The San Diego Humane Society tweeted out that by Wednesday afternoon., it had taken in nearly 230 "stray" pets since the morning of the Fourth of July.
Officials at the animal shelter suspect many of the creatures ran away during Sunday night's July 4th fireworks, which took place all over the county.
The Humane Society said roughly 22% of the strays have so far been claimed. In addition to dogs and cats that have been taken in by the animal shelter, a rabbit, a reptile, and a bird also found refuge at SDHS.
Fortunately for the pets and their missing owners, the San Diego Humane Society does not euthanize healthy or treatable pets, so anybody looking for a stray that was taken in will find it waiting for them -- until they are put up for adoption, a process that typically begins after five days if it's a healthy animal that hasn't been microchipped or wasn't wearing a collar with a phone number.
Last year, of course, there were no fireworks, and despite the relative calm and quiet of the holiday being celebrated during the pandemic, 169 animals were taken in as strays between July 4-6. A better comparison can be made to 2019, when, between the 4th of July and the two days following, 300 stray pets -- including 165 dogs, 130 cats, and five other animals -- were taken in for care by the humane society. Sadly, just 40% of those dogs ended up being claimed by their owners.
Anybody who finds a stray or had their pet run away is being urged to contact the San Diego Humane Society for more information. In the meantime, here are some tips from the society:
- Keep the animal in your home and try locating the owner via the Nextdoor app or other social media platforms. "Most animals are found in close proximity to where they live. This is a great way to quickly help the animal get back to their family," the humane society says. Visit the society's lost and found page for tips on searching for an owner
- If you're unable to locate the owner, keep the pet overnight and bring the animal to the humane society
- If you cannot keep the animal, call local law enforcement's non-emergency lines who can connect you with the humane society's humane officers
- Call Project Wildlife for animals you believe to be wild
More information can be found on the Humane Society's website.
Animal lovers who want to take in a stray and give it a forever home will have to pay nominal fees to the humane society: An adult dog, for example, is $100, while a puppy is $200. A cat $65, while a kitten is $130. Any dogs or cats over 7 years of age can be adopted for a fee of $30.
As it does every year, NBC 7 will be partnering with the San Diego Humane Society later this summer on the annual monthlong Clear the Shelters event Aug. 23-Sept. 19. During Clear the Shelters, thousands of people across San Diego adopt pets.
The San Diego Humane Society found forever homes for more than 1,000 pets during the 2020 Clear the Shelters month -- and not just cats and dogs. Rabbits, birds, even rats went home with new families.