Here's the nightmare scenario: You're out at a Fourth of July party when the fireworks start. Your dog goes into a frenzy. In a crazed, mad panic, he flings himself through the plate glass window in your living room and, despite normally being skittish around cars, barrels out into the road outside your house as he attempts to flee the sound of the fireworks, and is hit by a car.

Suzanne Edson has seen the victims of just such holiday-induced terror.

"They do things like jump through glass windows, jump off balconies," said Edson, a supervisor in Hesperia's Animal Control division. "When your dog escape's it's going to be panicked and not act like they normally do."

 

A dog's response to thunderstorms is the easiest way to know how they'll react to fireworks, she said.

Even if a runaway dog does survive its headlong flight, the pet's owner may not see it again.

"The next thing is your dog will find someone to feel safe [with]," Edson said.

An "inside only" dog with no license, no registration and no identifying microchip is hard to reunite with its owner, especially if it traveled a while before being taken in by a good Samaritan or picked up by one of the Victor Valley's animal control agencies.

"A thunderstorm, you can't prepare for," Edson said. "But Fourth of July we know is coming."

Her recommendations for pet owners:

* If possible, be home with a skittish pet. They'll be inclined to stick by you when the fireworks start.
* Buy a commercial kennel to keep your dog in, if you won't be home.
* Talk to your veterinarian about whether anti-anxiety drugs are appropriate for your dog.
* Get your dog licensed. (Since all licensed dogs must have had their rabies shot, if a dog escapes and bites someone, it can be quarantined at home, rather than in the city's animal shelter for an additional charge.)

"If they're really, really jumpy, it's hard to safely contain them at home," she said. Empty "garages are better than homes."

Hesperia Animal Control licenses dogs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday. A license costs $13 a year for spayed or neutered dogs and $55 a year for dogs that are not. For more information, call 760-947-1715.

Note: Fireworks are banned within Hesperia city limits, although "safe and sane" fireworks are allowed in Adelanto, Chino, Colton, Rialto and in portions of Fontana, Grand Terrace and San Bernardino.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.