Independence Day is prime time for Colorado pet runaways


Dogs and fireworks on Fourth

DENVER (KDVR) — Keep the furry friends safe and close this weekend – they tend to bolt around July 4.

Household pets have a hard time with Independence Day fireworks, and as a result area shelters report higher numbers of stray intakes around the holiday than at other times of the year.

According to data from the Shelter Animals Count, July has been the highest or second-highest month for pet intakes since 2016.

In 2020, Colorado had over 10,000 animal shelter intakes in the month of July – nearly double what they were in April.

Denver’s Dumb Friends League animal shelter said stray intake usually spike on July 5. In the last two years, July 5 alone accounted for an eighth of the monthly intake.

Joan Thielen, a Dumb Friends League spokesperson, said it can be hard to track exactly why numbers go up around the holiday – it’s simply clear that they do.

“The numbers below are not necessarily pets who came into the shelter due to fireworks,” she said. “We do tend to see more strays coming in around the holiday, but it can be difficult to determine if they got away from their families due to 4th of July celebrations.”

Snapshots show the difference between other yearly points in time and the weekly run-up to the holiday.

The pre-Independence Day week typically has around 25% more stray animal intakes than the first week of May, according to data from the Leslie A. Malone Center in Denver and Buddy Center in Castle Rock.

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