The Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest times of the year for animal shelters trying to reunite missing pets with their owners. Animal advocates say it is fireworks that are causing dogs and cats to run away.
Dee Schaefer, a humane educator with the Central New York SPCA, said phones were blowing up at the shelter Thursday morning with about 30 calls regarding missing or stray animals. They have already taken in at least five dogs this week, and she said intakes in shelters across the nation are 80 percent higher immediately following the Fourth of July.
“For us, fireworks are fun and beautiful, but for dogs and cats, it is a night of terror," Schaefer said. "It’s true, their hearing is so much better than ours."
Schaefer said fireworks can be so loud for animals that it becomes unbearable for them and they try to run away.
"Some of them get so scared that they will actually break through a screen door or screen on a window to get away from the noise," Schaefer said. "It reverbates through their core. Think about a person or soldier with PTSD. Fireworks do they same type of thing to them."
And she said sometimes, animals can travel far.
“Cats can go up to three miles from their home and a hound dog will follow a scent anywhere," Schaefer said. "So, the dogs can roam as well."
If there are fireworks outside, Schaefer said she will put her animals in her bedroom, shut the windows, and drown out the noise with a fan, TV or radio. She also recommends having animals microchipped, so they can be scanned and their owners can be found quickly. If a pet does go missing, owners should call a local shelter, veterinarian or dog control office and file a report.