WHEN you come across a stray dog or cat, it's often impossible to ignore it.
Unfortunately, for those who do try to do the right thing by an animal, it can be an expensive exercise.
In the past two months Sandstone Lakes resident Julie Turner has had three separate encounters with dogs that have lost their way.
While she doesn't own a dog, Julie considers herself a dog-lover who could not turn away those puppy-dog eyes.
Six weeks ago, when a small staffordshire terrier wandered into her backyard, Julie was left responsible for a dog she did not own.
While the dog looked well-loved, it had no collar or way of tracking the owner.
"My partner, Steve, cycled around the area to see if anyone had lost a dog," she said.
"We asked around and it was established that she had been running around the area all morning."
The couple contacted Moreton Bay Regional Council and received a phone message which advised them to contact the Dakabin RSPCA.
"The RSPCA advised us to bring her down. They also suggested that we could take her to the vet to be scanned for a microchip but that would be at our own expense," Julie said.
As the day was ticking away and Dakabin was a 45-minute drive, the couple tried the police and the animal welfare area co-ordinator, who advised they were unable to help as they were already on the hunt for two stray dogs in the area.
THE couple found themselves with no other option but to drive the distance to the RSPCA, who determined the dog was not microchipped.
Since then the couple have had two more experiences with stray dogs in the area - none of which showed signs of neglect.
"It's worrying for the owner. That is why we took the trip to the RSPCA - because that is the first place I would call if I had lost my pet," she said.
"It's a fair hike from our place to Dakabin. What if it was someone who couldn't afford the petrol to take the trip?"
"I think there should more services available. The council should step it up a bit as people are not always willing or able to take the trip to Dakabin,'' Julie said.
"For us, it's not about the money. It's ensuring these beautiful dogs are safe but it's also a risk putting an unknown dog in the back of the car with you. It's also about safety. There are a lot of kids who play around the walkways and parks...a scared kid and a nervous dog are not a good combination."
A Moreton Bay Regional Council spokesman said the council was not aware of any increase in stray dog numbers at Sandstone Lakes.
He confirmed the council provided a seven-day-a-week animal management service for the Moreton Bay Region.
"Residents are encouraged to report stray animals for collection by a council animal management officer by calling council's call centre," he said.
"Stray dogs and cats collected by the council's animal management officers are transported to the RSPCA at Dakabin, where they can be reunited with their owners.
"The RSPCA at Dakabin is contracted to the council to provide pound services.
The call centre can be contacted on 3205. 0555. It is operational 24 hours a day.