Fireworks can cause pets to run away

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The Fourth of July is a day for fireworks and celebration. However, the noisy explosives can cause population booms at animal shelters.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, animal shelters across the country take in dogs who run away during Fourth of July fireworks celebrations and are rescued by animal control officers or residents.

"Last year we got more calls on lost pets than we did actual pickups," said Diane Downs, the Augusta Animal Services director. "We had about 20 calls on lost pets, but a quarter of those actually wound up at the shelter."

She said 10 owners later called the shelter to report that they had found their pets.

"We normally get several (animals) every year," said Linda Fulmer, the manager of the Columbia County Animal Care and Control facility.

She said most of the dogs are frightened by fireworks.

Gary Willoughby, the executive director of the Aiken Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he has seen a number of dogs brought into shelters after Independence Day celebrations in other parts of the country.

"Amateur fireworks right next door can be very frightening to your animals," Mr. Willoughby said.

He said shelters frequently get calls for advice from people whose animals are frightened by the noise.

Mr. Willoughby said pets will try to find an area where they feel safe.

He also advised owners to get microchips for their pets because animals can lose their identification tags if they wriggle out of their collars.

"A dog that's determined can usually find a way to get out," he said.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

PROTECTING PETS


- Do not take your pets to fireworks displays.


- Keep pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area.


- Leave a TV or radio at normal volume to keep your pet company while you are away.


- Consult your veterinarian for ways to alleviate anxieties during fireworks displays.


- Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain.

Source: Humane Society of the United States

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