Runaway pets fearing fireworks impact shelters

Local

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Many pets are scared by Fourth of July fireworks and run from their homes, ending up at shelters until their owners find them.

As people extend their celebrations through the weekend, the Humane Society says it expects more lost pets than usual to end up in its care.

Officials at IndyHumane said Friday could be their busiest night because many of the pets that get scared by fireworks and run off are dropped off within the first 24 hours.

“We are super-overrun at any shelter right now because of the influx of animals,” said Colleen Benson, director of shelter behavior at IndyHumane.

On Friday, Benson said the shelter was so packed with holiday runaways that there were no open cages for any more dogs.

So far, the shelter has taken in eight dogs since celebrations began.

Last year, 24 runaway dogs were brought in. Because of the timing of the holiday, Benson expects that number to be higher this year.

“I think we’re going to hear a lot more fireworks over this weekend. People will be celebrating, so the likelihood of animals getting lost is a little bit higher,” said Benson.

Some of the dogs brought to the shelter are so scared that they run miles from home. One of the strays the shelter has taken in and reunited with its owner came from Fortville — nearly 30 miles away.

“To go missing from your people is traumatic enough. And to have done that because of the loud noise or something very scary can certainly have an effect on the animals that come through their doors. So we certainly take the time to get to know them and see if they have a microchip and scan everybody. If they have tags, we’ll call on that,” said Benson.

While the festivities continue, Benson has some tips to keep your furry friends from fleeing: “Definitely keeping your dog indoors and watching them while they are outside. If you’re going for a quick potty break, have them on leash if you don’t have a fully fenced-in yard, and be out there with your animals. But keeping them inside and enclosed in a space is probably the best idea,” said Benson.

Officials with the shelter say if your pet is lost and taken to IndyHumane, you only have four days to pick up the animal.

After that, the shelter begins the process of putting the animal in the adoption rotation.

If you’re looking for a lost pet, IndyHumane says to check on its website or the Indy Lost Pet Alert’s Facebook page.

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