Fireworks are Over but Rover’s Not Home Yet

The Fourth of July celebrations are over but dozens of dogs who ran away over the weekend were still waiting at the County’s three animal shelters Monday for their owners.

The holiday is typically one of the busiest times for County Animal Services because dogs panic during fireworks and run off. This year was no exception and Animal Control Officers worked through the night to rescue lost dogs. The officers serve the County’s unincorporated areas and the six contract cities of San Diego, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Santee.

Over the holiday weekend, 67 dogs came into the shelters compared to the prior weekend’s total of 37. Last year, 83 dogs were rescued over the holiday weekend.

The shelters are normally closed on Sunday but they offered limited hours on July 5 this year so owners could pick up their dogs. Only 18 dogs were reunited with their owners. Another four dozen are still waiting.

Owners who are looking for their pets can check the department’s website lost and found page to see if they recognize a picture of their dog. The pictures are posted in real time, so photos go up immediately when the animal is kenneled at the shelter. Owners can also call (619) 767-2675 to see if Animal Services has their dog and get their pets when the shelters open again Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

If you happen to find a lost animal, make sure the dog stays safe by trying to contain the dog on your property. Most dogs are friendly and can be lured into a safe area using a treat of some sort. Once the dog is secure, call Animal Services and an officer will be dispatched to handle the call. Animal Services says anyone looking for their pet can also check with the free app called Finding Rover to see if their dog is pictured there. The app uses facial recognition for lost and found dogs and is used by County Animal Services and the public.

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“The best way to protect your dog from getting lost is to license your pet and make sure he is microchipped. Finally, register your dog with Finding Rover,” said Animal Services Deputy Director Dan DeSousa. “Those are the three things that will help bring Rover home.”

Animal Control Officers will check to see if an animal is microchipped when they pick one up in the field. If so, and if there isn’t a priority call waiting, then they will immediately take the pet back to their home. Each of the three shelters offers a microchipping clinic from 1 to 3 p.m. every Thursday. If you’re interested in getting one for your pet, microchips cost $10 each and include registration.


Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact