Most people don’t know that January 1st and July 5th are the two largest intake days for animal shelters all over the country. Why?
People leave a pet outside, the fireworks start, pet freaks out, breaks out of the yard, and the next morning the owners are out putting up signs and mumbling about they just don’t know what happened. Frightened dogs, in particular, tend to run in a blind panic until they either outrun the noise or just exhaust themselves. That blind panic means that when they calm down, they can’t find their way home. I’ve literally seen a dog in a fireworks panic run blindly into the lake and start swimming. That one was lucky, because she swam up in someone’s back yard, instead of drowning in the lake.
Other people take their pets with them to events where there will be fireworks. Don’t do that! Every year, pets pull free of their owners, jump out of vehicles, slip their collars, and run like hell. Keep your pets at home where they will be safe.
It is not enough to just leave them home. Pets who panic at the noise have been know to break out of crates, sometimes breaking their own teeth or nails. They’ve clawed and chewed holes in doors or walls. They’ve broken windows. They’ve gotten into panic driven fights with other animals with whom they normally live very comfortably.
Your pets need to be indoors, in a secure place, with the tv on to muffle the sound of your idiot neighbors blowing a month’s disposable income on the thrill of blowing up bits of colored paper. Some pets may need medication to keep them from working up into a panic. Of my own dogs, two don’t care at all, but one is utterly terrified of loud noises, so I spend the 4th of July on the couch with 78 pounds of drugged dog in my lap with a blanket over his head.
Would I love to go 4th of July parties? Maybe. I’m generally not much for parties. But even if they were my favorite thing ever, I would stay home gladly to keep my animals safe. They’re my responsibility. They depend on me to take care of them. Sadly, many people just don’t think about it or don’t care. More people think they have their pets safely confined in the yard, but come home to find them gone.
Animals will hurt themselves to escape. Then they run blindly through the night. Some will be hit by cars, some will have other accidents. Many will end up at the local shelter, in this case MCAS.
Let’s talk about all the problems that can come from your pet ending up in the shelter. First, the shelter is very, very full. Technically, it’s over capacity. Local media is currently celebrating the success of last weekend’s adoption event, but so many animals were admitted during the same time period that the net progress was only half what it’s being portrayed to be. In other words, 127 were adopted. But 80+ were admitted. So the actual net reduction of the shelter population was less than 50.
So every fireworks refugee that comes in takes up a space that another animal could have used. Bluntly, that means animals will die to make room instead of getting more time to find an adopter.
Meanwhile, while your dog is in the shelter, he may be exposed to parvo, distemper, respiratory illnesses, intestinal parasites including coccidia and giardia, and any number of other illnesses. He may be beaten up by his kennel mate. He’ll almost certainly be sick from eating unaccustomed food. If he’s there more than three days, he could be euthanized or adopted out.
Wouldn’t it be so much better just to keep your animals home and safe in the first place?
Please make the 4th of July a happy holiday for your whole family, including your pets.