Animals shelters report higher numbers of lost animals being dropped off after this holiday than in previous years. 

No matter how you slice it, fireworks are hard on animals. Unfortunately, for these pets, their instinct is to run from the booms, making it easier for them to end up far, far away from their homes. As the weather cooperated and gave us more wet conditions, firework restrictions were looser in many counties, offering more chances for backyard celebrations in neighborhoods. That likely also created more chaos for pets.

County human societies and animal shelters generally see an uptick of animals brought in around the holiday, but this year, the numbers are really high in some places.

"This time of year is always rough, and this is by far the worst year we’ve seen,” said Elaine Hicks, Weld County Humane Society executive director told the Greeley Tribune

According to the Evans-based shelter, a total of 125 animals, most of those were dogs, were brought in after the 4th this year. Only 57 have been claimed by owners at the time of this writing. Thanks to a well-timed adoption event, held specifically to make room for animals brought in after Independence Day, there was enough room to house the lost pets. 

Sadly, the Greeley shelter is just one of many that saw a surge in animals. The Denver Dumb Friends League (DDFL) also received 39 stray dogs and puppies. The DDFL says that in addition to the dogs and occasional cats brought in after the holiday, they see an uptick in calls to the call center, both from people who have lost a pet or to ask questions. While the 2017 4th of July holiday was the busiest year for the DDFL, this year still a significant number of pets coming into the shelter.

By Colorado state law, any animals that go unclaimed after five days are property of the shelter they reside in. At which point, those animals will first go through a behavior assessment before being put up for potential adoption or moved to another facility.

If your pet is missing, there are steps you can take:

  • Immediately tell neighbors and post on social media, including neighborhood Facebook pages or sites like NextDoor. Also, check out and post on pages solely dedicated to finding lost animals like Colorado Lost & Found, and
  • Check with your local veterinary practices.
  • Check here to find the shelter closest to you. DDFL has a Lost & Found page that posts animals that recently arrived.
  • Put something familiar outside for your pet, such as a litterbox or dog bed, to lure them back in by scent if they are in the area.
  • Prevention is key: microchip your pet. Make sure you register it and keep your information up to date after moves, etc.

Check out more tips on the DDFL website.