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October 25, 2011 > Ohlone Humane Society: The clock is ticking

Ohlone Humane Society: The clock is ticking

By Nancy Lyon

The countdown to Halloween is on and in a very few days, our homes and yards will be swarming with frightening creatures that defy description. The fact that all... well, maybe not all... are young children just having fun means little to the members of your animal family who may see them as terrifying invaders where the only choice is to stand and protect... or head out down the road as fast as their legs can carry them.

Many people take the welfare of their animals seriously on this night of the unexpected. However, it doesn't hurt to go over the fundamental things we should be doing for their protection on All Hallows Eve when it's said that the light side of the year gives way to the darkness and spirits of the dead roam free.

If you fail to take reasonable precautions and your critters give way to fear of the frightening apparitions at the door and bolt, it helps to get them safely home if they are wearing a collar (not a dangerous choke chain) with ID tags and current contact information. Also, being micro-chipped will get them back to you much faster if they get lucky and end up in a shelter.

To prevent this nightmare, the best solution is to keep them in a closed, quiet room away from scary trick-or-treaters with costumes and noises they don't understand. It can also prevent a bite brought on by anxiety from the stress of it all; your calm, loving dog may turn into Cujo if he thinks you are threatened. A bite with all the grief involved or a lost animal is a poor end to what should be a celebration.

If your animal is either indoor/outdoor, or sadly, delegated to being an outside only dweller, they can be at harm's way from sickos that think it's entertaining to torment and even injure unprotected animals. To avoid the bad guys, make your four-legged family an inside only or confined away from view for several days before and after Halloween. Black animals are targets during this time and they have disappeared never to be seen again to a fate we perhaps don't want to know.

Trick or treating is meant for humans who understand it's all in fun. Don't take along your dog, cat, or...? It's not really fun for them and it's a setup for disaster. For everyone's safety, leave them home.

When reveler's return home with their hoard of sweets make sure it's secure in a place that's out of reach of even the most determined and agile animal. Dogs love candy as much as kids, and like kids, they can become ill and in their case, it can be deadly. Definitely off the menu is toxic and potentially lethal chocolate and raisins.

Although I can't understand why, some animals don't object to being dressed in costumes. My only comment is that if it makes them uncomfortable, remember it's unnatural for them to wear anything but their furry skin, so don't put them through the stress or expose them to the potential hazards simply for the entertainment value.

Also, keep in mind that the night belongs to a number of critters. Nocturnal creatures such as raccoons, opossums, skunks, and foxes wake up and venture out for food, and Halloween is just another night to them. If you encounter a wildling, keep a safe distance between you. Respect the nighttime regulars and their space. It's their world too.

If the worst happens and your animal companion runs away or disappears for any reason, don't wait, contact your local animal shelter as soon as possible and ask for advice in finding your friend. Don't wait hoping they will "show up," it could cost them their lives.

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