ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- Ector County Animal Control has a warning for pet owners ahead of the holiday, it’s all in an effort to make sure no one has to face the loss of a beloved pet.

“After the Fourth of July, we do get a lot more calls on stray animals or loose dogs and cats,” said Animal Control Supervisor Luz Barreraz.

According to the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, animals that go missing and are picked up by County officials, are at risk for being euthanized after three days. Unlike the City run animal shelter, the County doesn’t have a facility to hold missing pets beyond three days. Ector County Animal Control said they try to place the animals they pick up with a local shelter, but many times, there isn’t room.

“We’re at the mercy of other shelters,” said Barreraz. “We don’t have our own shelter…so when we pick up an animal, we try to reach out to other shelters and other counties for help to hold an animal longer, but sometimes they can’t help.”

Barreraz said if other shelters can’t help, then it becomes increasingly important for pet owners to reach out to Animal Control to see if their missing pet is there so they can claim their furry friend as quickly as possible. 

“We now have a Facebook page. We’re trying to reconnect owners with their animals because we hate to have to euthanize anyone’s pet,” she said.

You can follow that Facebook page here

Aside from monitoring Facebook, Barreraz said it’s important for pet owners to microchip their pets and make sure that information is updated when needed. She also recommended making sure collars and tags have updated information. For livestock, Barreraz recommended keeping a harness on your animal and said owners should use a marker to write owner information on the harness. She said Animal Control will always contact the owner before bringing an animal to their facility if they are able to determine who owns the animal.

“Our first goal is to reunite the animal with the owner,” she said. 

Because the County sees an increase in pets who run away in early July, possibly from fear of fireworks, Barreraz offered these July 4th safety tips for pet owners:

  • Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
  • Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
  • Keep horses and livestock in safely fenced areas and as far from the excitement and noise as possible.
  • If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
  • Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.

If your pet goes missing, and you want to see if your pet has been picked up by Animal Control, call 432-335-3050 as soon as you are able.