Animal shelters see increase in stray intakes due to Fourth of July celebrations


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Now that the Independence Day celebrations are over, many animal shelters are dealing with higher intake numbers than usual, as pets are found after getting lost or running away over the weekend.

Kat Stone, adoption manager at Young Williams Animal Center says the fireworks are a common cause of pets running away.

“The fireworks and all the noise on the fourth of July really scares the animals and a lot of them end up getting lost or running away during the fourth celebrations and they all come in on the 5th.” Stone said.

Young Williams is the municipal shelter for Knox County, so all stray animals found in the county get sent there. Their highest intake on July 5 are dogs.

“We do intakes every single day out of the year so we constantly have dogs and cats in the shelter already and then plus we get a whole big influx of new ones. So it’s kind of a race of lets get the old ones out and lets get the new ones in and lets try to get the new ones out again.” Stone said.

Due to COVID-19, visitors are not currently allowed inside the shelter. For that reason, all intakes are posted online as well as the side door of the building. If you lost a pet, you can contact Young Williams or visit their website. There, they post pictures of lost animals, with breed, age, the location they were found, ect.

Losing a pet can’t always be prevented, but Young Williams says microchipping is one way owners can ensure a safe return if they ever get separated from their pet. The service is offered at Young Williams for $15. It takes just a few minutes and causes no harm to the animal.

“With a microchip we just scan the animal and the ID number will pop up on our scanner and we’re able to contact the microchip company to contact the owner and we can reunite it with it’s owner within an hour or so of it coming in.” Stone said.

Without the microchip, it can take several days for a pet to be reunited with its owner. If you don’t live in Knox County, check shelters outside of your county. Stone says it’s common for pets to travel outside of county lines and end up in shelters far from home.

If you think you see an animal on the website that might be yours, you can call or email the intake department at or 865-215-6665.

To help with the high capacity, the shelter has committed to ‘Empty the Shelters’ with BISSELL Pet Foundation this weekend. From July 10-12, animal lovers can adopt a new best friend for $25 or less.

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