Fourth of July Noisemakers Can Terrify Pets

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

As the DeLoretto-Chudy family of Eugene prepares for Fourth of July festivities, they do so missing a beloved member of the family.

Their dog died Monday after repeatedly ramming itself into a backyard fence.

The family believes that exploding fireworks made the elderly dog frantic, prompting it to try to escape to safety. But before it could break through the fence, it died of its injuries.

Sadly, such incidents are not particularly rare, although few result in death, said Randi Golub, animal care coordinator for the Greenhill Humane Society.

Dogs startled by fireworks have crashed through windows, busted through screen doors, broken away from chains and leashes and scaled high fences to get away from the flashing sight and ear-splitting sound of the explosives.

"It happens with the sound of thunder, the sound of fireworks, any really loud noise and some dogs just freak out," Golub said. "It's something that scares them and they want to get away from it."

July 5 is the busiest day of the year for many animal shelters, whose workers field dozens of phone calls from owners searching for their escaped pets, Golub said. Dogs and cats can be found miles away, confused, disoriented and exhausted, she said. Some never return home.

Golub recommended that pets be kept inside the quietest part of the home, where they can feel safe. Keeping the television or music on can help dampen the noise.

If necessary, owners should consult their veterinarians about possibly tranquilizing their animals, and all pets should have identification tags in case they do escape.

Pets sometimes chase fireworks and try to catch them in their mouths, which can lead to burns and other injuries, said Mike Wellington, program manager of the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority. They can also bite and scratch people when startled by bright lights and noise. …