About 200 phone calls and more than two dozen animals overwhelmed Tri-City Animal Control on Tuesday in the aftermath of the July Fourth holiday.
Angela Zilar, Tri-City Animal Control director, said the shelter faces a similar situation each year as pets that are afraid of the noise and sight of fireworks run off and are lost by their owners.
Many of the 200 phone calls to the shelter Tuesday were reporting found animals.
Animal control officers brought six stray cats and dogs to the shelter over the holiday weekend, Zilar said. And on Tuesday, 23 more animals had come in with more than an hour left until the shelter closed.
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Zilar said pet owners need to have secure, safe places for their animals during the holiday. Options include taking pets to a kennel or asking veterinarians about sedatives for pets that are frightened by fireworks.
A fenced backyard doesn't fit the bill, Zilar said. Fear can make animals capable of what they wouldn't be otherwise, such as getting out of fenced backyards or even going through screen doors.
Background sound such as the radio or TV can help pets cope with fireworks sounds, Zilar said. She said she had two TVs on loud for her 11-year-old dog, Annie, which is frightened of fireworks and ended up hiding in the closet.
"If you can't be with them, you have to put them in an environment that's safe," she said.
Last year, a Richland police officer found a dog near Anthony's in Richland that had swam across the Columbia River after being scared by fireworks and escaping from its home in Pasco, Zilar said.
Some of the lost pets already have been reunited with their owners, and Zilar said she expected more would be once the animal control staff got through all the phone messages.
The shelter, at 1312 S. 18th Ave., in Pasco, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and can be reached at 545-3740.
* Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org