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Fireworks cause runaway dogs

I-Team 8: Fireworks cause runaway pets

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Animal Care Services, already at full capacity, has been taking in additional pets that ran away because of loud fireworks.

Roxie Randall of Animal Care Services said Friday, “We’re at 147% capacity with dogs as of this morning. That’s a lot of dogs, 276 dogs.”

Randall says the city government’s shelter has taken in 30 dogs since fireworks began. This same time in 2023, the total was 34 dogs. It’s been a pattern every year: Pets go missing because of the explosive sounds.

Randall said, “If you or someone you know lost a pet, certainly search the shelter and post the fliers on Indy Lost Pet because it’s possible that a good Samaritan picked up your animal, and it may be here or might be at your neighbors.”

Darcie Kurtz, executive director of the privately operated Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside, aka FIDO, said, “Dogs just have a really acute sense of hearing. They hear things four times as loudly as people do.”

Loud sounds trigger a dog’s fight-and-flight response, Kurtz said, so they see the explosions as threats, and try to escape to safety. That could mean jumping a fence or escaping from a home.

Kurtz said, “People are still shooting off fireworks for the next week. We are really encouraging people to keep their dogs inside or at the end of a leash.”

Experts mention other ways to help prevent a runaway pet:

  • See a veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications for pets during the fireworks.
  • Bring animals inside at night.
  • Put music on during fireworks.
  • Make sure IDs are pets include a phone number.