July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters due to a surge of spooked dogs and cats who ran away from home during the Independence Day festivities.
If your furry best friend escaped during the fireworks show, animal shelter officials suggest beginning your search immediately.
Maricopa County Care and Control (MCACC) says officers hit the streets early Thursday morning in search of stray pets and after expected to continue looking until at least 10 p.m.
"On an average day, we can bring in anywhere from 80 to 100 animals," MCACC spokesman Jose Santiago said. "We could easily double that today."
The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is offering the following tips to help reunite you with your four-legged friend:
- Look in those hard-to-reach places: Go through your home and pay attention to areas where a pet could get themselves stuck.
- Create a flyer: Post flyers around your neighborhood with your pet’s photo, name, and your phone number.
- Distribute flyers in neighborhood: Consider going door-to-door with flyers. Post them at local businesses and drop them off with school crossing guards and/or other neighborhood regulars.
- Put personal items outside: Leave a pair of old gym socks, your T-shirt or your pet’s bedding and toys on your patio to help your frightened pet find their way back home.
- Check animal shelter: Visit Sunnyslope Campus Admissions Department and check with Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital. Be sure to have a photo of your pet on-hand as well as their veterinary records.
- Contact animal control: Visit Maricopa County Animal Care and Control every 24-72 hours. The county shelter is only required to hold a lost or stray pet for up to 72 hours before the animals become “county’s property" and can be placed up for adoption. You can also call 602-506-PETS.
- Reach out to nearby vet offices: Reach out to local veterinary offices and emergency clinics
- Find out if your animal was injured in crash: We hate to think about the possibility of our pets being injured, but check with the state Department of Transportation and reach out to your local police department by calling the non-emergency number and inquiring about crashes involving animals.
- Utilize social media: Visit Lost Dogs of Arizona and Straydar Facebook pages and post about your lost pet in the Nextdoor app.
- Use your community newspaper: Put a “lost pet” ad in the newspaper and search the “found” section.
During the July Fourth festivities this year, MCACC asked volunteers to visit either of their east or west shelters between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to keep the pups calm.
Santiago suggested bringing a blanket, reading a book or singing a song to distract the animals from the loud noises outside.
Additionally, MCACC is reminding Arizona residents to microchip their pets. Costs to microchip animals through MCACC is $25 but over the next 72 hours, Two Pups Wellness Fund is offering to cover the microchip cost for animals being returned to their owners.