Amarillo, TX – The Fourth of July is a time of family, fun and fireworks. For many pet owners, though, it can become a tragic nightmare. That’s why the City of Amarillo’s Animal Control office encourages pet owners to please think twice before taking your dog to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your pets from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
“Each year, Amarillo Animal Control struggles on the Fifth of July to reunite pets and owners due to fireworks displays or family gatherings involving fireworks,” says Shannon Barlow, assistant director, Animal Control. “Sadly, our officers keep too busy responding to lost, injured and sometimes even dead animals that were panicked and struck by vehicles.”
Barlow adds that dogs and cats have an acute sense of hearing and frequently become more sensitive to loud noises as they grow older. Even if they have not reacted in the past, they may become unexpectedly fearful. Another concern is that frightened animals can unintentionally hurt someone. Children may not realize that waving sparklers or setting off firecrackers could upset the family pet.
“Educate your children on the dangers of fireworks around pets,” Barlow says. “And keep in mind that fireworks are illegal inside Amarillo’s city limits.”
Some of the normal signs that a pet is afraid of fireworks include shaking and trembling, barking and howling, excessive drooling, frantic pacing, attempting to hide, refusing to eat and trying to escape from the house, car or enclosed yard. A panicked, frightened pet has a greatly increased likelihood of being hit by a car or becoming disoriented and separated from its family. Other tips to consider in keeping your pets safe this holiday weekend include:
- Don’t let your pets get close to fireworks because they can cause severe burns; unused fireworks and fireworks debris are also hazardous if ingested.
- Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects—even death—in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
- Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area.
- Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
- Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly.