Animal shelters prepare for July 4th runaways


KALISPELL, Mont. - The 4th of July is always a busy time at the Flathead County Animal Shelter. When the fireworks go off, animals become scared and try to run away from the noises, and they often end up at the shelter.

"Well it never fails, every 4th of July the shelter always gets inundated with stray dogs and stray cats," said Niki Sevesind, Kennel Keeper at the Flathead County Animal Shelter.

Sevesind tells us that dogs and cats have much more sensitive hearing than humans. The loud noises produced by fireworks going off can spook the animals into running away as fast as they can.

The shelter does their best job to take in as many of the animals as possible, but the numbers can rise rapidly. Sevesind says a normal amount of dogs for the shelter at the end of June is around 40 to 50 dogs. Around the 4th of July those numbers can increase to as many as 80.

"It's hard to see that many dogs come into the shelter because if we have 70 to 80 dogs here at the shelter, they are going to be in crowded, stressful conditions," said Sevesind.

Each dog receives around $300 worth of medical care when they arrive at the shelter. That includes micro chipping, and vaccines. We did the math and if the shelter holds 50 dogs, they spend around $15,000 on vet bills. When the 4th of July comes around and the number of dogs tops out around 80, they can expect to spend around $24,000.

Sevesind says the best way to keep your animals safe and form running away is to keep them in a secure location.

"If you're going to leave your dog at home, don't just leave it in the backyard. Put it in a secure place where it's not going to be able to get out because it will do amazing things to try and take off," said Sevesind.

If you think your pet may have run away, you can call the shelter at 406-752-1310. You can also check out the shelters website at