Blame summer storms and Fourth of July fireworks for an uptick in the number of animals dropped off at the Austin Animal Center in recent days.
Fireworks and thunderstorms can trigger dogs and cats to run away because they are scared and confused by the noise.
The center took in almost 380 animals — including 212 dogs, 162 cats and 3 birds — between July 4 and Tuesday, center spokeswoman Jennifer Olohan said. During a similar period last year, the center took in 187 dogs and 155 cats, she said.
On the Fourth of July alone, the center took in 54 animals. Last year, 47 animals were dropped off during the holiday. This week, on a stormy Monday, 59 animals were taken in, Olohan said.
But on normal day without rainy weather or fireworks, only 10 to 15 animals are typically dropped off at the center.
The influx of animals means the center is now overflowing with furry friends. Center officials have had to double up on dogs and cats in kennels, and some animals are being housed in meeting rooms to help save space, Olohan said.
The animal center can hold 544 animals, but it is currently holding 700, Olohan said, but around 400 animals are being fostered to 100 families.
Animal care costs the center about $40 a day for each critter, she said.
Adoption and reclaiming fees will be waived through Sunday. The center also wants more foster families for dogs using pop-up crates. Those looking to foster a dog can sign up at the center and be eligible to take the animal home the same day, Olohan said.
“Summer is a really high intake time,” Olohan said.
Looking to adopt an animal?
The Austin Animal Center is waiving its adoption and reclaiming fees through July 15.
The center is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 7201 Levander Loop in Building A.
Adoption fees are normally $75 for cats and dogs, and includes spay or neutering, vaccines, a microchip, and a collar and tag for dogs.
If you want to foster an animal, you can fill out an online application or go to the center and sign up.
To reclaim your lost pet, you’ll need to bring proof of ownership, like vet records or photo identification, to the animal center.