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Maricopa County shelters take in nearly 400 animals over July 4 weekend

(Mark McQueen via AP)

PHOENIX — Officials in Maricopa County are hoping to find the owners of nearly 400 animals brought to shelters after the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control said it took in 376 animals — most of them dogs — as the holiday weekend came to a close. It was nearly 100 more than the agency found last year.

“Which is a little discouraging,” Melissa Gable with the agency said. “We were hoping that folks were learning the importance of making sure their pets were kept indoors during Fourth of July celebrations.”

Gable said a lot of owners who lost a pet have one thing in common: Their pets have nothing that would help workers track down their owners.

“Unfortunately, most of the folks that I’ve talked to over the last three days that have been in the lobby searching for their lost pets, the common denominator is ‘My pet has no form of identification’ — no collar, tags or ID,” she said.

Gable said the animals will be held for three days.

“By law, we have to hold an animal for 72 hours,” she said.”Once that stray period is up, the animal becomes the possession of Animal Care and Control.”

Once the department takes possession, an animal can be put up for adoption, rescued by another shelter or euthanized. Gable said those missing a pet need to act quickly and the shelter will even waive boarding fees it would typically charge.

“You need to come in and look for your pets,” she said. “I can’t stress the importance enough of not waiting until the weekend to come to the shelter. You need to actually come down and see if your animal is here.”

Gable also recommended using the county’s online resources, including an interactive map, to track down lost pets.

To help unclaimed dogs and cats find a new home, Maricopa County is offering a $20 adoption deal for dogs that include spaying or neutering and a microchip. Kittens are also $20, while cats over six months are free.

KTAR’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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