Austin Animal Center overcrowded, officials expect influx over holiday weekend

Are your ready for the fireworks this Fourth of July? Your pet is less enthusiastic about all the noise.

Every year, pets run away and local shelters fill up after Independence Day.

This year, the situation is much more dire. The Austin Animal Shelter is already at capacity.

The Memorial Day floods not only affected the lives of people in Central Texas, but their pets as well.

“We are over capacity right now,” said Tawny Hammond, Chief Animal Services Director, City of Austin.

Right now the Austin Animal Center is 62 dogs, and 41 cats over their limit. The influx caused them to create an overflow room to temporarily house incoming animals. Frances baker is one of many who came to look for their dogs.

“She's been missing for four days I've been really worried about her because she was sick,” said Baker, dog owner.

AAC officials say the upcoming holiday weekend is not expected to make things any better

“The loud sounds, the celebrations scare them. They jump out of the yards, they get loose, they could be hit by cars,” said Hammond.

Hammond says it's important to remember what can startle your pet.

“Some animals are not fazed by fireworks, but most are. We're asking people to bring their animals indoors for Fourth of July, and even the day before and the day after.

The center says even though cats may behave more independently, they still can be skittish when the fireworks go off.

“They're more prone to hiding under something for a while,” said Lauralei Combs, Spokesperson, Austin Animal Center.

Other shelters in the area are experiencing the same overcrowding problems. The Austin Animal Center says their urging pet owners to keep pets inside because it's the only way to assure it won't be added to the long list of pets flooding the center's doors.

“We are begging people to refrain from bringing their dogs to celebrations and parks and fireworks displays, it's just not appropriate,” said Hammond.

They also say the time to adopt is now. Between now and July 31, the AAC, Austin Pets Alive, and the Austin Humane Society are all offering $25 adoption fees. Hammond says, this Fourth of July weekend is a time to think about the four-legged members of the family, before you enjoy the festivities.

“What we ask is that folks think about their furry family members, their cats and their dogs, and help protect them because we know they're important to them. You just need to think about the unthinkable,” said Hammond.

The adoption fee includes the pet being spayed or  neutered, vaccinated, and a getting a micro-chip placed in.