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4th of July warning for pet owners

The sound of Independence Day fireworks tonight could frighten family pets and cause them to run away, officials from the Helen Woodward Animal Center cautioned.

''Pets don't even have to be close to the fireworks,'' said HWAC spokesman John Van Zante. ''Even the echo and sound of fireworks several miles away can terrify a family pet. If it doesn't have a safe place to hide, or if there's any way for it to run out a door, pull out of their collar or escape over a fence, your pet will be gone.''

More family pets will run away from home this weekend than during any other time of the year, according to the center.

To prevent pets from running away during Fourth of July fireworks, the HWAC recommends:

-- not taking pets to fireworks displays;

-- bringing pets indoors before fireworks displays begin;

-- making sure pets have access to their ''safe place'' or a quiet, comfortable, enclosed room where they can hide; and

-- leaving the radio or television on for background noise.


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