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Fourth aftermath: Runaway dogs fill Bend shelter


The day after the Fourth of July, for many people, means discounted fireworks. But for the Humane Society of Central Oregon, it’s their staff’s busiest day of the year.

Bend resident Don Young came to the shelter Tuesday morning to claim his dog, Pugsy.

“She went away with the fireworks,” Young said. “You know, it’s like your child being gone.”

Pugsy is just one of the many dogs that run away around the Fourth of July every year from when they are spooked by loud noises, like fireworks.

“About three days prior to Fourth of July is when we start seeing the dogs arrive and the cats arrive,” said Lynne Ouchida, communications director for HSCO.

The humane society says it takes an average of three stray dogs per week — and since Friday, it has received 37 dogs. That’s more than 12 times the weekly average.

Ouchida said about half of those pets have been claimed, but many are still waiting for their owner.

“There is an astronomical increase, and we simply depend on people to claim their animals, so we have space for those coming in,” Ouchida said.

While the number of strays skyrockets this time of year, Ouchida said as a whole, fewer animals are running away.

“The numbers are way down from 10 years ago, so the community is becoming more educated. But there is still a ways to go,” Ouchida said. “Bottom line is, we just want to see that the animals are back with their families and happy.”

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