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Let the Professionals Handle Animals on Roads and Freeways

Drivers taking evasive action or trying to collar a scampering dog can lead to tragic outcomes. That’s why it’s best to call 911 and leave dog-catching to professionals – troopers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Arizona Department of Transportation staff.

The same goes for other animals or debris on the roadway. Get off the highway to safely call 911 to report road hazards. It’s safer for everyone that way. “Dogs and other animals who gain access to the freeway system pose a safety issue for both our officers and motorists. The Arizona Department of Public Safety strongly urges drivers to call 911 when they see an animal in the roadway,” said Bart Graves, DPS spokesman. “Motorists should NEVER get out of their vehicles and attempt to chase and capture the animal. By doing so, drivers not only put themselves at risk but will most likely cause serious injury or even a fatal collision.”

Frightened dogs on the highway are evasive and nabbing them is a challenge. In some cases, DPS and ADOT will temporarily block traffic to ensure their safety and make it easier to collar the dog or coax it into a vehicle or off the freeway.

It’s a helpless feeling watching dogs on the freeway from a vehicle or on ADOT’s camera, but in many cases authorities are able to save the animals and get them back to their owners. We have witnessed many rescues, from dachshunds to ducklings.

Pet owners, keep these additional safety and health tips in mind:

  • Bring pets indoors when they’re likely to be frightened and escape the yard, such as during thunderstorms or fireworks events. ADOT maintenance crews in Maricopa County see calls about deceased dogs on the freeways sharply increase after the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve.
  • If you cannot bring your pets indoors, be sure your yard is secure, your fence or wall is tall enough, and pets have access to all-day shelter and water.
  • Secure pets inside your vehicle while driving. Dogs and cats can jump or fall onto the roadway through open windows or truck beds. Pets who roam freely inside the vehicle can distract your driving and be injured or killed if you stop quickly or are involved in even a minor collision.
  • Tired of your dog or cat going into “heat” and straying from home? Call your veterinarian or the Spay/Neuter Hotline for info about low-cost services statewide.
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