While we celebrate our freedom, unfortunately many pets will find their freedom this 4th of July. Every year, Kern County Animal Control is flooded with dogs and cats who escape, spooked by loud fireworks.
After a lot of booms and blasts Tuesday night, a lost and scared bulldog showed up at one northwest Bakersfield home. Ley Vaughn discovered it on his door mat after returning from work.
"There's this bulldog staring at me and it's got a head the size of a human, and I was like, Oh! But, she just came right up and started kissing me," he said.
He and his son named the not-so-little girl, "Betsy the Bulldog", after Betsy Ross. That's because she likely escaped trying to run from the booming 4th of July fireworks
"When we were combing her last night, we got tons of hair and she was a little shaggy and everything, so you could tell she had a rough night," said Harper Vaughn.
Kern County Animal Control said Betsy will be joined by many animal escapees this holiday. Last year, more than 700 pets landed in the shelter during the week of July 4th. This year, they are on track to exceed that number.
"The last thing you want is to get your animal loose off your property and roaming around in the street because good things cannot come of that," advised Nick Cullen with Kern County Animal Control.
He advises to keep your pets safe, bring them inside in a quiet area and remove anything harmful. You can even play music or leave a television and light on to soothe your pet. If they have to be outside, even in a fenced yard and chained up, never leave them unattended. Fear can power them to escape. And, never leave your pets in a car.
For Betsy, a few fliers featuring her misplaced mug placed in the neighborhood did the trick. Her owners called to claim their dog. Its real name is Jima.
"The girls were getting a little upset," said Sofie Zimmermann of her daughters. "They were wanting to make sure to get her before tonight because we know that the neighborhood gets a little crazy. So, we are glad to get her back."
"I thought that we would never see her again," said Reagann Zimmermann of her pet bulldog.
But, there are still more slobbery days ahead for Jima and her family, one example pet owners can learn from now before the 4th of July's big bangs.
Jima's owners say she'll be staying safe in the laundry room for the celebrations.
If you find a dog or if yours escapes, Kern County Animal Control is open Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are expecting a large crowd.