fledgling.
If you cannot locate the tree from which it probably fell, you should carefully pick up the bird, place it in a small box with nesting material, the Peninsula Humane Society at 650-340-7022 x456.
If the bird is a fledgling, it is most likely on the right path! With a full set of feathers and stronger breastbones, fledglings are becoming more independent as they learn to fly & forage. Their mothers are typically nearby (within a few blocks) and will return to continue to teach their fledgling to take care of themselves. In this case, if it’s in a relatively safe place (out of the way of cars and cats), you should leave the bird as close to where you found it as possible, so she can find her baby. If you step way back and watch from afar, you’ll probably see mama return with a beak full of food!
If after prolonged observation you don’t see mama return, or if there appears to be a significant injury, call thePeninsula Humane Society at 650-340-7022 x456for advice on what to do next – before handling the bird.
It’s important to remember that it is illegal to keep wildlife. Thank you for your concern for animals!
Last Updated: August 1, 2020