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New Year's Eve pet safety tips from Maricopa County Animal Care and Control

Posted at 4:26 AM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 11:27:37-05

PHOENIX — Unlike any cocktail you may be mixing on New Year's Eve, fireworks and pets do not go together.

While you may be celebrating, each explosion in the sky will make for a scary start to 2019 for your furry friends.

"We've heard of dogs jumping over fences...crawling under fences," said Jose Santiago with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. "We've heard of dogs jumping through windows."

Santiago explained that pets already hear things at a much higher decibel than humans.

"They don't know what that noise is," Santiago described. "They don't know what that explosion is."

If you are going out on New Year's Eve, Santiago suggests keeping your pet in a room without windows, and to turn on the TV or music.

"If you're home, keep them in a room with you," Santiago said. "Your presence calms them down considerably."

But, these holidays are still known to bring hundreds of pets into the shelter. Last year, the shelter saw more than 200 lost animals.

That is why Santiago strongly advises to get your pet micro-chipped as soon as possible.

"If we find a dog that has been running around loose and we scan for that microchip, we will drive them straight home," Santiago said. "They never set foot in the shelter. It's the easiest way to get a dog home."

Plus, the county shelter is closed on New Year's Day. So, pet owners will have to wait until Wednesday to start searching the shelter for their lost pet.

Those fireworks can also be scary for the animals without a home and currently living at MCACC, so the county decided to offer an event to for the public to attend a different type of party on Monday night. It's called the Calm the Canines event and doors will open at both shelter locations in the valley at 10 p.m. and will close at 12:30 a.m. on New Year's Day.

"So, we have families come out... sit with the dogs, they pet the dogs, they read to the dogs - we've had some people even play musical instruments... all those things," Santiago explained. "Just that calming voice, that calming presence keeps them calm and it makes them less aware of what's going on outside."

This is the second time the county has ever hosted an event like this. The other was on the other firework-heavy holiday: the 4th of July. On that day, more than 300 volunteers came out to help.

"We saw more people signing up for volunteering, we saw more people signing up to be fosters, and we did see people that came back and said - 'I kind of bonded with my animal and I want to take them home,'" Santiago said.

You do not need to sign up to attend. You can simply show up and shelter staff will provide you with a quick orientation.


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