Safety tips for holiday weekend celebrations

The July 4 holiday is a time for celebration, but it also comes with perils for pets, people traveling and revelers.

Laurens County Humane and Litter Supervisor Geoff Brown said the noise from fireworks can prove particularly dangerous for family dogs.

“Neighbors will set of fireworks and the dogs will injure themselves trying to get away,” Brown said. “They’ll go thorugh a fence when they normally wouldn’t do that and hurt themselves or they’ll run into the road and get hit by cars. Or they just run away and we end up with them.”

The Laurens County Animal Shelter currently has more than 60 dogs and is overcrowded, Brown said. The facility is supposed to only hold around 40 at any given time.

“We desperately need fosters, rescues and adopters now,” Brown said.

But the July 4 holiday is the busiest time of the year for Brown and his staff as they take in dogs that have fled the fireworks. Brown said only about 10% of owners ever come to the shelter to retrieve their dogs.

He suggested bringing your dog indoors, even if it doesn’t stay there normally. He also said people who plan to shoot fireworks should warn their pet-owning neighbors. Putting microchips in the dog can also get a dog home sooner.

“Any time we are open, owners can bring their dog in and we will chip it for $20,” said Brown.

The American Red Cross also put together suggestions on how people can celebrate the holiday safely.

Keeping fireworks out of the hands of small children and not pointing them toward people or animals, structures or flammable material is atop the list.

The agency also urges people to keep a supply of water close by in case of fire and wear eye protection when lighting them.

Also, with temperatures in the 90s this week, the Red Cross warns about the dangers of extreme heat, reminding people to never lock animals or children inside vehicles, to stay hydrated and to wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.

The state of South Carolina has also been listed as the 10th-most dangerous state for July 4 travel. AAA estimates a record 41.4 million Americans will be traveling this holiday weekend, saying highways will be the most crowded today.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Justin Sutherland said motorists should avoid distractions, knowing there will be increased traffic on the highways. He also urged drivers to be responsible and to not drink and drive.

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