Pets are People Too: Summer safety tips for pets & their owners

By Jennifer Keene

Summer is our busiest time of year here at the Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter. While we certainly don’t want to be bored, we’d love to prevent some of the things that put animals in danger.

Pets on the Loose

Our busiest day of the year is the 4th of July. Many pets go missing due to their panic over the fireworks that people set off around this time of year (and it can last for weeks). Pets also get lost during the summer because of gates open during yardwork or kids’ playtime, doors and windows open to enjoy the nice weather, and many other seasonal reasons.

Make sure your pets’ ID tags and microchips are up-to-date with your current contact information. Verify that your dog’s license is valid – they are required for all dogs within Washington County and help your dog get home if lost. Look at your fence to see if there are areas that need repair. Talk to family members about keeping pets contained. If you do lose a pet (or if someone else’s ends up on your doorstep), we should be your first point of contact.

“Hot Dog” Calls

Another hallmark of summer for us are “hot dog” calls – people calling to let us know that there is a pet (usually a dog) in a car. Our dispatchers work with callers to try and determine the immediate risk and officers respond when necessary. You’d think that everyone would know by now that a car poses a serious risk. Even on a 75 degree day, the interior of a car can rise to 110 degrees in just 30 minutes. And no, cracking the windows doesn’t help. You may return to your car to find that your pet is okay, but you have a nasty note, a confrontation from an angry stranger, a broken window, or even a citation. For everyone’s sake, please don’t leave pets unattended in a vehicle.

For more tips on being a responsible pet owner, go to The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located at 1901 SE 24th Ave in Hillsboro.