Local Shelters Warns Public of Risks for Pets During Halloween

| October 15, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Halloween is right around the corner, and now is a good time to begin thinking about safety for our furry friends during the Halloween season.

While some pets may enjoy greeting visitors, others may find the season stressful, and some aspects of the holiday can be downright dangerous to pets.

“Certainly not all candies and treats are safe for pets to be around, Dan Prichard, manager of Venango County Humane Society, told exploreVenango.com.

“If animals ingest things like gum or chocolate, it can be a real danger to them.”

The ASPCA recommends that if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, you should call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.

The risk of pets munching on things they shouldn’t extends beyond just the candy, though.

The Humane Society of the United States notes that some holiday decorations can also pose a threat to pets, including include rubber eyeballs (choking risk), glow sticks and fake blood (possible poisons), fake cobwebs (can choke or entangle pets and wildlife), potpourri (toxic to birds) and strung lights.

Prichard also noted that Halloween is a common time for pets to get away from their owners.

“Animals should be kept inside for safety,” Prichard said.

“It’s always paramount to remember with all of the people Trick-or-Treating and opening and closing doors.”

According to Prichard, they’ve already had a larger than average influx of stray animals recently and want to make sure pet owners are aware of the danger of pets escaping.

“With the temperatures dropping, pets aren’t meant to be out in the woods all alone, so please make sure they’re in a safe area, where they can’t get out and get into harm’s way.”

Also, it is always recommended that pets wear their tags around any holiday where the risk of runaways is increased, to make sure that they can be safely returned.

Debbie Stephens, board member and secretary at Tri-County Animal Rescue Center noted that costumes can be another danger.

“Watch for small pieces, things they could bite off and swallow, especially if it’s something that’s not a specific pet-safe costume,” Stephens said.

“Also, check for things they could get tangled on or trip on.”

She also noted one danger that some people may not consider is actually the danger of fire from pets playing with jack-o-lanterns.

“Use the battery operated tea lights instead of candles, especially anywhere a pet could get to them. Otherwise, you could end up with a fire.”

Stephens said that she was aware of at least one case, a number of years ago, of a dog knocking over a candle-lit jack-o-lantern and causing a fairly serious fire.

“The ended up with significant damage, and the dog and the person trying to get the dog away were both injured. It’s just not worth the risk when you can buy the battery-operated lights.”

One other issue that often comes up around Halloween is the issue surrounding black cats. From symbolism to superstition to urban legends of animal cruelty, black cats are almost synonymous with the holiday, leaving them in an interesting place.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, shelters and rescues all over the U.S. make statements each year saying they will not adopt out any black cats during October due to fears of the animals being used as costume accessories or, far worse, as the victims of Halloween pranks or even ritual sacrifices.

The organization notes that while terrible cruelty cases, like animal sacrifice, can happen, these incidents are actually very rare, and it is unlikely that people willing to take the time to go through a shelter’s adoption process with that motive in mind.

According to Prichard, Venango County Humane Society does not place any prohibition on the adoption of black cats around Halloween.

“We always do a background check on people who are going to adopt,” he noted.

“Sadly, people do terrible things to pets all the time, and that’s our worst nightmare, so we try to spend time always making sure we’re adopting pets to fit adopters.”

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