Fireworks causing dogs to run away from home

Posted at 10:33 PM, Jun 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-30 22:33:24-04

PORTAGE, Mich. -- ***UPDATE***  The missing dog described below -- Benson -- was found early Wednesday morning.  Benson's owners called us to report that Portage Police had seen our story, and happened to come across the missing dog at around 6:20 a.m.  Benson is now back where he belongs.


Fireworks are causing dogs to run away from home, creating a big headache for dog owners.

Carly Luttmann from the Kent County Animal Shelter said this is a national problem during the 4th of July holiday.

"The amount of calls that we get on a daily basis for animals running at large are increased in times of fireworks displays," said Luttmann.

Saying it's not unusual for the number of animals coming in jumping from approximately ten to 60.

Kerrie Messenger, a dog owner from Portage, has been missing her dog Benson for four days after fireworks spooked her dog, running away from her during an evening walk by her home.

"Benson is a small dog, so he usually just stays with the other dogs, but somebody lit off fireworks so he bolted into the back woods."

Benson, a 22 lb. miniature American Eskimo, is named after Kerrie's son and holds a special place in her heart.

"My son Benjamin, we got Benson after my son died," said Kerrie.

So she's doing everything she can to find her dog but there's still no sign of Benson.

"Someone could have picked him up and not bring him back," said Messenger. "It’s just funny, all of these people we’ve asked and nobody has seen him."

Luttmann from the Kent County Animal Shelter understands noise phobia is common among dogs: especially during the 4th of July, causing hundreds of dogs to run away, frightened of the Holiday's festivities. But there are remedies for protecting your pet from becoming frightened.

"It's called a thunder shirt, basically a calming vest that hugs your pet during times of stimulation," said Luttmann. "It's called hug therapy if you've ever heard of that."

Saying it's also important to be prepared in the event your dog runs away.

"So we encourage people to get a dog license, that’s the best way to ensure an officer that finds your dog running astray can be brought back directly to you," said Luttmann.

There's still no sign of Benson, and with no ID or microchip, Kerrie said there's a reward for finding him. If you find Benson, Kerrie requests you bring him to the local vet or groomers in Portage.