The Fourth of July is the day the United States gained independence from Great Britain and the date of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence of 1776. It is considered by many as the birthday of the United States.
Many pets become panic-stricken by the loud, unfamiliar and unpredictable noises and bright displays of fireworks. Their terror can be so overwhelming that they will do anything to escape the noise. This includes jumping through windows, over fences, and chewing through doors – just to name a few.
Kane – who is on the feature photo – was just one in thousands of dogs who was spooked by last year’s 4th of July fireworks. With the first boom, he bolted. He ran out of the house, escaped from his yard, and ran and ran.
Kane was discovered the day following the 4th of July festivities by a couple at their home. After having let their dogs out in the back to go pottie, they noticed a pretty large creature looking through a small crack in their back gate. They could see it was a large pit bull. The wife knew there wasn’t a pit bull anywhere near where they lived, so she ran out of the other gate to get to him. She and her husband provided him with a doggie bed, food, and water.
It was obvious that the dog – whom the couple temporarily named Bruno – was someone’s pet. He was well-fed and very people-friendly, as if he was accustomed to being around them. He did, however, seem to be very depressed. The couple immediately posted him on Pet Harbor, which is a wonderful site that the couple has used in the past to reunite lost pets with their families.
Kane’s “mom” also logged onto Pet Harbor. She found a posting of a dog that looked like their beloved dog. She contacted the couple in the evening of the day it was first posted. After intense questioning, they knew Kane was their dog. Kane’s mom and dad immediately drove to the couple’s home and picked him up. They were worried sick about him, saying, “This has never happened before. He has never run away due to fireworks.”
Dawn Danielson, former Director of the County of San Diego, Department of Animal Services, says that:
[t]he noise generated by fireworks displays and other noisemakers on the Fourth of July can frighten pets and trigger an escape or flight response that can cause serious injury or even death.
For this reason, a Press Release (specific to San Diego) was issued by the San Diego County Department of Animal Services back in 2016, entitled “Keep Pets Out of Harm’s Way this July 4th.” Included in the Release were tips to keep your pets safe during the holiday celebration, including the following:
- Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.
- Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, in a few minutes.
- Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area. Some dogs may become destructive when frightened, so be sure to remove dangerous objects your pet may chew. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you’re away.
- Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and get lost.
- If you know your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July Fourth to see if medication that relieves anxiety is appropriate.
- Ensure your pets are easily identifiable and call [local shelters] if you have found a lost pet. … Although [many] shelters [are] closed on July Fourth, animal control officers [may] be on duty. Lost pets found with internal microchip identification and/or external ID tags or licenses are more readily reunited with their owners. If you have lost your pet, visit the shelter closest to you….
Danielson stresses that your pet should be microchipped and wearing visible identification in the event he or she should become lost. She also notes that a scared dog could run for miles to try and escape the noise.
There is a sharp increase in the number of “stray” dogs that enter shelter doors during holidays that are celebrated with fireworks across the nation. This is fact. If you lose or find a pet, visit your local shelter and log on to Pet Harbor’s website.
People with pets are urged to share this information widely to warn others that fireworks can result in losing them, seriously injuring them, or even resulting in their death. Kane is fortunate that he didn’t get run over by a car when he ran from his home. There was very heavy traffic from his “parents'” home to the couple’s home. Additionally, if Kane had chosen the wrong house, there is no telling what could have happened to him. He is a pit bull and they are given a bad rap. The stigma attached to the breed causes people to fear them, even if that fear is irrational. How someone else would have reacted upon seeing a huge pit bull at their back gate is unpredictable.