The Fourth of July Hangover: More Scared Dogs in Shelters

Dogs plus fireworks ends the same way every year -- a spike in dogs showing up at shelters July 5.


Every year we make a point of telling people to keep their dogs on leash or safe at home on the Fourth of July. That message still hasn’t sunk in for many dog owners, however. Animal shelters regularly see spikes in animals brought in on July 5 and thereafter, and this year is no different.

Take the Sacramento city animal shelter. Two hours after it opened on July 5, 23 dogs had been processed, according to the Merced-Sun Star, with “people lined up at the intake door looking for pets that they’ve lost,” said Dave Dickinson, the shelter’s director.

Last year, 69 dogs were brought in on July 5.

“The three days after the fourth -– those are some of our busiest,” he said.

Over in Indianapolis at Indy Lost Pet Alert, the situation was just as grim, according to Fox 59. The organization compiles lost-and-found reports from Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and it’s been flooded since Independence Day.

“This past week alone, we’ve received (more than) 300 lost-and-found alerts. It’s unbelievable how many people are looking for their pets or have lost their pets, and a lot of them are reporting them due to fireworks,” Indy Lost Pet’s Danielle Beck said.

On the ground at Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, people were lined up for the lost pet tours on July 5.

“I’m here to pick up my best friend’s dog, who had a dog-sitter, who accidentally lost the dog last night,” said like Garnet Ramey. “The fireworks somehow got her and she got out of the house.”

In Columbus, Ohio, the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center is still overflowing with dogs brought in since the community’s Red, White & Boom fireworks show — and few people are collecting them.

“We’ve had 96 strays since Red, White & Boom, and only six of those have been reclaimed,” said Community Relations Manager Susan Smith, according to The Columbus Dispatch. “That’s not a great ratio. We’d like to see more responsible dog owners here looking for their lost dogs.”

One of those owners is Matthew Allen, whose one-year-old Dachshund, Monte, escaped through a gate during the fireworks show. Allen didn’t think to check the shelter, instead posting flyers around the neighborhood. At the suggestion of a friend, he finally made his way there.

After his first pass through the facility turned up nothing, he was devastated. “I thought, ‘I’m not going to find my dog.’ I was very discouraged.”

Then, in the last area in the shelter, he saw a familiar face — and a familiar wagging tail.

“He was very happy to see me,” Allen said.

In Kansas, officials at Wichita Animal Services consider the day after fireworks to be their “Black Friday.” The say they take in “double the average amount,” according to KWCH.

This year, one of those dogs was Sancho, who is owned by Andrew Lynch. Sancho dug a hole in his fence during the fireworks and ended up at the shelter.

“I was kinda angry at him for getting out,” Lynch said.

Fortunately, Lynch knew exactly what to do. He was one of the first people in line at Wichita Animal Services on Friday morning, and, inside, his dog of five years was waiting for him.

“There are no words,” Lynch said. “I’m just happy to have him home.”

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