September 24, 2023

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Long Beach Animal Shelter inundated with lost pets after July 4, officials say – Press Telegram

The Long Beach Animal Shelter, following a noisy few days thanks to Independence Day celebrations throughout the region, has taken in dozens of new pets over the past week, officials say — exacerbating the strain on the city’s already at-capacity facility.

Space has long been an issue at the shelter, which is operated by Long Beach Animal Care Services, with the dire situation reaching a fever pitch back in February when the department hit a point of critical capacity.

LBACS staffers, at that time, were forced to keep animals in the building’s lobby, offices and makeshift kennels in an effort to house 233 cats and dogs, about 150% of the top end of normal capacity.

Just a few months later, capacity became even more limited after the Long Beach Police Department conducted a sweep of a homeless encampments that resulted in LBACS having to take in an additional six dogs.

While six dogs may not seem like much, the shelter is always teetering on the verge of maxing out its capacity. The additional dogs, officials previously said, forced staffers to consider euthanizing some animals to make room for others despite their efforts to rehouse them.

But the shelter’s luck began to turn after the Press-Telegram reported on the shelter’s situation in February, with officials saying the coverage caught the attention of several other media outlets and the general public and LBACS was able to adopt out enough dogs to free up the much-needed capacity — without having to put any animals down.

The Fourth of July holiday, though, has undone much of that success.

Now, after an influx of lost and stray animals were brought in following the holiday weekend, the shelter is caring for 360 cats and dogs — well over its capacity limit.

There were about 160 dogs currently at the Long Beach shelter as of Friday, July 7, with only 99 dog kennels available, according to LBACS community outreach coordinator Megan Ignacio. The shelter also had about 200 cats, with only 109 feline kennels.

“They’re animals so they are highly sensitive to smell and sound, and they’re easy to scare,”  Ignacio said in a Friday interview. “What ends up happening is, we’ll see an increase not just on (July 4) — but we’ll also see it for like the next two weeks because of the residual fireworks.”

The LBACS shelter is routinely closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, Ignacio said, but when they opened back up on Wednesday — the day after the holiday — they were greeted with 17 dogs in one day.

Typically, the shelter accepts about 10 or 11 dogs in a day.

In total, from Saturday, July 1, to Wednesday, July 5, LBACS took in 37 new dogs — a 28% increase from the reported amount of dogs brought in over the same time period last year, Ignacio said. The shelter also took in 62 cats over those five days.

“Unfortunately, we’re still using our makeshift kennels,” Ignacio said. “There’s about maybe one or two dogs in offices, but not as it was (before) where we’ve had to put them in conference rooms.”

LBACS hosted several events ahead of July 4, Ignacio said, including a Stars and Stripes event that helped about 100 pets get a microchip before the holiday. The bureau also hosted a Foster the Fourth event, which asked residents to foster animals to free up space at the shelter for the anticipated influx of pets over the holiday.

“More than 80 people signed up, so that helped us free up space,” Ignacio said. “We were prepared, of course, for the Fourth of July — but the kennels are still full.”

Ignacio encouraged Long Beach residents who lost their pet over the July 4th holiday to follow a set of guidelines outlined on the LBACS website, which include reporting the animal on Petco’s Love Lost database, canvassing the area where the pet went missing, and sharing information about the pet online.

Folks can also search for their lost pets on LBACS’s lost and found database. A list of dogs is available at and information about cats is available at

“We highly recommend people look at our website because people call in (to report a found animal) and they foster the dogs after,” Ignacio said. “So if you find a dog, we recommend fostering it until it can be found and get reunited (with its owners).”

And for those who haven’t lost a pet, the animal shelter could use some help managing the influx of animals over the next few weeks.

“We need adopters and fosters,” Ignacio said. “(People) can still apply for Foster the Fourth even though (4th of July) already happened, because the fireworks are still happening.”

The shelter is also in need of dog and cat crates to give to folks who have volunteered to foster animals, Ignacio said.

“Adopt, foster, volunteer and donate,” Ignacio said. “(Those are) our four pillars.”

More information about what to do if you’ve lost a pet, along with information about how to volunteer, foster, or donate to the shelter, is available online at

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