Home / News / Safety for You and Your Pets on the Fourth

Safety for You and Your Pets on the Fourth

San Diego County CA– Unless you want to trade your independence for a jail cell or maybe even a hospital room, don’t buy and set off fireworks or light sparklers for the Fourth of July.

Let the pyrotechnical experts put on the fireworks show and enjoy it as a spectator.

Fireworks can cause burns, cuts, amputations, and blindness. They can also ignite brush in timber-dry conditions.

In San Diego County, it is illegal to possess and use all fireworks, or manufacture fireworks or other explosives, Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit Sgt. Everard Dayrit said. That includes fireworks labeled “safe and sane.”

Under California law, those convicted of possessing, importing or making fireworks can face fines of up to $50,000 and be sent to jail or prison for up to a year.

According to a 2013 Fireworks Annual report, 11,400 people were treated in hospitals across the United States for firework injuries, and eight people died. Sixty-five percent of the injuries came in a month-long period around the Fourth of July Six of the eight fatalities also occurred in this time frame. The report is compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Children should be warned not to try to play with fireworks or even fireworks that appear to be leftover because they could still be active.

The Sheriff’s Department is also warning people not to set off paper or sky lanterns because there is no way to control where they might land, and the open flame could start a fire. Paper and sky lanterns are also illegal under the County of San Diego’s fire code.

Thundering booms, screaming whistling sounds and bright multi-colored lights shooting across the night sky may mean a Fourth of July fireworks celebration to you, but to your dog it may seem like his safe world is coming to an end.

Fireworks and your pets

“Fireworks and other noisemakers on the Fourth of July can trigger an escape or ‘flight’ response in pets and cause serious injury or even death,” said County Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson. “Panicked pets may dig under, climb over, or break through gates, screens, fences, windows or doors and hurt themselves or get lost in attempts to escape the cacophony. Any time pets are loose, they face even greater dangers from vehicles or other animals.”

County Animal Services offers these tips to keep your pets safe this Fourth of July:

  • Avoid taking your pet to fireworks displays.
  • Keep your pets indoors in a sheltered, quiet area. Some dogs become destructive when frightened so remove dangerous objects your pet may chew. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep your pet company while you’re away.
  • Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets that normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and get lost.
  • If you know your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult your veterinarian to see if anxiety-relieving medication is appropriate.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects, even death, within minutes.
  • Ensure your pets are easily identifiable in case they do get lost.
  • Microchip your pets. The County’s shelters in Carlsbad, Bonita and San Diego offer microchipping clinics every Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. The fee is only $10 and includes registration. If you bring in your pet Thursday, July 3, the microchip will be FREE.
  • Register your dog with Finding Rover. The free facial recognition app matches your lost dog’s face with those that have been found helping the public and shelters reunite you with your missing dog.

If you find a lost pet after the fireworks, call the department’s 24-hour emergency dispatch number at (619) 236-2341. If you find one after 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, call the department’s public line at (619) 767-2675.

If you’ve lost your pet, visit the shelter closest to you Saturday, July 5 or check the department’s Lost and Found web page. For other department news, visit Animal Services’ Facebook page.