Hundreds of pets in local shelters after 4th of July fireworks


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 5 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- If you're missing your dog after the 4th of July fireworks, a good bet is to take a look at the local animal shelter.

You won't be alone. The 5th of July is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters.

They're long haired, short haired, breeds of all kinds. And they all ran off after being scared by fireworks.

One tired pet rests inside a cage at the Austin Animal Center, hoping someone will find him. That pup's in luck. Nicole Kaslow has been searching for her friend’s dog, named Wriggley, all morning. 

She's relieved to know the beloved pet is safe.

“It's probably been pretty stressful for him, so we're just really happy that we found him,” Kaslow said.

Lauralei Combs has worked at the center for 13 years. She says July 5th is always a busy day for lost pets, after dogs and cats panic and run away from the festivities.

“We have cages and crates set up for our incoming guests everywhere. We have them in offices in meeting rooms,” Combs said. “On the day after fireworks, it's not uncommon to take in over 100 animals.” 

In their fear, many of the animals get hurt.

“We're seeing broken bones; we're seeing wounds; we're seeing head trauma,” said center veterinarian Rachel Hays. “We have some that look like wounds from escaping from fences. They go into a panic and they don't even worry about where they are. They're just trying to get away.”

That's what happened to Wriggley. His paws are so raw from running he can barely walk.

It's a happy ending for Wriggley and his family, and it's a scenario the shelter would love to see happen over and over again.

The center says if your pet is missing, go there and to other local shelters to look for it as soon as possible. After three days of not being claimed, many of the pets are put up for adoption.