TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Two agencies in Twin Falls are already having a busy few days ahead of the July Fourth holiday, making sure animals stay safe. KMVT had the opportunity of riding along with animal control on Tuesday to see their day-to-day operations and how they are inundated with an increase in calls for this holiday week.
Dog leash in an animal control car
"A couple of weeks ago, got warned by shelter staff and my coworker that's been at the job, and is a little more experienced than I have, that this week will probably one of the busiest weeks of the year," said Jamie Henderson, an animal control officer.
She said they tend to average about 10 to 15 calls for animals a day, but it also depends on the day and time of year.
"This time of the year is definitely picking up and being busy," she said.
A KMVT reporter joined animal control Tuesday when the officer received a call for a brown chihuahua on the loose.
"These little chihuahuas, though, they’re hard to catch," she said.
When the officer arrived to where the dog was seen last, a neighbor said the homeowner was able to pick it up and take their dog back in.
"Some of them are pretty hard," she said, of having to pick up the animal.
They have tools such as pole sticks for the more vicious dogs, she said. They have treats to help lure the animals as well.
When the animals are caught, they get dropped off at the Twin Falls Animal Shelter no matter the time of day.
Animal control officers work from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., so any calls after that will go to a police officer. They all have ways of getting the animals inside the shelter once they are caught.
"We’re able to put the dogs, if there’s kennels available, inside kennels with food and water and a blanket to keep them until animal shelter staff arrive the next day," Henderson said.
"We're already at 10 if we make that association with fireworks," said Debbie Blackwood, the director of the Twin Falls Animal Shelter.
Six dogs and four cats were taken to the shelter, possibly, because of fireworks.
"People don't think that cats are afraid of fireworks and they are," Blackwood said.
As KMVT has reported in the past, owners are asked to animals inside when fireworks are going off in the neighborhood and try to keep them calm by distracting them with music or white noise.
"I responded to also a deceased cat, that could've been caused from fireworks being scared, the same day I responded to a deceased dog that could've been caused by fireworks that had been missing for several days," Henderson recalled of calls this week.
One rule Henderson wants to remind the public about is that dogs are not allowed to be off their leashes unless it's at the dog park.
"Any dog off leashes is considered dogs at large," she said.
Owners can see a citation of up to $156.50, however, she said they try to educate first before giving a fine.
"If we see a person repeatedly not following a rule, we take further action," Henderson said. They will give owners a temporary leash if they are stopped.
Just on Monday, she said they responded to three calls where a dog was in a car in Twin Falls.
"We always check on the condition of the dog and the temperatures as well, probably one of the important things is making sure the dog is alert and OK, otherwise, we’d have to get an officer to open the vehicle and get the dog out of the vehicle," she said.
Over the next few days, animals might be loose because of the fireworks, people can call their local dispatch center if they happen to catch one, or call owners can call their local shelter or pound if they've lost a pet.