SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The Front Street Animal Shelter said it is waiving fees to reclaim pets for an entire year as it anticipates a large number of lost animals following the Fourth of July weekend.

The program goes into effect immediately as Front Street says the days and weeks following Independence Day are usually the busiest for shelters nationwide as the sounds of fireworks could lead to runaway pets.

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Front Street also said it hopes this new program helps improve its turnover rate. The shelter said, nationally, few than one in three dogs and one in ten cats are reclaimed by their owners. Front Street said 44% of animals in its care were reclaimed in 2020, though, it believes improvements are possible.

“Caring for so many lost pets is expensive, and reclaim fees have helped to offset some of those costs,” said Phillip Zimmerman, Front Street Animal Shelter manager. “However, we are concerned that many animals may not be picked up because their families are experiencing financial hardship, and we don’t want cost to be a barrier.”

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With the program, Front Street said the nonprofit Friends of Front Street was covering the costs.

“Our hope is that by getting more animals back to their original homes, additional space at the shelter will be created, animals will experience less stress and disease transmission, and resources can be used for those animals who truly have nowhere else to go,” said Jim Houpt, president of Friends of Front Street.

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Front Street also said that the program is not offered in cases where abuse or neglect is suspected.