We all love animals. And if you have any kind of a heart, the sight of an injured, helpless animal is a difficult one. The idea of just driving by if you see an animal injured on the side of the road seems heartless. Who hasn’t seen a helpless animal on the road and thought, “I should really go over there and see if I can nurse this animal back to health!”

But that’s not always such a good idea.

If you have a lot of training and or an animal expert it can work out. For example, In Long Branch Thursday, lifeguards were able to help out a deer who was stuck in the ocean. According to an article on nj.com, the deer apparently lost its way and somehow Found itself in the ocean and unable to get back to shore. Quick thinking lifeguards were able to ride out on Jetski’s and rescue the animal and bring it in. And although that story had a happy ending, rescuing animals of your own accord doesn’t work out that way very often.

First of all, animals can carry diseases that you have no idea they’re carrying. You may see an injured raccoon on your property, but you have no idea if he is rabid or not. Animals that are bigger than you, like deer, pose another problem. They don’t know your intention when you approach them to try to help. They can become angry and injure you.

It’s sad to say, but sometimes nature knows how to deal with an injured animal better than we humans do. After all, in the circle of life some animals actually feed on dead animals. Additionally, some animals, though they seem to be injured, don’t need rescuing at all. They may just be lost, confused, or wandering, in which case it is better to leave them to their own devices. They have instincts that will help them navigate the situation. Or maybe they have the kind of injury that can heal itself. It’s not always meant for you to be the animal’s hero.

One Green Planet, a pro-environmental website dedicated to a greener earth, reminds you that just because you think an animal needs rescuing that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s so. According to their website onegreenplanet.com, “When you try to help an animal that truly doesn’t need rescuing, you put them at risk of not being able to be released back into the wild. Leave the decision-making up to the experts, and remember that most rehab facilities, SPCAs, and other care facilities rely on donations to stay in operation.” So before you jump in to try to administer medical or other rescue help to an animal, call an expert first. You may be doing more harm than good.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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