Stray, feral and free living animals

Advice for schools about stray, feral or free living animals.

Any free-living or domesticated animal that is sick, stray, feral, injured or orphaned and ends up in a school needs to treated with great care. The health and condition of the animal needs to be quickly assessed, usually by a veterinarian or qualified wildlife or welfare officer, who will decide the ultimate fate of the animal.

It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure that the appropriate action is carried out as quickly as possible. Schools may need to develop a set of procedures for dealing with stray animals found at school or on the way to school. POCTAA applies to all animals on school premises. The Companion Animals Act provides that if a stray dog or cat is found on school premises and is seized by any person, the person must take the dog or cat to the pound (contact the local council) or to its owner.

Schools are not permitted to keep any injured native animals in captivity. They must be taken to a veterinarian or wildlife rescue service for care and hopefully release back to the wild on recovery.

Image: Dogs are not permitted on school grounds without the permission of the Principal. Stray dogs and cats can be seized and returned to their owners or taken to the pound.


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