Leon County Animal Shelter experiences influx after July 4th

Published: Jul. 5, 2019 at 3:02 PM EDT
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By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News

July 5, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – After all of the barbecuing and fireworks, the Leon County Animal Shelter works overtime to combat the influx of strays and surrendered pets coming in during their busiest day of the year, July 5.

The shelter shares that the days leading up to July 4, and July 5, are when they see hundreds of cats and dogs coming in and out of the shelter.

To paint a picture, on Friday morning at around 10:30 a.m., within the first hour, the shelter saw 13 pets. The shelter says the reasons why they see an influx is due to three things:

1. The fireworks and the loud noises

2. People out of town and the caretakers are not familiar with how to care for pet

3. When having company over or hosting party, owners become distracted and dog or cats runs away

Director Erika Leckington, of the Leon County Animal Services/Tallahassee Animal Shelter says that many after July 4 find that their furry friend is nowhere to be found.

"People are busy, it's the holidays, so they are paying attention to their friends and family that they have over for a barbecue, but they are not necessarily aware of the comings and goings of when a cat or a dog could potentially slip out the door," Leckington said.

The facility is now almost filled to capacity. But they are continuing to take in those that are lost from home.

David Tillotson was walking through the rows of kennels as he said, "It's just kind of sad to come in here and see that there are so many animals that just do anything they can just to get away from their homes just because they are scared and terrified."

Sharon Davis explains that it is just the animals nature, "It's not that they hate you or that they are wanting to get away from the house but they are terrified and the result is instinct and they have to get away."

Leckington states that in Leon County, both cats and dogs must be micro-chipped, something that many pet owners do not already do.

But when lost, Davis says a micro-chip can be the difference between a lost pet and a reunion, "She got picked up by these nice people and they brought her to a vet and they were able to scan her microchip, but if she didn't have a microchip she would have been lost somewhere."

Without a micro-chip the shelter only holds dogs for six days before they become available for adoption, taken to an animal shelter, or euthanized.

However, Leckington expresses that for cats it is different, "If your cat comes in and its friendly and it doesn't have a micro chip it could get adopted in a few hours."

The shelter is urging those who are searching for their pet to come in immediately.

"People feel very guilty if they have lost the pet and don't report it until the people have returned," said Leckington, "And sometimes that's more than six days and we might have already adopted it out."

The shelter, open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., are working diligently to reunite families with their cat or dog.

If you have lost your loved one the shelter encourages the following:

  • fill out a "Lost Dog" or "Lost Cat" form
  • reach out to shelters in surrounding counties
  • post flyers in your neighborhood and others
  • be active on social media (stay updated on local lost and found pages)
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