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County animal shelter sees fewer lost dogs this Fourth of July

Dog A1686743 stood shy and unsure inside kennel 224.

Apparently spooked by Fourth of July fireworks, the Australian shepherd was found running near the I-5 freeway in San Juan Capistrano. He, and 16 other dogs from around the county, were taken to the OC Animal Care facility in Tustin over the holiday weekend. So far half of them have been reunited with their owners.

“This is significantly less than the last couple of years,” Jessica Novillo, the agency’s spokeswoman, said of the runaway dogs.  “The decrease is likely the fact that many pet owners stayed home during the holiday.”



“Because dogs hear a wider range of frequencies than humans, fireworks makes it a difficult time for them,” Novillo said.

She said information and photos for the dogs brought to the shelter is keep up-to-date on the website.

“Additionally, if someone finds a dog and can care for them temporarily while they search for their owner, they can report the pet to us and we’ll post it on our Reported Found Page as well,” she added.

Nikolette Valdez, leash in hand, showed up at the center Monday afternoon to retrieve Oly, the shy Australian shepherd.

Neighbors had spotted his sad mug on the center’s website.

“I never would have thought to look out here in Tustin,” about 30 miles from her San Clemente home, she said.

“Animal Control officers try to get dogs back to owners before even bringing them back to the facility,” Novillo said. But Oly was not wearing any identification and was not microchipped.

“This is a rare thing,” Valdez said, hypothesizing that the dog jumped over a fence, onto a pool filter and then over another fence about 8 feet tall, while Valdez was working her restaurant job.

After Valdez showed proof of ownership, filled out paperwork and paid $259.62, she was reunited with her “goofy, athletic, mama’s boy.” Oly bolted out of the center’s doors and into Valdez’ arms. He rolled over and cried when he saw her.

The 3-year-old blue Merle is “like a brother” to her 5-year-old nephew, Valdez said.

Check the pets that have been found here.

Generally, if a pet is tagged or microchipped, the agency will hold an animal for 10 days for the owner to claim them and then they are made available for adoption, Novillo. If the pet does not have any kind of identification they can be put up for adoption after four days.

Source: Orange County Register

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