Austin Animal Center bracing for influx of dogs


AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a good news, bad news situation for the Austin Animal Center.

They found homes for nearly 600 dogs last week, with help from Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society. They now have open kennels for the first time in almost a year.

The bad news? This is one of the busiest weeks of the year.

The 4th of July, and the accompanying fireworks trigger a flood of dogs into the shelters.

AAC spokesperson Jennifer Olohan said they had about five empty kennels on the morning before the 4th.

“It’s definitely the best position we’ve been in going into 4th of July in a while, but that space is going to go quick,” Olohan says.

Dog looks through bars of a kennel at Austin Animal Center. (KXAN Photo/John Dabkovich)

She says the shelter takes in about 40 dogs on an average day, but in the days after the 4th they can see as many as 80 dogs come through the doors. Usually, they’re strays that ran away, frightened by the fireworks.

The shelter took in 373 animals between July 5-10 last year, according to Olohan.

This year could be worse than others. With the holiday falling on a Thursday, many neighbors could see fireworks Wednesday through Sunday night.

What if your dog runs away?

Dog waits for adoption at Austin Animal Center. (KXAN Photo/John Dabkovich

Olohan says to check the Austin Animal Center website. They post pictures of all the dogs they take in. If you don’t see your dog on the website, she recommends going into the shelter.

Don’t just wait for your dog to come home on their own. Austin Animal Center only holds animals for three days before they adopt them out. If you don’t find your dog at the shelter, keep checking. Olohan says some dogs are so frightened by the fireworks, they will hide for up to a week before seeking out humans.

What if you find a dog?

Dog barks for attention at Austin Animal Center. (KXAN Photo/John Dabkovich)

Call 311. AAC will send someone out to see if they can find the owner. Olohan says the majority of dogs are found within 1/10 of a mile from their home. In many case, the officer will be able to find the owner without ever having to take the dog to the shelter.

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