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More Pets Lost or Injured During July 4th Celebrations than Any Other Time of Year

Posted 6/24/18

Our nation’s Independence Day celebrations can be the most stressful and dangerous holiday for your pets. The highest number of lost and injured pets arrive at shelters the days immediately following Independence Day events. The noise and sight of fireworks frighten most of them. The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County wants to remind you about a few common sense steps to take to protect your pet during the July 4th festivities.

Fireworks/Household pets:

  • Keep your pets inside or in a secure kennel, especially when you are not home. Extremely loud noises can be quite stressful to animals. With their sensitive hearing, fireworks can cause your pet to panic and some may bolt from their home in terror. Even normally calm pets may bite or scratch out of fear or anxiety.

  • Leave a TV on, or play soft music on the radio. This may help soothe your pet.

  • Close the blinds/curtains and keep the lights on. Your pet won’t see the bursts of light outside.

  • Other precautions should be considered prior to fireworks season, such as Thundershirts, calming essential oils, and as a last resort, a prescription for the right dosage from your vet to help calm your pet during anxiety. Do not give any type of human medication to your pet.

  • If you are out of town, make arrangements early for a qualified pet sitter and provide the sitter with emergency contact numbers.

    Horses or livestock:

  • Make sure no fireworks are set off near them or your barn. Fireworks can ignite a fire or set off a stampede.

  • Feeding your livestock hay during fireworks may help distract them.

  • Leave barn lights on to diffuse the bright fireworks in the sky.

  • Fans blowing on high in the barn can buffer loud noises.

  • Talk radio may provide a calming human presence.

  • Be sure to have an ID on each horse in case they manage to escape.

  • If you are out of town, notify neighbors and/or book a farm sitter early and provide them with emergency contact numbers.

    Recovery of Lost Pets:

  • The highest number of lost or injured pets occurs during the 4th of July holiday. The fear and chaos of the fireworks cause them to try to escape and many succeed. If they have no identification, they have little chance of being reunited with their family.

  • All pets should minimally have two forms of ID: a collar with an ID tag, and either a County License or a microchip. Each ID should have an emergency contact number. Any form of current ID greatly increase the chances of reuniting you with your lost pet!

Lost/Found a Pet?

  • Contact the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County at 352-793-9117 and post your pet on their website’s “Lost & Found” page at https://www.hsspca.org/lost-found-animals. Contact Sumter County Animal Services at 352-689-4400 and visit their facility to review the lost animals that arrived daily. Be prepared to leave them a full description of the animal and your contact information. They also have a bulletin board there for lost pets.
  • Create a flyer with a photo of the lost animal and your contact information. Post it at all local veterinary offices, groomers, pet supply stores, and throughout your neighborhood.

  • Tell your neighbors. They may know the pet owner or they may be willing to help you in your search.

  • Post your pet’s photos & contact info on local social media pages specifically for Lost and Found pets.

    Additional Safety Tips During Holiday Cookouts:

  • Know your pet’s temperament. If your pet isn’t used to a lot of visitors or noise, or is food/toy aggressive, it’s best to place them in a quiet part of your house until the guests leave. On the other hand, if your pet is a party animal, be sure to ask your guests to not slip them table scraps or take them near fireworks of any kind.

  • Do not feed your pet any picnic scraps or bones. Bones can easily break or splinter and cause blockage or perforation within the intestines. Cooked bones are even more dangerous. Be aware that symptoms of a bone lodged in the digestive system may not show up for a day or two. Typical symptoms include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Do not give your pet alcoholic beverages or toxic foods, such as onions, chocolate, grapes or raisins, and keep them out of reach, as these items can cause accidental overdose, organ damage or possibly death.

The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, no-kill shelter helping animals in need throughout Sumter County, Florida. Donations directly help to cover the cost of saving, treating, and caring for neglected, abused and abandoned animals. Learn more about the HS/SPCA at hsspca.org, 352-793-9117, on Facebook or at the shelter located at 994 CR 529A, in Lake Panasoffkee, Mon.-Fri. 8am-5pm and Sat. 8am-4pm. Visitors are always welcome!

Hurricane Season – June-November

Preparing your Pet NOW for Disaster

Posted 6/24/18



HSSPCA Disaster Pet Prep Brochure 2018.pdf

  • Protecting your pets

  • Tips for large animals

  • Evacuating pets

  • Making a Survival Kit

  • After the Storm – what you should know

Click this image to view our tri-fold brochure. It’s also printable from your browser.

Why Spay/Neuter?

Spaying is a general term used to describe the ovariohysterectomy of a female animal. Neutering is a general term used to describe the castration of a male animal. However, neutering is often used in reference to both genders. The surgical procedure, performed by a veterinarian, renders the animal incapable of reproducing. Here are answers to some questions you may have about this beneficial procedure.

When can I have this procedure done?

American Humane Association believes that all cats and dogs adopted from public or private animal care and control facilities should be spayed or neutered (i.e., sterilized). Such sterilization includes pediatric spaying and neutering of kittens and puppies. American Humane Association supports the passage of laws and regulations mandating that all cats and dogs adopted from public or private animal care and control facilities be sterilized.

American Humane Association encourages the veterinary profession to assist, whenever and however possible, in reducing the number of unwanted pets. This involvement includes supporting the neutering of cats and dogs adopted from public or private animal care and control facilities – thereby controlling the ongoing contribution of offspring to pet overpopulation.

Pet owners should work with their veterinarians to determine the appropriate sterilization ages for individual cats and dogs. Veterinarians are encouraged to work with clients, especially those who are well known and likely to permit an unwanted pregnancy to occur prior to surgery.Short-term and long-term health risks for each animal should always be assessed. American Humane Association encourages research into the development and use of nonsurgical methods of sterilization.

Why should I have my pet neutered?

Animal shelters, both public and private, are faced with an incredible burden: What to do with the overpopulation of dogs and cats that they cannot find homes for? Approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year, due to the sheer fact that there are not enough willing adopters. Having your pet spayed or neutered ensures that you will not be adding to this tremendous burden.

What are some of the health and behavioral benefits?

Through neutering, you can help your dog or cat live a happier, healthier, longer life. Spaying eliminates the constant crying and nervous pacing of a female cat in heat. Spaying a female dog also eliminates the messiness associated with the heat cycle.

Neutering of male dogs and cats can prevent certain undesirable sexual behaviors, such as urine marking, humping, male aggression and the urge to roam. If you have more than one pet in your household, all the pets will generally get along better if they are neutered.

A long-term benefit of spaying and neutering is improved health for both cats and dogs. Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer and totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer. Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces their risk for perianal tumors.

Neutering just costs too much!

The cost of caring for a pet, including providing veterinary care, should be considered before acquiring an animal. Many animal shelters offer low-cost spay/neuter services, and there are also many low-cost spay/neuter clinics across the country. To find low-cost options in your area, call your local animal shelter. The reality is that the cost associated with providing adequate care for just one litter of puppies or kittens is often more than the cost of spaying or neutering. The cost of feeding, worming and first vaccinations for a litter can be upwards of $200 to $300. You must also consider that there could be complications with the birth that require hospitalization or surgery. You will also be faced with finding good homes for the offspring yourself or placing more animals into your local shelter. The cost of the well-being of not just your companion animal, but of future generations, should be considered.

Can’t I allow my purebred dog to have just one litter?

Mixed breed or purebred — there just aren’t enough good homes. Purebred animals also often end up in shelters. In fact, 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebreds. Responsible purebred breeders have homes for their potential litters before they breed.

I don’t even own a pet! Why is this my problem?

All of us are affected by animal overpopulation. Millions of tax dollars are spent annually to shelter and care for stray, abandoned and unwanted pets. Human health is threatened by the danger of transmittable diseases (including rabies), animal bites and attacks. Property may be damaged and livestock killed when pets roam in search of food. Animal waste is proving to be a serious environment hazard, fouling yards and parks. It is only when all of us assume the responsibility for pet overpopulation that we will see any decrease in the problem.

Isn’t it wrong to deprive an animal of the natural right to reproduce?

No, it’s wrong to allow these animals to reproduce millions of unwanted offspring that are eventually killed because there aren’t enough responsible homes.

If I find homes for my pet’s litters, then I won’t contribute to the problem, right?

Wrong. Only a finite number of people want pets. So every home you find for your pet’s offspring takes away a home from a loving animal already at a shelter.

Shouldn’t every female pet have at least one litter before being spayed?

No. In fact, your pet will be healthier if she never sexually matures.

Shouldn’t children experience the miracle of birth?

No. A more important lesson to teach your children would be responsible pet ownership and concern for life by explaining why their pet should not have babies.

Doesn’t neutering alter an animal’s personality?

No. Personality changes that may result from neutering are for the better. Not being distracted by the instinctual need to find a mate helps your pet stop roaming and decreases aggressive tendencies.

Won’t animal shelters take care of the surplus animals?

No. Shelters do their best to place animals in loving homes, but the number of homeless animals far exceeds the number of willing adopters. This leaves many loving and healthy animals in our community that must be euthanized as the only humane solution to this tragic dilemma. Only spaying and neutering can end the overpopulation problem