Hundreds of animals lost after 4th of July, PACC works hard to reunite pets with families

Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 6:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The bright lights and big booms from last night’s firework displays sparked joy in some but worry in others.

It’s every owner’s worst nightmare; losing your furry friend. From July 4th to 6th, there is at least a 30 percent increase in lost animals reported, and here in Pima County, it’s no different.

PACC estimated 250 dogs and 150 cats will be taken to the shelter. While staff say they will definitely be busy today, more animals will continue to come in. Reuniting owners to their furry friends will be a days-long, if not weeks-long, process.

“A lot of times dogs get spooked, and they run, and they get lost, and then they kind of hunker down because they don’t know what else to do. They hang out for a day or two and then they get hungry or thirsty and they start coming out again,” said Kayleigh Murdock, from PACC.

“That’s why we see animals coming in for a week after the 4th rather than all coming in the day immediately after.”

With the expected increase in animals, PACC has looked to other methods of connecting animals to their owners while easing the stress on staff and supplies.

PACC partnered with Petco Love Lost this past May, an online database that uses facial recognition to locate a lost pup or cat. The free program works directly with the animal shelter to confirm a pet’s identity and to contact the owners.

However, the shelter also asks that anyone who can is strongly encouraged to foster the missing animal until its owner is located.

“The reason for that is that typically dogs are found in the neighborhood that they were lost from,” said Murdock.

“They’re often only a few doors down so the animal really has a much higher chance of making it home if they’re kept in that neighborhood.”

Sharing that you found an animal on social media is a main way of letting your neighborhood know that there is a lost pet looking to be reunited with its family. Posting a picture on Petco Love Lost is also another step to take.

One thing folks at PACC emphasize is the importance of your animal having some form of ID, like a microchip or a leash and collar. That way, a cat found after the holiday, or a dog looking for their forever family, will always have a way back home.

“If you do lose your pet and you’re not having luck finding them, don’t give up. It doesn’t necessarily mean your dog was stolen, or any other variety of scenarios. We see pets reunited weeks, months, years after they’ve been lost, so we definitely want to tell people don’t give up hope.”

Many veterinarian offices and shelters scan pets for microchips, often for free. Click here for a map of offices offering chip scans.

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