MONTEREY COUNTY — Hitchcock Road Animal Services (HRAS), serving both City of Salinas and Monterey County, is reminding all pet owners to be aware of upcoming fireworks and the effect it will have on their pets.
Locally, fireworks tend to start a few weeks ahead of the holiday and continue a few weeks after. Recent increases in animal intakes have local shelters already full of pets ahead of a holiday that traditionally increases animal intakes by an additional 20% to 30%.
“Many of the animals that will end up in the shelter after July 4 go unclaimed by their owner,” according to a county news release. “It’s unfortunate as many of these pets could have remained safely in their home had their pet owners planned ahead and taken some basic precautions. It is absolutely the responsibility of every pet owner to ensure the safety of their pets at all times.”
To protect pets on the Fourth of July and prevent them from ending up in a shelter, Hitchcock Road Animal Services recommends that owners take these precautions:
- Make sure pets are wearing identification tags and are microchipped so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. If you find a lost pet in your neighborhood, make a reasonable effort to find the owner immediately by canvassing the neighborhood, checking social media, calling any phone numbers on tags before bringing to the shelter. Pets have a better chance of finding their way home if efforts to get them home are made by the finder in the community before coming to the shelter. The shelter is appropriate if the owner can’t be located.
- Resist the urge to take pets to fireworks displays.
- Never leave pets in the car. Besides being illegal in California to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle, cars heat up very fast and can be deadly. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, pets can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air but do provide an opportunity for pets to be stolen.
- Keep pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure to remove any items that they could destroy or that would be harmful to them if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep them company while attending Fourth of July picnics, parades and other celebrations.
- 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.
- If the pet is known to be seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with a veterinarian before July 4 for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety they will experience during fireworks displays.
- If you plan to go away for the holiday weekend, make plans to have someone watch your pets so that they remain safe while you are away. Provide them a letter stating that they are pet sitting for you with pictures and vaccine information and have permission to reclaim your pet for them in your absence. Also, make sure that person knows where to look if the pet becomes lost and to alert you if the pet is missing.
Hitchcock Road Animal Services offers a free texting program for quick links and tips for lost and found pets, including a lost/found pet reporting form, social media links and links to the animals in local shelters. Simply text 831LOST or 831FOUND to 1-833-664-0513.
HRAS is located at 160 Hitchcock Road in Salinas. Both City of Salinas and Monterey County animals are housed at this facility and working together. Animals from Marina, Del Rey Oaks, Carmel and Greenfield are also sheltered there. Shelter hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit hitchcockroadanimals.org.