COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - As July 4th approaches, animal control officers ask that you please remember not all members of the family are excited about fireworks. Family pets, such as dogs and cats, are often frightened by fireworks and run away from their own yards.
"Hey, shoot your fireworks, be safe, have fun, but don't get the pets involved," stressed Colbert County Animal Control officer Anthony Wilbanks.
Make sure that your pets are indoors, behind secured fences, or on leashes when fireworks are going off. They ask that you take a moment when planning your festivities to include a plan to protect your pets.
They are more likely to slip away from all the commotion on the 4th of July than any other day.
"Come Monday, ourselves, Lauderdale County, we're going to be covered with missing dog complaints," he said. "We're going to field them all day long. We'll probably pick up several dogs from neighborhoods that have gotten out and that have ran."
Last year, Wilbanks said they had 35 to 40 dogs brought into their shelter alone after the night full of fireworks. So, he offered a few suggestions for all pups, big and small, who are afraid of the booms.
"If you have a big dog, put him in a fenced in area, put him in the house or garage. A little dog you're carrying outside to shoot fireworks, put it on a leash that way you can control it."
Some pets aren't afraid of fireworks at all, but more curious. Those are the ones you need to keep on a tight leash.
"You need to avoid letting your dog get anywhere near them while your lighting them. Don't let them eat them, don't let them get them in their mouth and run around with them because it can be very, very dangerous for them. "
Wilbanks said that could also lead to thousands of dollars worth of emergency surgery at the vet.
So, the best bet is to leave them inside, where they are safe. That way, it's a good experience for everyone.