Frightened by fireworks

Shelter prepares for annual ‘boom’ of runaway dogs

by Josh Whitener

The Fourth of July is an exciting and festive time for many people, but the holiday can be one of the most frightening days of the year for dogs.

Each year, the number of calls reporting lost or found dogs skyrockets twice – on New Year’s and July 4 – according to Sgt. Lynn Yow with the Union County Animal Shelter.

The reason? Fireworks.

“Our call volume does step up around July 4 and January 1,” Yow said. “Loud noises scare (dogs) away and with fireworks, you have the big bang, so that spooks a lot of dogs.”

Yow said most missing dog cases on July 4 involve dogs that are already outside, particularly those roaming freely when people start shooting off fireworks, although some cases involve dogs that sprint out of the house when a door is opened.

“Those that (run away) are usually outside dogs, either way not so much contained or not kept in a secure area,” Yow said. “Some of those in a secure area jump over the fence or somehow get out of the secure area and escape.”

One of the best precautions for dog owners, Yow said, is to keep their pets kenneled or contained in a highly secure area on the evening of July 4, especially if owners or their neighbors will be shooting off fireworks or know their dog is typically frightened by fireworks or loud noises.

“It’s good to put them in a place where they can’t harm themselves getting away from what’s scaring them,” he said.

In the unfortunate event a dog does run away, Yow said owners should call the animal shelter and report the dog missing, put up flyers, ask their neighbors to keep an eye out and send out an email via a neighborhood mailing list, if possible.

“Usually, the owners find them through emails, neighbors or even calling us,” Yow said. “It’s not often that we have to even pick up a (lost) dog, but occasionally we do if we see one.”

Yow also gets calls from people who have found dogs. If someone calls to report finding a stray dog, the shelter will write down the caller’s information and the dog’s description and try to connect them with people who call and report a missing dog with a similar description.

But he encourages people to exercise caution around the animals. “It’s a safety thing, too,” he said. “In those situations, some may be biting out of fear, not just aggression. If people find them and (the dogs) are skittish, it’s best if they don’t take action. But if the animal doesn’t run, wants to hang around, give us a call and by all means we’ll assist.”

How can you help the Union County Animal Shelter?

The Union County Animal Shelter is always in need of extra food, brushes and other supplies to keep the dogs groomed, fed and happy. To help out those choosing to adopt a dog, the shelter often offers these vital supplies to new owners.

There are currently six dogs waiting to be adopted into a good home. The cost to adopt a dog is $85, which generally includes the first round of shots, spaying or neutering and a rabies vaccination for those four months or older.

Volunteers are always needed to provide assistance during adoptions, feed and walk the dogs, clean up after the animals and provide general tender loving care. All volunteers must be at least 15 years old and must fill out a volunteer application, which can be picked up at the shelter.

For more information, call 704-283-2308.

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One Response

  1. Anything that flies or explodes is illegal in NC. Why these IDIOTS have to shoot this garbage off is beyond me. I wish it would rain.

    Why the cops dont fine or arrest these idiots is beyond me as well. They not only defy the law but they also shoot these fireworks at other people’s homes. They land on the dry brush and on the roof causing fires.

    Anyone burns down my home will be sued beyond their imaginations. I’ll be calling 911 this year and so will all of my neighbors. What part of illegal do you idiots not understand.