Volunteer Day at Oak Ridge Animal Shelter on Saturday

Oak Ridge Animal Shelter

The Oak Ridge Animal Shelter on Belgrade Road is pictured above.

More pets go missing around July 4 than at any other time of year, and noisy fireworks are to blame.

While many of us enjoy the sights and sounds of big fireworks, our pets are often terrified by the loud noises and can become frantic and run away, trying to find a safe haven. According to national statistics, animal control officials across the country see a 30-60 percent increase in lost pets each year from July 4-6.

Julie Armes, the supervisor for the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter, said July 5 is their busiest day of the year.

“People are coming in or calling, looking for their lost pets or bringing in pets they’ve found,” Armes said. “Sadly, many pet owners never come in to retrieve their dogs or cats.”

Many of these animals won’t make it back to their owners, and will be euthanized if a new home isn’t found. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, or ASPCA, 98 percent of lost cats and 80-85 percent of lost dogs never get to see their families again.

To help out, Daryl Smith, an engineer at Y-12 National Security Complex and volunteer with the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter and the Shelter Animal Rescue Group, or SARG, has organized a special Volunteer Day at the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter on July 6.

WHO: Volunteers of all ages are needed. Bring your family and friends. Kids are welcome with an adult.

WHAT: Volunteer day at Oak Ridge Animal Shelter with SARG to take care of strays during the busiest time of year. Activities will include:

  • Bathing, drying, and grooming dogs and cats, preparing them for adoption
  • Walking dogs
  • Playing with stray cats and puppies
  • Cleaning up the shelter, preparing for the big adoption week (July 7-14)
  • Working with the front desk employees, helping with animal influx and matching animals with owners

WHEN: Saturday, July 6, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Some volunteers will be needed for setup at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: Oak Ridge Animal Shelter, 395 Belgrade Rd, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, (865) 425-3423

WHAT TO BRING: SARG will provide a tent, washing stations, shampoo, leashes, and other necessary items. They can use extra supplies, however. Please consider bringing these optional supplies with you:

  • Bathing suit and change of clothes (you will get wet)
  • Leashes
  • A stool to sit on while washing
  • Lawn chairs for volunteers or people coming to play with animals (and possibly adopt!)
  • Old towels for drying the animals
  • Treats (dogs and cats)
  • Toys to give to the animals (even old toys will entertain them during the long days to come while they’re sitting in cages waiting to be adopted)
  • Blow dryers with extension cord and plug-bar if possible. These will be available, but extras would be great.
  • General cleaning supplies to clean the shelter: paper towels, ammonia-free surface cleaners, garbage bags
  • And of course, donations from your friends and family to help the shelter with expenses relating to caring for these animals.

If you don’t have time to volunteer, you can also bring in your dog to be washed for a donation to the effort.

To volunteer and for more information, contact Daryl Smith at [email protected] or (865) 951-5335.

See this guest column for four simple tips on how to keep pets safe during the July 4 holiday, plus a few bonus tips on how to find a lost pet.



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  • Kay Williamson

    you know animals that run off due to the fireworks week, should be returned free if the families have had no prior complains or violations, this would make it easier for some to reclaim instead of having to come up with extra money than many families just can not afford,

    • johnhuotari

      Is there a fee to claim your animal(s)?

      • Ellen Smith

        Yes, there is a fee to reclaim a pet. I think Kay has a good suggestion.

  • Phil C

    I have a 16 and a 17 year old who want to volunteer. Do they have to have a parent present?

    • johnhuotari

      Organizer Daryl Smith said a parent or guardian must be present for liability reasons. He said it’s shelter policy.

      • Josie Dunmahlt

        John do you know if they allow children to help volunteer (with an adult present) during the entire summer? I think my children would enjoy helping the animals out.

        • Kay Williamson

          as long as you are with them, kids are always welcome to help at the shelter,

  • Ellen Smith

    I wasn’t aware that so many animals go missing on the 4th. It stands to reason, though, because I’ve known some pets who were very frightened of fireworks — and definitely would have run away if there was anywhere for them to run to!

    Pets need to be kept indoors in a safe place when there are fireworks going off outdoors.

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