Wary of an influx of stray animals fleeing noisy Fourth of July fireworks, Sacramento County's Bradshaw Animal Shelter is offering free pet microchips at an event on Saturday.
The chips, injected under an animal's skin, contain identifying information that can help lost pets reunite with their owners.
The event will take place at the shelter at 3839 Bradshaw Road between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 23.
The city of Sacramento's Front Street Shelter, meanwhile, is offering "amnesty" to any dog or cat that winds up at the shelter "through no fault of its own" beginning Wednesday, said shelter manager Gina Knepp. Those pets can be redeemed by their owners at no charge.
The shelter also will be partnering with TNT, offering coupons at fireworks stands that can be turned into the shelter for free microchips.
Front Street, Bradshaw and other shelters are bracing for their busiest weeks of the year, when the bangs and pops of celebratory fireworks frighten animals and send them running. Many wind up in shelters and never are reclaimed by their owners.
Last year, the Bradshaw shelter took in 647 stray cats and dogs during the first two weeks of July, 124 more than during the same period in June, said spokeswoman Janna Haynes. Most strays carry no identification and "sadly, many are never returned to their owners, putting more stress on our already overcrowded shelter," she said.
At Front Street, pet owners can buy microchips for $5 throughout the year, "but if someone is not able to afford that, we are more than happy to provide one" for free, said manager Gina Knepp.
The Bradshaw facility and other shelters around the country offer the following tips for keeping pets safe during the fireworks season:
- Keep pets indoors and away from celebrations where fireworks may occur.
- Turn on a television or radio in your home to muffle the effects of nearby fireworks.
- Consider boarding your pet if you are traveling during the holiday.
- Make sure dogs and cats are wearing their license and ID tags and have microchips.