July 4th is NOT your pet’s favorite holiday!
July 4th is upon us, and throughout the country celebrations are gearing up to bring us loads of fun, food, and fireworks.
While the public may be enjoying the festivities, our pets are not. More animals are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year and noisy fireworks are to blame. Because of the noise, they can become frightened and escape backyards and even break out of windows from inside homes in search of a safe haven.
A local Facebook page, Central Texas Lost and Found Pets are an active group, and their village goes beyond assisting those who have missing or have found wandering pets. They also aid surrounding shelters and are huge supporters of HSCT.
I invited the current admins to give a bit of history about the page, and also offer advice on how to keep your pet secure, what to do if your pet is lost over the 4th, and how to handle the situation if you find a roaming, frightened pet: i.e. keeping it out of the overflowing shelters.
First, let’s meet these selfless volunteers who dedicate their time and themselves to help the community protect our roving family members
Founder, Tiffany Green
I began to follow the Waco shelter Facebook page during the summer of 2012. The intake numbers were incredibly high, and one of the main reasons was because owners were not reclaiming their pets.
I couldn’t believe it.
The unnecessary large number of pets and strays entering the shelter generated my decision to create a group where people could share their missing or found animals with hopes to reduce HSCT flow coming in.
The first year was fairly slow, we started off with just a few members. Since then, we have grown considerably. Our following is now over 25,000, and we add about 1000 new members every month. Daily posts are up to 10-20 a day and more on holidays and during storms.
We work closely with area shelters and animal controls. Our group cover seven counties, McLennan, Hill, Bosque, Falls, Bell, Limestone, and Coryell, and we are in constant contact, assisting in matching reported lost pets who’ve entered their facilities with their owners.
We’ve grown large enough that we’re offering 10$ microchip. Micro-chipping is a safety feature every companion animals needs to have, it gets them home much quicker. Many of our members are armed with Microchip scanners. They spend their time and money traveling to scan a found pet and return it to their owners. Generous members also donate to the vet care of many found pets, and have saved many lives.
We’ve repeatedly seen that it truly takes a village to reunite a family, and our village is the best. We’ve had many amazing admins and moderators on our team who have come and gone, but each have left their mark. We are thankful for each one.
I lived in McLennan county for 9 years. We left in 2013 and moved to Minnesota. The group was still fairly new, and I wasn’t ready to just walk away, so I continued to work from afar. I’ve been married for 10 years. I have a six-year-old daughter, and a 10-year-old yellow lab. I left a large piece of my heart in central Texas, and it will always be a home to my family. I will continue to work hard for the animals of central Texas!
The explosion in West, Texas happened a short time after I created the group. We attempted to be a hub for missing pets and for others found in the town. We were such a small army, our help was minimal, but we did contribute. Knowing how much we’ve grown, I am confident that we would be an prepared in an emergency, and we’d be an asset to city shelters and animal control.
Tiffany Green, founder of Central Texas Lost and Found Pets.
I started following CTLAFP shortly after the West Fertilizer Plant Explosion. I lived in the area and was struggling to find ways to help. I found the Facebook group and noticed the countless dogs brought to the shelter, most likely separated from their families after the accident.
I shared their photos, hoping to reunite lost pups with their owners. The group began to expand during those months, and countless displaced pets were returned to their homes. Witnessing those heartwarming reunions, especially with people who lost everything, was breathtaking.
At that point, I was hooked. Tiffany asked me to help admin shortly after I moved out of the region. I was honored and jumped at the opportunity. Thanks to this wonderful group, I have met some amazing people and made bonds that’ll never break.
The Waco Shelter is just one of the many shelters we help. But HSCT staff are closest to my heart. We spend hours every day sharing and praying. We cry when shelter dogs are lost, and we rejoice when they are saved through adoption, foster, or rescue.
This group is more than a village of animal lovers. We are family. Jenny Luper
I’m Kayla and I began CTLAFP journey in March of 2016. I initially joined to help return pets to their owners and get them safely back into their homes. My positioned altered after I rescued a stray husky in the pouring rain.
It was then my status changed from just assisting to admin. Shortly after I rescued another northern breed on the side of the highway. This occurrence propelled my need to learn more, support the husky breed, and educate the public.
Since I’ve joined this great group, I have fostered over 25+ pets. My involvement with CTLAFP has been a satisfying and rewarding experience. I can’t find anything more fulfilling than returning a pet to their family or keeping them safe until they are placed in a forever home.
It takes patience and a true love for animals to do what we do. Our amazing members sustain us as we continue to grow. We love the difference we are making as a team. Through it all, we’ve gained strong friendships and irreplaceable bonds with numerous fur babies!! Kayla Reyes
I became a member of this group when it was in the beginning stages, boasting only a few hundred members. I wasn’t active until a couple of years ago when a Code Red plea came from our local Humane Society. They were out of space and needed help saving dogs. I reached out that day and became foster to Silas.
Although I didn’t plan on fostering more than one dog, I ended up gaining a second. Mack appeared on my road a few weeks later. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find his owners, but with Tiffany’s help, he was eventually adopted into an amazing family.
After that, I fostered most of the strays that showed up near my home, which increased my activity on the CTLAFP page. I’d offer helpful advice and try to match lost and found pets, and search for the owners of my sweet fosters.
This page has motivated me into becoming involved in the rescue world. My fosters are dogs off our site. Along with fostering, I transport, rescue, and volunteer. Dozens of dogs have stayed in my home, some hang around up to a year before finding their families, and for others, it’s mere hours and a rescue will step up and agree to take them.
As an admin, I host adoption events, microchip clinics, assist in managing our main page, adoptable page, and the foster page. It’s a lot of work, but enjoy every second!
Everything that I do is for the animals. I want to see every cat and dog go to loving homes or to be reunited with their families. Erin Castillo
I grew up in the country and seeing “dumped” pets was normal. Several years ago, I saw an emaciated dog walking down the road. I thought to myself, he needs help, but how can I help?
Animal control is closed, it’s nighttime. I don’t know what I to do. Why did I even care? This was normal, right?
We had just brought home our first dog. He was a puppy, and this was all new to me. I couldn’t bring home a big, ill homeless dog.
But this poor animal compelled me to start researching lost pets. Unfortunately, those sites didn’t exist at that time. Years passed, I created a Facebook account, and I scrolled down my news feed, and I see someone is searching for two missing dogs.
Once again I conducted a study. I discovered a few social media pages, but those involved were from a different world. The pages were full of drama, and the conversations were inappropriate and unbecoming. I did not find them helpful.
Eventually, I came across CTLAFP, only it was a group. Still new to FB, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to become a member. But I watched them. I could read, but because I wasn’t a member, I could not comment.
Every day I would check to find out the newest posts. People who commented actually loved their pets (like I love mine) were missing them dearly. Everyone was respectful and their emotion’s radiated.
The organization impressed me. If I wanted to see an update, I read the original post, I didn’t have to search for the latest information. It was all right there for me to search! People celebrated happy endings…wait…what…the admin truly wanted to help, and the members were a family.
One day Titan, a beautiful lab went missing after a car accident. Everyone rallied to find him…and I witnessed an extraordinarily special feat. I had to join, so I became a member. In the beginning I wasn’t active, but read every post.
Admin hosted an event at Gander Mountain last year, they asked if any members were available to keep an eye out on the page. I was free, and I was hooked. I felt like I was making a difference. Soon after, I became a moderator, and a year later, an admin.
I’ve learned so much. A dog found in the country is not always “dumped”. Strays are usually lost pets trying to find their way home, and always chip check (even if it’s a kitten).
To this day, I can still see that emaciated dog, only now I know how to help if the encounter ever occurs again.
Every day is something new. We learn, we grow, we laugh, we cry and we do it together. I understand Tiffany’s vision, which became a reality, and we’re making a difference and helping the voiceless. Krissa Ferguson
I spent the better part of 25 years in Central Texas and came across Central Texas Lost & Found Pets while helping another local northern breed (huskies, malamutes, etc.) rescue and adoption group.
Part of my responsibilities was to locate these specific breeds, raise awareness, and publicize the obligations when owning this type of dog. I also posted lost, found, and shelter pups.
Northern breeds placed in shelters were extremely high and many I shared to my other group came from CTLAFP. Eventually, I was asked to assist CTLAFP, but I was worried I wouldn’t have time to commit to both. Later, I joined CTLAFP as a mod, and then as an admin, and I’ve never looked back.
We call our members a “village” and the surrounding communities that makes up our Village. Members blow me away with their tenacity, compassion, and generosity. We have grown into a family, and like all families, we’ve experienced our ups and downs.
From the elation of finding a pet that’s been missing for years or grieving the death of an animal a member rushed to the ER. Our souls are poured into this group, the members, and (most importantly) those that can’t speak for themselves: the pets.
I am honored and humbled to serve the voiceless, and have gained some fabulous sisters along the way. Those I serve with are some of my closest friends, and I will always treasure and celebrate our friendship. Courtney Camejo
Kathryn our friend and rescue sister, isn’t with us today… but her infectious smile and love for these animals drives us to continue the work that she so passionately committed her time in Waco to. Two organizations were lucky enough to call her their hero: The Humane Society of Central Texas, and Texas Cattle Dog Rescue. In her short 1.5 years in Waco, she fostered over 30 dogs for these organizations, including one special dog named Sarah who captured her heart and stayed with Kathryn until the last moment. Kathryn fought an incredible battle with cancer and will remain forever a CTLAFP Admin.
Avoid tragedy and protect your furry family member!
According to national statistics, animal control officials across the country see a 30-60% increase in lost pets each year between July 4th and 6th. In fact, July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for shelters.
Statistics also show that only 14% of lost pets are returned to their owners. What’s even sadder is many pets will never make it out of the shelter or back home. Inexperienced and frightened, a large number will die in the streets because they are confused and their inability to dodge oncoming traffic, or because they travel so far, they’re never found.
Pro activity helps.
Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification tags with up-to-date information. If you have horses, you might consider marking a safety (breakaway) halter with your contact information and leaving it on your horse during this stressful time.
If your pets aren’t already microchipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. Waco and CTLAFP hold affordable clinics often. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.
If your pets are microchipped, make sure your contact information is up to date on the registry.
Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs, and horses – just in case.
If your pet has historically been anxious on this holiday, or if you have reason to expect potentially harmful reactions, consider behavioral therapy to desensitize your pet and reduce the risk of problems. Some pets may need medication. Consult your veterinarian.
Make sure the environment is safe and secure. How?
Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away
Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
Keep your pets inside. Leave on a radio, television, or anything loud enough to help drown out the loud noises
Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal, and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
If you’re traveling out of town for the holiday, consider leaving your pets at home with a pet sitter or boarding them in a kennel. If you need to bring them with you, be sure you know how to keep them safe.
A Message from Central Texas Lost and Found Pets:
Secure your pets before the 4th. They don’t understand fireworks and to them it’s loud, bright and scary. 4th of July is the biggest day for our group and we worry weeks in advance about the number pets that will get out and possibly not make it home the way they left . We scanned more deceased pets last year on the 5th then the entire month of June.
If your pet does escape or you find a lost pet:
Ask us for help. We are always glad to see if we can find a foster, scan for a chip or network to get a found pet home. It’s what makes it all worth it. Getting that pet home safe and quick.
Local shelters, including the Humane Society of Central Texas are already experiencing large intakes due to early firework mayhem. No one wants animals put down and personnel are scrambling to keep everyone safe until their forever family comes.
But they can only do so much.
We, as a community must also do our part.
(Note: surrendering any animal to the shelter will involve a fee, even if the pet does not belong to you) Avoid tragedy and protect your furry family member!
Newest Urgents and those still waiting! The following animals lives are on the line, and may not be here after July 5th.
Step up and adopt or sign up to foster.
Save a life
As of Saturday, July 1st, all urgents are sponsored and FREE to adopt to approved adopters.
NOTE: Have a staff member or volunteer take your potential adoptee out of the kennel and to the play area. They learn behaviors and tend to jump to get noticed, but they are not normally jumpy dogs. Give them a chance to show you who they are, and don’t discount the shy ones. They all just want to go home with you.
My name is Tammy. At seven months old, I’m the baby of the urgent group. I’m a delightful little girl. I acted like a perfect angle during my photo shoot. I obeyed all commands, walked well on a leash, and when I was inside my kennel, I gave everyone tons of sweet kisses.
I must confess, I have had some behavior issues in the past, but HSCT resident trainer, Chris has been working on improving my disposition and says in time, I’ll be a fine addition to a family, and my issues will stay in the past. I’ve been here since 4/10/17 and I’m ready to make a fresh start toward my new future.
So how about giving me a chance to prove what an awesome, lovable, girl I am? It just takes patience. Trust me, you’ll find me irresistible once you get to know me. You can find me in my Kennel Y031, and my ID # is A075044. I’m Tammy, a Female, Labrador mix, and I’m a delight! Come meet me!
Ladies and gentlemen!
My name is Tango and I’m a dapper gent with loads of curiosity and oodles of charm. (Oh, and I’m possibly potty trained.) As you can see, I’m a dressed for success kind of guy, with my smart, black coat and my feet are white, like I’m wearing spats. While I am a bit on the bigger side, I’m not at all jumpy or over excitable, and I can be quite friendly. Mainly, I just like to chill while looking my best, of course!
Yeah, my kennel mates make fun of me for being dressed up all the time, but hey, a guy’s got to be prepared. My forever family may be right around the corner, and I want to be ready. Actually, I am ready! I’ve been here since 4/1/17, and that’s a really long time. Though the staff here is wonderful, I’ve overstayed my welcome, and I’m hoping to be adopted soon.
If you’d like an introduction, come to Kennel D071. My ID number is A076239. I’m Tango, I’m a stylish 2-year-old, Male, American Staff Mix, and I’m ready to go home.
Hello Madam’s & Sir’s
I’m Cadet, and I’m extending a canine salute. Like my name suggests, I obey orders when given. I sit when told, march perfect on a leash, (I’m never out of step) and I don’t hop on my commanding officer.
But when I’m at ease, I’m a laid-back fellow, who just wants to be loved. Because I’m a bigger guy, it’s hard to tell that I’m the sensitive type, especially with a name like Cadet, but I’m extremely calm and perceptive. I should be a great fit in any family, and I’m certainly ready to become a civilian, and just be a pal.
You see, I’ve been on my tour of duty here at the shelter since 5/4/17 and I’m eager to receive my furlough and settle down. Can you give me my discharge papers and take me home? I’m Cadet. I’m a 2 1/2-year-old, Male, Pittie Mix. My kennel # is YO32 and my ID tag is A076713.
Hey, I’m Aspen. As my name suggest, I’m a casual girl that strolls in like a cool breeze after a hot summer day. I’m tall, sleek, and quite the beauty, and while I could use a bit of leash training, I’m a lovely sight wherever I go.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m more than a pretty face. I’m interested in the world around me. I love exploring, and seeing what I can discover. The problem is, I’ve traveled the entire shelter, (I’ve been here since 4/20/17), and it’s nice and all, but I want to move on and investigate other things. What would make my situation even better is if I had a partner to go sightseeing with me.
Is that you? I’d so love to find an active home with a bunch of corners for me to sniff. Come by and meet me. I’m in Kennel Y030 and my ID# is A076513. I’m Aspen, a 2-year-old, Female, Lab. I’m also already sprayed.
Hey man! The name’s Satchmo, and I’m a jazzy guy, a bit on the shy side, but once I come out of my shell, you’ll find that I’m a pretty cool dude to hang out with. I’m easy going, walk nice on a leash, and I like to have a good time, although I won’t be the life of the party, I’d rather spend time with my person on the sidelines.
Problem? I don’t have a person yet, and I’ve been waiting since 5/3/17 for someone to come find me. I don’t understand why they haven’t. I’m such a pleasant boy. I’m very handsome, mid-size, and not too high energy. I just like to explore my surroundings and then settle on the sofa,
Do you have room for me? Head on over and see if we jell. I bet we will. I’m Satchmo. I’m a 2-year-old, Male, Lab Mix. I’m in Kennel Y023 and my ID # is A076690.
Hi! Hi! My name is Harper, and I’m the cutest, sweetest little girl with a funny personality! I like everybody, including other dogs. I full of fun, and I have the friendliest smile! I can’t wait to find me a home and spread my cuteness everywhere!
Besides being a cutie, I’m a great leash, walker and I really enjoy playing, but I’m medium energy, so I won’t drive my family crazy by requiring a lot of exercise. I just need a bit of ball time and I’m good. I’m awesome cuddle bug, too, I just need someone to cuddle with. I’ve been at the shelter since 4/25/17, and it’s time I find my snuggle buddy.
So, won’t you come get me and cuddle with me? Come find me at Kennel Y007 and my ID# is A076597. I’m Harper, Female, 2-year-old, Lab Mix.
Hidey Ho! My name is Kuma! I am a super calm lady who has a huge smile and great personality. I’m so happy, I grin all the time. I love being with people, and I give the best hugs, but do I like interacting with other dogs? Not so much. If you’re looking for a single girl, I’m definitely the one you want to choose.
As you can see, I have a beautiful, dark copper coat that shimmers in the sunshine. I’m a mid-sized pup and in great shape, I’d be perfect for apartment living. I’m curious, but medium energy, and would enjoy a daily stroll since I walk quite well on a leash. Unfortunately, I don’t get out as much as I’d like, because I don’t have my own family, yet. I’ve been waiting here a while, (4/9/17) to find my new home.
How about I come live in yours? Come visit me and let’s chat. I’m in Kennel Y005 and my ID # is A076330. My name is Kuma, I’m a 3-year-old Female, Pittie mix. See you soon!
Consider adding one of these wonderful dogs to your family, and don’t overlook those gorgeous black dogs! There are far too many in need.
Don’t let these wonderful dogs become a 4th of July statistic. Give them the chance they deserve. Go adopt!
These five were recently added to the urgent list. We will be taking new photos and adding new bios next week, but don’t let that stop you from meeting these amazing pups and consider adding one to your family.
(Click on the photo for names)
Look who was adopted!
While intake was heavy and lives are still at risk, HSCT did have a lot of adoptions this past week. Here are a few of the lucky ones who are relaxing in their forever homes.
Everybody have a wonderful holiday, but before you begin your celebration, share this information far and wide. Lets keep our beloved fur family members safe and at home during this 4th;
Author, Debra Jupe, Content Editor, Daniela Ranzinger, Photographer, Cynthia Favreau