Ardmore Shelter on the importance of keeping animals safe from fireworks

Plamedie Ifasso
The Daily Ardmoreite

The Fourth of July is usually accompanied with festive food and fireworks, but fireworks aren't as fun for animals as they are for people. 

Amanda Dinwiddie with the Ardmore Animal Care said a majority of animals aren’t familiar with fireworks, and the noise is the biggest factor in what makes fireworks dangerous to animals. 

“It’s really startling,” Dinwiddie said. “When they hear such a loud bang and loud noises in general, a lot of dogs, especially when they’re not used to it, it puts them in flight or fight mode. They want to instantly run to find safety. We typically do see a lot of animals come in after the Fourth of July, and that’s just misplaced animals that have been startled away from home.” 

Dinwiddie said the shelter hopes that citizens living in Ardmore will abide by city ordinances of not popping fireworks in city limits. For animals who may not get easily scared, Dinwiddie said they may think it's a toy and try to chase it. 

“They’re hot, so dogs can get burned by them,” Dinwiddie said. “They might think it’s a toy. It also poses a danger physically as well with them being curious and wanting to see what’s going on, and then we end up with burned paws.” 

Dinwiddie recommends preparing for the holiday by making sure all pets are safe indoors to reduce the risk of them getting scared and running off. Although the shelter typically sees a lot of lost animals come in after the Fourth of July, this year, the shelter does not have extra space. Dinwiddie said for the past two months, the animal shelter has stayed full. 

“We have stayed continuously full for the last two months,” Dinwiddie said. “Last month, we took in 730 animals, and before we opened today [Wednesday], we were at 798 animals. It’s something that we’ve been dealing with now, and it’s something that we make happen. We have lots of dogs that have to get paired up because we run out of kennels, so that’s how we find out how dogs do with other dogs and find out other quirks.” 

Dinwiddie said for the 10 years she’s worked at the shelter, she has never seen this amount of intakes before. She believes the shelter would have still seen an overpopulation crisis regardless of the pandemic. 

“It boils down to people not spaying and neutering their animals,” Dinwiddie said. “Regardless if COVID had happened, we would still be in an overpopulation crisis. I think people may have acquired more animals, not necessarily through us because our animals are spayed or neutered, and then they end up having litters and such. It’s been a long two months, but we’re hoping for a better July.”