Marion County warns of critically full dog shelter ahead of July 4th

A dog awaiting adoption at a Salem shelter (Courtesy/Willamette Humane Society)

Director of Marion County Dog Services Melissa Gable is trying to be proactive ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. The shelter, located at 3550 Aumsville Highway S.E., is at critical capacity.

“I have two dogs in my office right now to try and make space,” she said, noting that out of 40 available kennels, only eight are unoccupied.

And that’s before fireworks start going off, sending dogs running.

“Fourth of July and the days surrounding it are the busiest for animal shelters across the nation,” Gable said. “So we are bracing for that and trying to be proactive by sharing safety tips.”

The first tip? Don’t leave your dog outside. Even in fenced yards, dogs spooked by fireworks will often dig under fences or use items in the yard to climb and jump over the fence. 

“They just want to get out,” Gable said. 

If a dog is found, Gable said the first step does not have to be the shelter. Dogs who are microchipped can be checked at any veterinarian’s office for owner information. Additionally, Gable said most lost dogs wander within a mile of their home.

“Neighbors can try, if it’s safe, to find the family on their own,” Gable said. 

Dog owners, Gable said, should take the time to make sure their pet has identification including a license tag. 

The shelter can provide information on an animal’s owner based on the license number. 

“We can give them that information over the phone,” Gable said. “They don’t even have to come down to the shelter.” 

Lost dogs can also be viewed at the shelter’s website.

-Caitlyn May