Last year's Fifth of July marked the worst one-day tally for dead animals picked up by Riverside County officers.
The Fourth of July remains one of the most dangerous for domestic animals - but owners can take several steps to prevent their pet from adding to the sobering statistics after the patriotic holiday.
Last year, on Thursday, July 5, Riverside County Animal Services retrieved 306 dead animals (192 dogs, 78 cats and an additional 36 "other" animals). It was the highest number of dead animals recovered in one day by Riverside County's team since the department started tallying Fourth-of-July holiday statistics in 2006.
A five-day, Fourth-of-July holiday period has been tracked by Riverside County Animal Services dating to 2006. The department's report includes the dates July 3-7, since illegal fireworks often get set off early by pre-Fourth revelers. The post-Fourth dates often illustrate the increased volume for officers compared to an average day of calls for officers. Last year's July 3-7 period produced 732 dead animals - the most ever since the county started tracking the holiday numbers.
During that same time span, July 3-7, 2012, more than 2,000 stray pets were impounded by officers. The official count, 2,112 live impounds, was the most five-day Fourth-of-July holiday tally since 2,360 live animals were impounded in 2007.
"Clearly we still have a lot of work to do in educating our community about how traumatic the Fourth-of-July holiday can be for pets," Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. "By taking some simple precautionary steps, owners can really do wonders in protecting their pets."
One of the easiest ways for pet owners to ensure their pet won't run away scared is by placing them in a quiet, sheltered, and escape-proof area of the home. Give a dog a special chew treat or something that keeps them occupied. Pet owners should be aware that some dogs will do anything they can to escape the noise of fireworks. Try to be home for your pet - or assign a relative or good friend to be at the house to care for the pet and helps ensure the pet remains in its home. Veterinary doctors can also give pet owners sedatives to keep their animals calm.
A few years ago one Riverside County animal control officer responded to a call after the holiday that involved a dog that had wedged itself so tightly inside a sidewalk culvert, it got stuck. Riverside city firefighters assisted by using specialized equipment to allow the officer to safely retrieve the dog.