North Fulton County

Dogs scared by fireworks = busiest day of the year for local animal shelters

NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The fireworks may be over, but today, many families are without their best friend: Their dog.

Officials say many dogs get spooked by fireworks and that more get lost on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year.

The day after the Fourth is often one of the busiest days of the year for local animal shelters, which are flooded with calls from people whose animals got spooked and ran off.

Channel 2's Tom Regan talked to a man who was looking for his dog near the Chattahoochee River.

Joey Ross said he was walking his dog in Roswell on Thursday afternoon when someone across the river set off fireworks. His dog, "Trout," panicked and took off into the woods.

Ross and his family have been searching for the beloved boxer ever since.

"Very heartbreaking," Ross said. "We're hoping for the best."

Ross said Trout, who has never run off, got spooked by a noise he couldn't understand, but was incredibly loud to his ears.

"He got scared, insanely scared," Ross said. "We tried to corral him, but there were more fireworks, and ever since, we haven't been able to find him."

Trout is one of many dogs lost after the Fourth of July.

The bursts of fireworks sends them running in terror.

"We have gotten a lot of phone calls from people claiming their animals are lost -- or that they have found lost animals," said Jaci Kobeszka, with the Forsyth County Animal Shelter.

Fireworks can be extremely hazardous for horses, as well.

Several years ago, a horse heard fireworks, ran into a barn wall in Milton, broke its neck and died.

Pam Ross, Joey's mother, has rescued and cared for many horses.

"Every year, horses die because of fireworks," Pam Ross said. "They will take off, break through a fence, run into the road and get hit by a car."

Pam Ross is now helping her son find his missing dog.

"People forget and come out enjoying the day, and then someone shoots off firecrackers and boom, they're gone," Pam Ross said.

Experts say there are a lot of things you can do to keep your pet calm at home during fireworks.

The Atlanta Humane Society suggests not leaving pets outside when fireworks are going off, and don't leave pets home alone if loud noises upset them.

It helps to find a comfortable place in your home for pets during fireworks.

The Humane Society also suggests keeping windows closed and temperatures comfortable.