Shelters see increase in stray/runaway pets over July 4 weekend

As celebrations continue, experts have suggestions on how to protect your pets

It was that time of the year this past weekend.

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – Fireworks lit up skies across the Commonwealth this holiday weekend and while many of us may have enjoyed them, the same cannot be said for many of our furry friends.

Animal shelters said fireworks are to blame for the increase in runaway pets as of late.

“My cousin’s dog is missing,” India Nichols said. “He ran off Friday night around 11 p.m.”

Campbell County was just the first stop on a long list of shelters in the search for family dog, Apollo.

“They’re pretty upset because he’s a family pet. He stays in the house with them,” said Nichols. “They let him out to go to the restroom. He has a wireless collar on, and I don’t know if the batteries were dead or he broke it.”

Fortunately, Apollo came home safely a short time into Nichols’ search. For many dog owners, this isn’t only the case.

“We’ve already had three lost reports and one dog brought in,” said Amber Carroll, who has worked as the rescue coordinator at the shelter for the past four years. “We expect there will be many more in the next few days.”

She said that every time July 4 rolls around, they see an uptick in runaway animals.

“We need more space, especially with this Fourth of July weekend,” said Katie Lane, who serves as the president for BARCC, Bringing Animal Renovations to Campbell County. “A lot of animals are scared, they run away and are picked up and brought to the shelter.”

Lane said they already have about 10 dogs and only 17 kennels.

Stray dogs are held for five days, or 10 if they have a collar, before they’re put up for adoption of possibly transferred to a facility with more space.

While the holiday weekend is over, there’s no doubt celebrations will continue; however, there are a few things you can do to make sure your pet doesn’t end up in a shelter.

“Make sure the tags are up to date. Make sure they have a collar on. If they’re outside dogs, bring them in for the night somewhere they can be contained,” explained Carroll. “Once they’re inside, play music. Some calming spray works very well.”

If you’re missing a pet, or you find someone else’s, be sure to report it to dispatch and let the local shelters know. Experts also say the best chance at being reunited with a lost pet is to make sure they’re microchipped.

About the Author:

Kortney joined the 10 News team as a Lynchburg Bureau Reporter in May 2021.