FORT BENNING, Ga., (Sept. 13, 2013) -- Although you may think you are helping by picking up a stray or lost animal -- think again. Andrea Hoffman, owner and director of the Tricounty Animal Rescue Center, said there are reasons why you shouldn't let a strange animal into your home. Tricounty Animal Rescue is contracted to pick up animals on Fort Benning.

"Its dangerous to keep stray (animals) in the house because you never know what they have," she said. From behavioral problems to illnesses, stray animals may not initially show any red flags, said Linda Hoffman, Andrea's daughter. It takes at least a week or more for an animal to show any red flags, such as aggression.

Andrea recalled when she took in a dog that appeared OK behaviorally. The animal had been neglected and had matted fur, so she invested her time and money into getting him prepared for adoption, including medical treatments. The dog, however, became so aggressive they had to put the dog down.

"Nobody could touch him," she said, adding that after three months of handling, the dog attacked other animals and humans.

Animals also can be lost pets, but if you keep them in your house the chance of the owner's finding the dog decreases, Andrea said.

"The first place people call when their (pet) is lost is animal rescue," Andrea said.

But what should you do if you see a stray animal? Andrea suggests calling the military police.

All strays picked up are held for 72 hours. Andrea said the animals are checked for identification, such as collars or microchips in order to contact the owner.

Pets without microchips have photos immediately posted to the center's Facebook page, Linda said.

The center does what it can to locate the owner, but in the event the owner is not found after three days they become property of the center, Andrea said. The animals are then fully vetted -- including being spayed or neutered and tested and treated for heartworms.

The animals are then put up for adoption. Tricounty Animal Rescue Center does pet adoptions on Fort Benning every Friday and Saturday after 10 a.m. at their facility on 10th Mountain Division Road behind the veterinary clinic. Adoption fees range between $75-$250 and cover the cost of medical treatments. Animals may also be surrendered at the center for $80.

The center is also working on Operation Keep Me Warm and is asking for donations -- such as carpet and blankets -- to help keep the animals warm during the colder seasons.

For more information about the donation drive, adopting or surrendering, call 706-326-7196. To stay up-to-date, visit their Facebook page at