July 4th Pet Safety

Notice: The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter will be open on July 4th from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to take in stray animals and reunite lost pets with their owners.

fireworksFireworks may cause pets to panic and escape from their normal enclosures or even to bolt away from their owners. Pet owners should take precautions before they hear the first boom, because after that, things can be very unpredictable. In many neighborhoods, fireworks happen at any time day or night, and not just on the actual holiday. 

Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe:

  • Talk with your pet sitter before going out of town. Pets staying with a friend or petsitter over the holiday weekend may be even more likely to panic and bolt because they feel less secure without their family. Be sure to discuss with the sitter what to do if a pet gets lost (and how to help prevent it).

  • Check your fence to make sure that there are no loose boards, holes or other places where a frightened or bored dog could escape from. Starting the weekend before July 4th, consider taking your dog out on leash to go potty and exercise, even if it's just in the back yard.

  • Verify that your pets' tags and microchips have your current and updated information (and that your dog is licensed). If your pet is staying with someone else and you will be out of phone range, add a tag with the caretaker's information so they can be called quickly when the pet is found.

  • Make sure you have a good current photo of your pet in case you need to make lost pet posters. Share the photo with your petsitter so that they have it if needed.

  • Keep your pet indoors, preferably crated or in a quiet interior room.

  • Play music or talk radio to try to drown out the noise.

  • Talk to your veterinarian about whether medications could be helpful.


Lost a Pet?

  • Check with the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter by calling us or coming into the shelter as soon as possible to make a lost pet report. We can then compare your pet's details to reports of found pets and help match you up with a finder as quickly as possible, and sometimes without the pet even needing to come to the shelter. You can also look online to see which animals are currently in our shelter. Within an hour
    of taking in a lost pet, our staff has their photo up on our website. To see pets at Bonnie Hays, go to our "If you Have Lost a Pet" page and then click on "Pet Harbor." 

  • Don't limit your search to your own county. Dogs and cats can end up miles away from where they went missing, and they certainly don't pay attention to county lines. Contact information for neighboring or nearby counties is listed on our area shelters resource page.

  • Check out social media. Sites such as NextDoor and Facebook can help. There are several pet lost and found Facebook pages, such as "Lost and Found Pets Hillsboro" and "Lost/Found Pets Washington County." Craigslist also has sections for pets and lost and found that are worth checking out.

  • Scour your neighborhood as soon as you know your pet is missing. Make fliers with your pet's photo and your phone number on them. Put them up in the neighborhood and go door to door in the area the pet was last seen. Also check with your local pet-related businesses, such as veterinarians, pet supply companies and other local places where people might take a pet.

  • Make it inviting for your pet to return home. Immediately put out tasty treats, water and your pet's bed or an item with your smell on it. Put your cat's litter box outside. Your pet may return once it calms down, especially if it senses a piece of home. 

  • In addition to these tips, be sure to check out our "If You Have Lost a Pet" page.

Found a Pet?

  • If you find a stray dog or cat, assume that it is someone's beloved pet that has accidentally gotten away and not a "dumped" or neglected animal.

  • If a dog has a Washington County license, you can look up the owner on your home computer. Just go to our "License Look-Up." When you type in the dog's license number, you'll get the phone number of the owner. Other counties have similar services. This can save you (and the dog) a trip to the shelter.

  • Call us and make a found pet report. Contacting us increases the probability of reuniting an animal with its owner. This is where people look for their missing pets. You can also bring the pet into the shelter. Shelter staff will scan pets for microchips and actively look for owners. Most veterinary offices will also scan found pets free of charge.

  • Ask around. Kids are especially likely to know where a lost pet lives. You can also put up a "Found Pet" sign in your own front yard, where an owner might see it if they are out searching.

  • In addition to these tips, be sure to check out our "If You Have Found a Pet" page.