Why you need to adopt or foster this Fourth of July

These pups are ready for the holiday. But many pets are spooked by fireworks, and can run away in fear.
These pups are ready for the holiday. But many pets are spooked by fireworks, and can run away in fear.
(Straublund Photography / Getty Images)

The city of Los Angeles is waiving dog adoptions fees through Tuesday as it prepares for shelters in and around L.A. to be filled beyond capacity with lost animals who become frightened by Fourth of July fireworks and run away.

The city is making an impassioned plea for volunteers to adopt a pet this weekend, or foster one for a few days: It’s not exaggerating to say available space can make the difference between life and death for many animals.

“While many people are out celebrating, the shelters will be flooded with scared pets,” Brenda Barnette, general manager of the city’s animal services department, said in a statement. “Our hope is that animal lovers in Los Angeles will open their home and hearts to help orphaned pets. If you aren’t ready to adopt, fostering is a great way to see what it’s like to have a four-legged addition to your family.”


Over the last three years, the shelters took in over 1,000 animals each year between July 2 and July 6.

By giving an abandoned pet a new home or letting them stay with you for a short time, you are saving two lives — the one being cared for by you and the one who now has room at the shelter, according to the city’s Animal Services.

To help spur dog adoptions on this critical weekend, fees will be waived. (City residents must still pay licensing fees.)

To volunteer to foster in Los Angeles, download the application at Many other shelters have similar offerings and all call it Foster the Fourth: Just find the city animal shelter nearest you.

In Los Angeles, shelters are open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed Mondays and the Fourth of July.

Protect your pet on the Fourth of July


-- Keep animals indoors when fireworks are underway.

-- Don’t leave animals alone. Animals that are scared have been known to jump, dig, chew or claw their way out of holding areas. And who needs all that damage? If you have to be out, consider a pet sitter.

-- When taking your pet outdoors, be alert. A dog frightened by fireworks can catch you off guard and bolt.

-- Make sure you pet has a collar and I.D. tags, so you can be reunited. (If your pet is not microchipped, or registered with your city, this is a gentle nudge.)

-- Talk to your vet about possible sedatives, or alternatives such as the Thundershirt, that can help ease your pet’s anxiety during this stressful period.