By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
The Fourth of July can be terrifying for man’s best friend.
Whistles, rockets, cracks and booms push adrenaline through their canine bodies and engage what Vickie Grantz describes as a fight-or-flight instinct.
“There’s nothing to fight, so they’re going to run to try to get safe,” said Grantz, who runs an Enid animal shelter.
Historically speaking, she said, July 5 is the busiest day of the year for just about every shelter, including the one at Enid’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where Grantz is executive director.
There, she works to find homes for the found dogs that come through the door. And no single day compares when stacked up against the day after Independence Day, she said. Calls to the agency are expected to increase by about 40 percent Friday as people call in lost or found pets.
“They will do anything. They will dig out, they will climb over, they will injure themselves to get away,” she said. “If some kid in your neighborhood is shooting off some kind of firework and it lands by your fence, they will do almost anything to try to get away because they don’t understand what’s happening.”
Allen Elder, Enid Police Department’s animal control supervisor, said it’s not always a clear where the dog is.
“It varies from year to year. Sometimes we may get a few extra dogs in here, but there’s more people that come in and say they lost their dogs because of the fireworks,” Elder said. “It doesn’t mean that we have them.”
Currently, the city’s animal control department has 29 dogs and 16 cats. Policy is to keep them for five days to let an owner claim them, then keep them for another two days for adoption if no one steps forward. After that, though, there’s no guarantee the animal won’t be euthanized.
Enid SPCA does not euthanize animals, but they do have a limit on the number of animals they can take. Grantz said they are encouraging everyone to take a pledge, a promise they will keep dogs inside or otherwise safe.
“People think their backyard is secure. And it may be secure for a regular day,” she said.
All bets are off when it comes to July Fourth, though. SPCA recommends dog owners keep their animals inside or crate them, if appropriate.
Owners also can leave music playing.
“If they have to leave the home, they can leave the TV on or leave some music playing so it kind of masks the sounds of what they’re hearing,” said Grantz.
High-energy dogs also should be walked earlier in the day, she said, so they aren’t so full of energy when the celebrations begin.
If lost or found
There are options for those who either lose or find a dog. Grantz recommends calling SPCA and the city of Enid’s animal shelter.
If possible, the person who finds the animal should try to keep it until an owner is found, she said.
The Enid News & Eagle runs free classified advertisements for lost or found animals. Several Facebook communities are set up to circulate photos of animals, including Enid Lost Pets and Enid Found Pets.
Grantz said anyone with an animal should keep a photo of it on their phone or computer.
“You and I could be looking at the same dog and our description is going to be different,” she said. “It’s really important people have a current photo and their animal has a current tag.”