Locally, I have heard fireworks going off for the past couple of weeks, and already lost dogs are starting wind up at the local animal shelter. Even if you think you have a secure fence, it may be no match for a terrified dog feeling the need to escape the rapid and sequential boom sounds of seasonal fireworks.
Ben Miller, head of the city’s Animal Services Department, said the shelter saw a tremendous increase in lost animals last year in the days leading up to the Fourth of July.
“Please make sure you keep your dog indoors during the evening of July Fourth and the days just prior and right after,” Miller said. “If you know your dog is especially sensitive to fireworks or loud thunder type noises, consider having your vet prescribe an appropriate prescription. If your dog turns up missing, please check the animal shelter right away, as space is of a premium this time of year.”
It can also be helpful to leave on your television, radio or music to obscure the noise of the evening fireworks. Pets work best with familiarity, and I have known several pet owners to keep their television on while they are out.
If you see dogs running around in your neighborhood outside of shelter hours — noon to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — call the police department to report the dogs.
Since we are on the subject of dogs and summer, I must bring up a huge issue I see every year — dogs left in parked cars in the heat. Why does this continue to happen? I recently heard of a dog that died, in Arizona, after being left in a mall parking lot during a heat wave. Locally, there has been some debate as to what California Penal Code 597.7 actually says.
“Dogs left in a hot car is not illegal by itself,” Miller said. “If the animal is suffering or likely to suffer, then it may be a crime. Animal Services, per 597.7 of the penal code, gives the power to break the window and remove the dog if the animal’s safety appears to be in immediate danger.”
Miller added that Animal Services can take a reading of the temperature inside the car, and citations can be issued. If an animal suffers great bodily injury, the penal code addresses this with a misdemeanor charge and fines or jail time, or both.
You can report dogs you see left unattended in cars during the summer heat, and many times you can get store employees to make an announcement over a loudspeaker system.
What are your thoughts?
• Anne Marie Fuller, National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation and Mrs. California BOTN, is the host of "Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.