A stray dog was spotted on a Twin Cities highway

Here's what to do if you ever see this yourself.

Wandering along a (thankfully still empty) freeway early Thursday was this stray dog.

MnDOT Traffic tweeted at about 6:43 a.m. that the canine was on 94 westbound at Highway 65, on the southern edge of downtown Minneapolis.

Lt. Tiffani Nielson with the State Patrol told GoMN witnesses reported it as a brown bulldog. Troopers weren't able to get a hold of it ("They're hard to catch," she noted) and it eventually got off the freeway.

It was last spotted in downtown Minneapolis, MnDOT Traffic tweeted, and the city's animal control then takes over.

Nielson always described animal-on-the-highway calls as routine for the State Patrol. Though a lot of time the animal is gone by the time a trooper gets there.

What do you do if you see a dog on the highway?

If you're a dog-lover, seeing one on a busy freeway, alone, can be worrying. So what do you do in that situation?

Call 911, first off. Nielson said it'll get routed to whichever agency needs to handle it.

Don't stop to help a dog that's running around.

"Highways are really unsafe," Nielson said. And dogs – especially when they're in a heightened, alert state – are difficult to get a hold of. You also don't know how the dog might react to you.

Do you brake for the dog?

If the dog runs into the path of your car, should you stop for it? That's a tough question. 

If you suddenly braking might cause a crash ... it's a crappy situation, but you should probably just drive through.

"We don't want to cause a crash. That's the No. 1 concern," she said.

It's the same thing the State Patrol suggests if you see ducks or other animals, and it's why they have the "Don't veer for deer" motto. (You can slow down if it's safe to do so – just don't swerve or anything.)

"People aren't expecting drivers to stop and someone's going to be distracted and rear-end the vehicle," she said.

Your best bet as a driver is to avoid the area if you know a stray animal might be there. And always drive with caution.

Pets get brought to animal control

Nielson said there was on case where a trooper found a dog that had been hit by a car. The animal had a collar, so the trooper brought the dog to its family.

"The troopers care about animals too," Nielson said.

If the State Patrol does manage to get their hands on a dog that is a pet, they'll always contact the local animal control, Nielson said.

So anyone who is missing a pet, you can try calling nearby pounds to see if it might have been brought there.

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