Every New Year's, crying pet owners come into Julie Bank’s lobby. As CEO of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, Bank told KPCC she sees three times the number of incidents involving runaway pets and frustrated owners around New Year's. Reacting to fireworks or thumping party noise, household animals can be unusually fearful, or worse — turn violent.
This year, her team is trying something different. The Humane Society launched a local campaign to educate pet owners on proper New Year's Eve safety precautions. Bank said the campaign aims to decrease the number of unfortunate New Year's-related incidents.
"We have crying people coming into our lobby who lost their dogs saying, 'I didn't think my dog would be the one to run away,'" she said. "Prevention is worth a lot — it only takes one time for your animal to get lost."
Here are Bank's recommendations for proper New Year's Eve pet safety:
1. Leave pets at home
Never take your pet to a New Year's celebration, especially if they aren't used to foreign environments, Bank said.
"They just want to be home and feel safe," she said. "Keep them away from windows, in a quiet, warm place."
The Pasadena Fire Department also recommends leaving pets home during the upcoming Rose Parade.
2. What if the party is at your place?
Bank recommends separating dogs and cats from the party by creating a "pet zone." This separates pets from any accidental consumption of dangerous food or alcohol.
"We've seen animals jump through windows because they're fearful of New Year's celebrations," she said. "Put them in a room and hang a sign saying 'please do not enter, my dog is sleeping.'"
3. Check to make sure your pet has an updated ID tag
When pets get loose, the most difficult situations arise when tags aren't up to date, Bank said. Check to make sure pet identifications are current.
"It's one of the biggest things owners forget to do when they move," Bank said.
The Pasadena Humane Society store offers pet licenses and new tags.
4. What do I do if an animal gets loose?
Chasing pets often makes them run even more, Bank said.
"You'll want to grab some food and call your animal back to you," she said. "Just follow them until you can get them back home."
In a worst-case scenario, contact the Humane Society's animal control officers, who will be on duty all weekend, Bank said.
The Pasadena Humane Society will close on New Year’s Eve at 3 p.m. and reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 9 a.m.