The Latest

Community News

The Fourth of July is No Holiday for Animals, or the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA

Noise from fireworks spooks pets left home alone

Published on Thursday, July 2, 2020 | 7:47 am

The Fourth of July is a wondrous celebration of our nation’s history, but the fifth of July is the busiest day of the year for the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA.

“We get a massive influx of strays on the fifth of July,” Jack Hagerman, vice president of communications for the Pasadena Humane, said recently. “Pets get spooked from the fireworks, the fight or flight instinct kicks in, and they flee to find safety. This is the busiest time of the year for us.”

To make room for the stray pets, many of whom will be reunited with their families at some point, the organization focuses on clearing the kennels throughout the first half of the year leading up to the Fourth of July. The group held a $5 adoption event last Friday and continually works try to put dogs into new loving families.

“Our adoption numbers go up whenever we do pet promotions such as this,” Hagerman said. “So the event is doing what it is supposed to. We see a higher number of pets getting new homes and that’s why we do this before the Fourth of July. We’re stacking the odds in our favor in terms of having enough kennel space in case we do get a lot of animals coming in.”

Most often, the runaways happen while the family is away from home watching a fireworks show, Hagerman said.

“Many dogs believe the loud noise is occurring close to them, so they’ll jump a fence or dig under to escape,” Hagerman said. “When the people who normally give them comfort are not around, that’s when they’ll run away.”

The Fourth of July is terrifying for most animals, and it’s a tough night for pet owners who often must choose between staying home to comfort the pet or going to see their annual fireworks display. But Hagerman recommended against taking pets along when going to a fireworks display.

“Some people don’t understand how stressful the noise can be so they’ll take the pets with them to watch fireworks and that’s when they get into a situation where the loud boom will make the dog bolt,” he said.

The phones will start ringing first thing in the morning on July 5th, Hagerman said. In many cases its owners whose pets are gone and many other calls are from people who see lost animals on the streets.

“Fireworks happen after dark so people are out enjoying their party late into the evening,” he said. “The pets get loose and the owners comb the neighborhood to find them, and the pet may be hiding under a bush somewhere away from the noise. The pet won’t start to venture out to find their way home until the morning and that’s when we get the calls from people call us to point out the lost animals.”

Local cities including Pasadena contract with Pasadena Humane, so in addition to its regular work, the holiday brings on new challenges.

“On top of it being a really big week for strays, we’re already bursting at the seams,” he said. “It’s the busiest time for strays and it’s the time when most kittens and puppies are born so you’ll see a lot of shelters posting adoption events throughout the month of June because we’re going to have an influx in July.”

Hagerman said that’s one of the reasons for pet owners to keep their information up to date.

“Usually we’re available to reach out immediately and we can reunite the pet owner with their pet pretty quickly,” Hagerman said. “When they’re not microchipped we just have to wait. When animals come into the shelter we post their photos online so people have access to it when they’re searching, hopefully, they’ll see it online and they can all be reunited.”

Hagerman said the organization owes a debt of gratitude to the volunteers, who step up at this time of the year. He added that the Humane Society has a volunteer drive twice a year for those interested in helping.

For more information go to

Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.

Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m.

Make a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *