June and July are extremely busy months for the Front Street Animal Shelter, in part because of the fireworks surrounding the July 4 holiday.
Loud booms and whistles can cause pets to panic and run away from home, resulting in an influx of what the shelter calls “firework strays.”
“Our shelter is already nearing critical capacity, and ‘firework strays’ are likely to put us over the brink,” said Ryan Hinderman, communications and customer service manager for the shelter.
One strategy to avoid overpopulation is to send strays to volunteer foster homes. These volunteers provide a safe space for the animal until they get adopted or claimed by their owner.
“A shelter is one of the most stressful places possible for an animal,” Hinderman said. “Foster volunteers are not only creating lifesaving space; they are giving the animal a far more humane experience.”
The animals in greatest need of foster homes are large dogs. Front Street provides food, basic supplies and medical care while the pet is being fostered.
To become a foster volunteer, people need to take the shelter’s one-hour online class and fill out a volunteer application, both of which can be found here.
To make sure your pet isn’t one of the animals that ends up at the shelter, please follow these safety tips:
1) Get pets microchipped and keep collars with ID tags on at all times.
2) Keep pets inside and make sure windows and doors are closed at all times.
3) If pets absolutely must be outside, make sure all gates are closed and locked. Also make sure that your pet can’t climb over, under or through a fence.
4) Draw the blinds and keep pets in a dark room. Play relaxing music to drown out the sounds of fireworks.
5) Don’t bring pets to fireworks shows or outdoor venues where fireworks may be set off.
6) Keep pets on leash during walks.
If your pet does run away, you can text LOST to (833) 511-0426 to get the shelter’s tips and tutorial videos for finding lost dogs and cats.