Stacie Contreras, a volunteer at the Castaic animal shelter, holds an 18-year-old cat named Kiarra. Photo by Bobby Block, for The Signal

County’s Animal Care experts look to help pet owners

Animal Care and Control officials are once again dealing with a post-holiday rush for another one of their busiest days of the year.

While Americans gather to celebrate Independence Day with raucous celebrations and loud fireworks, pets, especially dogs, find the displays anxiety-inducing, prompting many to run away in search of shelter from the noise.

The multitude of fireworks can trigger dogs’ fight-or-flight reflex, usually leaving them to flee after making them very anxious, according to the experts.

Shelter volunteer Stacie Contreras sits with Bruno, a young dog the shelter is looking to find a home for. Photo by Bobby Block, for The Signal

The concern for man’s best friend usually starts in the weeks leading up to holiday for the Fourth of July, according to Sgt. Cesar Chavez of the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control Department, who oversees operations for the Castaic shelter.

“Just before the Fourth of July, we have people already setting up fireworks,” he said, “so it does become hectic for our furry friends.” 

Chavez offered a few tips, in case pet owners have any other loud parties planned for the coming days:

“We do tell owners to try to keep your dogs inside in quiet rooms, turn on the radio softly with music.

Shelter volunteer Susan Lieberman holds Chubby. Photo by Bobby Block, for The Signal

“If you have an animal who might have anxiety, visit the vet to see if they have anything that can calm them down.

“Make sure your current phone number is on file (with any tags for the animal and with its microchip).

“Keeping them inside if you can, that’s the best thing.”

If your dog has gotten loose, the Department of Animal Care and Control constantly updates its website as animals are brought in, Chavez said.

Anyone looking for a missing pet can visit: animalcare.lacounty.gov/view-our-animals.

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