What should you do if you find a litter of stray puppies or kittens?  Animal Samaritans recommends you follow these steps:

1. Move the infants to a cool, safe location.  If you have personal pets, keep them separated, as stray puppies and kittens, dogs or cats may carry diseases and parasites.

2. Attempt to hydrate the animals by providing water in a shallow dish or cup. They may or may not drink it. Do not use a deep bowl that a feeble kitten or puppy could drown in.

3. For overheated puppies and kittens, dab their paws with rubbing alcohol to help cool their body temperatures.

4. If possible, trap the mother so that she can continue to nurse her young after you have rescued her babies. *In many cases, however, feral dogs and cats will abandon their young if threatened or their hiding place is discovered.

5. Decide whether or not you can bottle feed the kittens or puppies until they can eat solid food on their own, which normally occurs between 5 and 6 weeks of age. *A kitten or puppy who can feed itself is much more likely to survive life in a public shelter. Most public animal shelters do not have the staff of budgets to bottle feed infant kittens and puppies. Private animal shelters like Animal Samaritans have a limited number of staff members and volunteers to care for and bottle feed infants, and often these resources are already in use–especially during kitten and puppy season , which is heaviest April through September. Also, by law, Animal Samaritans is required to send stray dogs and cats to a public animal shelter to ensure we do not take ownership of an animal that a pet owner may be looking for. With newborn kittens and puppies, the situation becomes murky; however, there is the potential that a pet owner wants to keep all of his/her pet’s puppies or kittens, and legally he or she owns them.

6. Contact your local public animal shelter for their business hours before taking a stray animal (or litter of animals) to them. For residents of Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indian Wells, Indio, Coachella, and the unincorporated cities of Riverside County, call Riverside County Animal Services at 760-343-3644, or visit their website at For residents of Palm Springs, contact the Palm Springs Animal Shelter at 760-416-5718.

7. Take the stray kittens or puppies to your local animal shelter. There is no fee for turning in a stray animal. Go inside and talk to a staff member; don’t just drop off the infants in secrecy and sneak away. *Again–it’s very important you know this–if the animals are weaned, their odds of being kept at a public shelter until adopted and someone’s pet increase dramatically! “Fostering” abandoned or stray kittens and puppies until they are weened, or at of age to be spayed or neutered, i.e., 8 weeks, SIGNIFICANTLY improves their chances of remaining at the shelter until they are adopted.

*At Animal Samaritans we commit to the animals in our care for life, but we cannot help all the stray dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens that come our way.  That means YOU may need to help save their lives.

What is a homeless animal?

A homeless animal is at risk of disease, injury and even death. It must not be forgotten that our shelter can help pet owners who can no longer responsibly care for their dog or cat. However, due to the space limitations of our shelter on Ramon Road., we cannot house feral cats, nor can we legally take in stray animals as their owners may be looking for them. Prior to surrendering your pet to our shelter, you must first schedule an appointment with our Adoption Counselor at 760-343-3477.