AC Pup laments the ‘new normal’

The recent Fourth of July certainly took us by surprise with the new fireworks law, the America Heritage Celebration Act. We didn’t know about it then but have had a crash course in it now.

Before this law went into effect, we’d have some fireworks in the distance and a few sparklers in the neighborhood for a couple of hours after dark. It didn’t seem to last too long, just long enough for you to realize we were celebrating something. And then the party was over.

So I would pretty much tell pet parents to keep their babies safe inside since it’s just one night of celebration. I knew if we could make it past those couple hours of noise without losing too many dogs, we could breathe a sigh of relief.

But this year was altogether different, and we were totally not expecting what happened. Maybe we should’ve paid better attention to the bills our legislators were working on to see what might have an impact on animals, but honestly all the rescuers I know are so busy taking care of animals they don’t have time to monitor legislation. Maybe we should get a lobbyist to watch out for the animals.

At any rate, I began to notice something was significantly different when I heard the intense noise. At first, I thought it was gunfire since it was so loud and scary.

What was really frightening was that it was so close. It sounded like professional fireworks that experts use at the fair. But these were amateurs setting off explosives in front of my house. It sounded like we were being bombed.

Then began the frantic requests from Facebook to help find dogs that escaped their fences. They were coming in one right after another. And they were from people who thought they’d taken every precaution having their pet confined in some fashion.

We lost dogs that were in fences, behind invisible fences, on leashes and even in cars. I worked into the wee hours of July 5 posting the ever-increasing number of lost ones on my Facebook page. When I returned to my computer after a brief rest, there were about 25 more pleas for help find lost dogs.

We have found some of the lost pets. But unfortunately at least eight of the beloved family pets that escaped did not survive.

Ironically, we’ve gotten reports of daily fireworks, so the requests for help to find lost dogs spooked by fireworks continue daily. The new law allows people to shoot fireworks any day of the week. So how will we anticipate when the booms are coming?

From now on, dogs or cats that stay outside or even briefly go outside will be subject to these explosions any night of the week without warning. I can tell you that fences, especially invisible fences, won’t hold scared dogs in. A terrified dog will run right through the boundary of an invisible fence if he experiences the horrific sounds.

So what are pet parents to do to keep their babies safe? First, keep your pets inside. Next, microchip your pet. Make the appointment and get it done. And put sturdy, legible ID tags on your pets, and change them quarterly.

Next, purchase a martingale collar at the pet store. This is the collar that will tighten if your pet tries to back out of it. So if you’re walking your dog on a leash and hear an unexpected loud boom, chances are she won’t be able to escape the collar.

The fireworks that started on Independence Day and have continued daily have been quite traumatic for people’s pets, farm animals and probably wildlife, too.

And the new law may create an aggravation for those working folks trying to sleep since the explosives can be shot every night of the week, even a night before you have a very important meeting at work and need your rest. What about new parents trying to get a tiny baby to sleep with loud, scary fireworks right in front of their house? Or people who are ill and don’t need to be disturbed?

We’re trying to adjust to the new normal with the potential of hearing explosives close to our homes any night of the week. I encourage you to please take extra measures to keep your pets safe and try to make them feel secure.

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