Story by Mary Olivas
Arizona Public Media

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Every July, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona sees a sharp spike in the number of stray and runaway animals.

While the arrival of monsoon season may be the cause, Samantha Esquivel, public relations lead for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, attributes an old American tradition as well.

Esquivel says that, while the Fourth of July may be a celebration for humans, pets may not necessarily feel the same way. Loud storms and fireworks can frighten animals, causing them to run away.

“It’s just very important that you know your pet and...what keeps them calm so that they’re feeling safe,” Esquivel says.

She also adds that the Humane Society is at full capacity, because it is peak time for puppy and kitten births. Hoping to find homes for the animals, they are hosting a late night event on July 5.

“We’re going to have a zero adoption fee for all kittens, puppies, cats and dogs,” Esquivel said. “They are going to their forever homes fully vaccinated, spayed, neutered, micro-chipped and they get a free wellness visit.”

The free adoptions will be happening at the Humane Society’s main shelter, located on 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd. in Tucson from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Esquivel also encourages pet owners to be extra cautious with their pets during the hot summer months.

“Your animal can literally burn their paws walking on concrete,” Esquivel said. “You might (also) want to consider putting sunscreen on them.”

She suggested using sunscreen made specifically for pets or baby sunscreen.

Mary Olivas is a journalism student and an intern for Arizona Public Media.