LAWTON, Okla._The Fourth of July holiday weekend is the busiest time of the year for the City of Lawton's Animal Welfare Department.
Officials say many people simply don't realize how terrifying the sounds of fireworks can be for pets, and they will do whatever it takes to try and escape from the noise. They say they take in 50 to 60 lost animals on this weekend alone that people turn in from across Comanche County.
Lawton Animal Welfare field supervisor Russell Anderson says many owners are surprised when they come home on July 4 to find their pets gone.
"These dogs are really afraid of this. This is a very unnatural thing for them. The loud booms, the lights. These guys are going to jump the fence, climb the fence, they are going to do anything that they can to escape. It's that fight or flee mentality," Anderson explained.
Anderson says they have already made preparations for the influx of animals they expect to have to hold.
"We have, right now, all our carriers and all of our temporary kennels are now empty. We have everything in a permanent pen. We do have them sitting to the side waiting to be used," said Anderson.
Anderson says with all the pets lost this holiday season, there are ways to keep your furry friends safe.
"Big booms all weekend long. Go ahead and bring those animals in. Secure them in the house. Turn the TV on. Turn it up. You know, have the volume up a little bit louder. Even my dogs are scared to death when [fireworks] are going off," said Anderson.
Anderson says he wants pet owners to be able to keep their pets at home where they belong.
"If we could get people to do preventative measures now, that would stop them from even coming down to our facility," said Anderson.