Even though fireworks shows have been barred city Los Angeles County health officials due to the coronavirus, animal-advocacy officials warned that pets can still get spooked by illegal pyrotechnics that are all-too-common during the Fourth of July holiday.
The July 4 holiday is traditionally one of the busiest times of year at animal shelters as household pets spooked by fireworks.
“Pet owners are not always aware that their pets may react to the sounds and bright flashes of fireworks,” said Marcia Mayeda, director of the county Department of Animal Care & Control. “This can trigger the fight or flight instinct.”
Dogs and cats can escape from small openings in houses and fenced yards in search of a safe place and may be injured in traffic or wind up in a crowded local shelter, officials warned.
Animal-care experts advised owners to:
— make sure pets have up-to-date identification tags and, if possible, a microchip registered with owner contact information;
— keep pets inside in an enclosed room or, if they must go outside, make sure gates and fences are very secure;
— create a safe space at home, with windows closed and covered, and plenty of water and food; and
— be sure to leave animals with a responsible party if leaving town for the holiday.
Owners who do lose their pets, despite all precautions, are urged to quickly post signs in the neighborhood and go to the city or county animal shelter nearest to where the animal was last seen with a photo and detailed information about the dog or cat.
Officials with the city’s Los Angeles Animal Services agency said animal-care officers will be patrolling the city on the holiday, providing free rides home for licensed and microchipped pets who wander off. Some rescue agencies will also have volunteers in the west valley and northern city areas to help scan lost dogs to avoid them being impounded.