Hillsboro's Bonnie L. Hays animal shelter ready for July 4
Crash, bang, boom! The loud, exciting entertainment that comes with July 4 fireworks may be fun for humans, but many of our four-legged friends feel quite the opposite.
The Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro will keep its doors open to stray animals this Thursday, July 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with hopes of reuniting owners with their pets. During those hours, residents of Washington County can call about lost and found pets or visit the shelter at 1901 S.E. 24th Ave.
"Having our services available through this busy holiday is something we're really proud to continue," said Jennifer Keene, Animal Behavior and Outreach Coordinator. "We know that both firework noises and pets themselves can be very unpredictable during this time."
The Fourth of July presents one of the shelter's busiest times of the year, according to Keene.
Between July 1 and 7, 2018, the shelter took in 35 dogs and 29 cats. Twenty-five pets were reunited with their owners that week, though only two of them were cats.
"This year, we really want to get people thinking about cats and their safety around the Fourth of July," said Keene. "Of course, microchipping is very important, but they are only as good as the information attached to them, so make sure that info is current.
"Try hard to keep your cat indoors this week and be sure to contact us if they go missing."
Loud, unexpected noises are known to cause panic among pets, leading them to bolt and escape from their normal enclosures. These loud pops often begin before July 4, so the shelter urges pet owners take steps to protect their furry friends before all the fun begins.
"If there's still time, contacting your veterinarian to see if there's anything they might prescribe for your pet's stress or anxiety is a good step to take," Keene said. "But pet owners should absolutely not give their animals anything over-the-counter."
If it's too late to visit the vet, Keene suggests implementing calm and rewarding counteractions. Combating pets' stress reactions to loud noises with low-frequency music or special treats can help cushion the negative experience or even turn it around completely.
The shelter also suggests individuals leaving their pets at home for the Fourth of July evening arrange for a pet-sitter or family friend to look after them.
"We've been seeing a positive trend of more owners being reunited with their pets each year," Keene said. "Now we're just hoping to see that trend continue this year, especially for the cat population."
Open on the Fourth
What: Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter
When: July 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Location: 1901 S.E. 24th Ave., Hillsboro