Fireworks: Fun for us, scary for pets
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The sounds of summer fireworks are music to our ears. But if our pets could talk, they may tell a different story.
"It's a loud banging noise to them. We think it's fun and there's pretty lights and everything. But to them it's terrifying," explains Karen Walsh, Executive Director of McKamey Animal Shelter in Chattanooga.
She and other shelter officials say many pets can't tell the difference between the sounds of fireworks and those of gunshots or other loud pops.
"They're just thinking it's the end of life and they're going to run as far and as fast as they can," says Guy Bilyeu, Executive Director of the Humane Educational Society (HES) of Chattanooga.
He suggests, if you have pets who scare easily, to keep them inside during fireworks.
Around the country and in the Scenic City animal shelter workers aren't surprised to find a heavy workload right after the Fourth of July holiday.
"This is one of the largest intake days of the year," states Walsh.
More than 30 stray pets were dropped off at McKamey, several more at H.E.S. Dozens of phone calls were placed by those who found roaming animals.
Many of them arrive without identification. Although overall numbers are lower than last July 5, Bliyeu hopes next year more pet owners will have a plan.
"If you have an identification on your animal, whether it's on a collar or a chip inside the body, those are the easiest returns we ever do," explains Bilyeu.
All he has to do is call you.
Lauren Winkler found a pretty pooch wandering around her neighbor's yard the night of July Fourth. It had no tag or chip. Winkler has two dogs, each with ID, and one of them scared to death of fireworks. Winkler keeps her indoors on Independence Day.
"She will just hide in my mom's closet of in the laundry room and just barricade herself in a corner," says Winkler.
Even with ID, Winkler would be worried sick if her dogs got loose. After all, they're part of the family.
"I'd be devastated. I love those dogs more than anything," exclaims Winkler. "I'd have signs up. I'd call everywhere."
So the word of advice from shelter directors is don't let your guard down now that the holiday is over.
"People will be shooting fireworks all summer long," says Bilyeu.
Keep your frightened furry friends safe during this celebratory time of year.
Bilyeu and Walsh also say if your pet does go astray, with or without ID, call both shelters when searching. Also call local veterinarians.