UPDATED: Illegal Fireworks Have Four-Footed Victims: Local Pets
Maui, a brindle pit bull, is lost.
The 10-year-old dog doesn’t have a habit of running away, but is one of the dozens of dogs driven to flee when fireworks came too close to home.
In Maui’s case, it was a neighborhood “show” that caused him to bolt.
“We were watching the fireworks on our deck and Maui was out with us,” owner Corey Sack said. “They were loud, like Magic Mountain fireworks, and suddenly, we saw that he was gone.”
Maui broke the gate of the yard’s wooden fence and fled somewhere into the night in the neighborhood at the top of Whites Canyon Road in Canyon Country.
Sack and her fiancé have been to the Castaic shelter to look for Maui, but to no avail. They spent Tuesday afternoon making and posting flyers with Maui’s picture, in the hopes that someone will find him and bring him home.
While fireworks might be entertaining to watch for humans, the effect they have on animals is quite the opposite.
With hearing 10 times more sensitive than ours, dogs often do anything they can to get away from the sudden explosions and whistling. Even dogs kept inside try to hide, moving furniture and burrowing to get away from the noise.
In the last 24 hours, several posting on social networks alerted neighbors of missing canines that broke through gates or scratched down doors to escape.
Most of the time, it’s not the legitimate shows at Castaic, Stevenson Ranch or the mall that drives them to such behavior. More likely than not, illegal fireworks set off in the middle of neighborhoods are the culprit.
UPDATED Wednesday, July 6 : The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control reports that 27 dogs were taken to the Castaic Shelter between July 3 and 5, most likely a result of fireworks scaring them off. On Tuesday, 16 dogs were in the Castaic Shelter, according to Evelina Villa, spokeswoman for Los Angeles Animal Care and Control.
Three of them had happy reunions with their owners, but more than a dozen are still waiting for their humans.
“Pets do get scared,” Villa explained, as she sorted through statistics for shelters all across the county that showed a bump in the number of animals picked up from the streets.
Villa also said that they post pictures of the recovered animals on their website here. The Castaic shelter will also be open tonight until 7 p.m.
Kyle Harris, owner of Kyle’s Kritter Kare and a regular volunteer at the shelter, said that this scenario repeats itself every year and that the shelter is already full with other animals waiting for adoption.
Deputies at the Santa Clarita Valley Station received 101 calls related to illegal fireworks Monday night. They couldn’t get to every one, and by the time they criss-crossed the valley trying to enforce the law against having your own pyrotechnic show, they were unable to confiscate enough evidence to make their time worthwhile. Lawbreakers are willing to take the gamble, playing the odds that they won’t be the ones busted because they believe “everybody does it.”
Never mind that it’s fire season and a disastrous fire have wiped out seven homes in Canyon Country, not too far from where Maui may be wandering.