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Waived dog license fees and free microchipping through July 2

San Diego Humane Society encourages pet owners to prepare for the July Fourth holiday to prevent pets from getting lost

San Diego Humane Society encourages pet owners to prepare for the July Fourth holiday to prevent pets from getting lost

SAN DIEGO – San Diego Humane Society is calling on pet parents to take proactive measures to prevent their beloved animals from ending up in shelters during and after the July Fourth holiday. To incentivize dog owners to license their dogs and microchip their pets, the organization is waiving fees between June 13 and July 2.

Fee-waived licensing can only be done in-person at one of the organization's campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside or San Diego during business hours. To complete the licensing process, dogs must have a California-approved rabies vaccination. The promotion is valid for a one-year license for residents who live within San Diego Humane Society's jurisdiction Late fees will also be waived through July 2. For more information about locations to license a dog in person, visit

Free microchipping appointments between June 13 and July 2 can be scheduled at to any of the organization's campuses.

San Diego Humane Society is offering these incentives because the July Fourth holiday typically leads to a sharp increase in the number of stray animals entering shelter care. Due to pets being spooked by fireworks, the organization is urging pet owners to take steps to protect their pets from becoming lost, as shelters are already full.

The organization has been over capacity all year, meaning they are entering the busy summer months – and in particular, the July Fourth holiday – with less space than previous years.

"We've never been in this situation before – entering the July Fourth holiday having been over capacity for more than 6 months," said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society. "We can't stress enough how important it is for pet owners to have a plan to keep their pets safe – even for the unexpected, like unscheduled fireworks, in their neighborhoods."

To reduce the risk of pets getting lost, San Diego Humane Society recommends taking these steps:

1. License your dog: Licenses are required by law, and they also serve as an extra form of identification to help pets get home if they go missing. To take advantage of the free promotion by July 2, owners have to license their dog in person at one of the organization's campuses between Tuesday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

2. Microchipping: Make sure a pet is microchipped, and the information connected to the chip is up to date. Microchipping provides permanent identification for pets, facilitating their quick identification and reunion with their owners. San Diego Humane Society is offering free microchipping clinics at its campuses between Tuesday and Sunday, through July 2. To make an appointment, visit

3. Collars with tags: Make sure pets wear a collar with contact information tags. If tags are unavailable, writing the owner's phone number on their pet's collar with a sharpie can be helpful. Having a phone number readily available on their collar allows people who find the pet to contact the owner directly, potentially avoiding a trip to the shelter.

4. Schedule time with a veterinarian: If fireworks scare pets, now is the time to schedule an appointment with the vet to discuss medication to reduce stress for pets before the fireworks begin.

5. Arrange for a pet sitter: If the owner won't be home during July Fourth celebrations, make plans early to secure a pet sitter. Having someone present can provide companionship for the pet and help them stay calm, minimizing the risk of them becoming lost.

6. Create a home sanctuary: Prepare a safe space within the home where pets can seek shelter during the festivities. Keep pets comfortable and protected from external noise and lights. Make sure the home's doors, window and yard are secure, and don't leave a pet outside unattended.

7. Keep a dog leashed on outings at all times, especially in the days leading up to and on July 4.

Statistics show one out of every three pets will become lost during their lifetime, and only one in 10 will be found. The July Fourth holiday poses particular risks to pets due to the loud noises associated with fireworks and celebrations. Pets have been known to escape by jumping fences out of fear and confusion, leading to a significant increase in stray animals entering shelters after the holiday.

According to data from 2022, the nonprofit organization took in 275 stray dogs, cats and other small animals who were lost between July 4 and July 7. Only 16% of those pets were reclaimed by their owners, with dogs accounting for 34%, cats for 14%, and other pets showing a 0% reclamation rate.

All San Diego Humane Society shelters will be closed on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4. If someone finds a stray pet over the holiday, they should look for identification on the collar and try to connect with the owner, post photos and a description on social media. Find more resources at

If a pet goes missing, access San Diego Humane Society's Lost2Found program by texting "LOST" to 858-726-5678. An automated text message will be sent with valuable tips and resources to help the owner in their search. More information can be found at

Submitted by the San Diego Humane Society.


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