AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Independence Day weekend is the busiest time of the year for Amarillo's Animal Management and Welfare (AAMW), and directors and citizens alike are asking people to come reclaim their pets.
One pet owner asking for help is Joseph Roberson, a retired veteran who's therapy dog Ghost, or Ghosty, got out on Saturday around Hillside and Bell.
She's not microchipped, and she's never run away before.
"I view her as a kid of mine, a child," said Roberson.
He's been searching every shelter in town several times a day looking for her, along with putting up fliers, posts on social media, and going door to door in his neighborhood.
Ghosty is one of about 120 pets that went missing this 4th of July weekend.
AAMW microchipped a record breaking 400+ animals leading up to the holiday, but that was not enough to lower the always high intake this time each year.
the shelter's reclaim rate is low at only 12%, which worries staff about the future of these animals.
"We've had a few reclaims, not as many as what we'd like," said Richard Havens, Director of AAMW. "But we have had a substantial amount of human foot traffic looking for their lost animals that went missing over the weekend due to the fireworks."
Havens and Roberson agreed the best way to look for your dog at the shelter is to do so in person, not on the shelter's website.
"An owner of an animal is truly the only one that can identify their animal," said Havens. "So we always encourage people to never rely on the tool, come down to the shelter and physically set eyes on the animals here in the shelter every single day."
Roberson will not stop until he finds his dog, and hopes other pet owners will do the same.
"Be nice, talk to people, ask people, make fliers, don't give up and keep going," he said.
If you find any stray animals without tags, call animal control or take them to the animal shelter yourself.
People are more likely to find their lost pets at the shelter in person than through a Facebook post.