This is the time of year when I tell you that I hate Halloween. I hate the way we start receiving calls about lost black cats before Halloween, I hate the gruesome costumes, and I hate knowing what I know about the “holiday.” About three years ago, Lynn Shelton (board president and humane investigator) and I attended a local workshop about cult rituals. Some of the pictures and slides still haunt me, and when I wake up in the middle of the night with them on my mind, prayer is the only thing that erases them.
Halloween can be a scary time for pets. They are very routine-oriented, and can be upset by the parties and trick-or-treaters. They can also become frightened by the costumes. We recommend that pet owners take the following precautions:
Keep your pets inside, away from all Halloween activities. They can feel threatened by the sight of the costumes, and frequently opened doors provide an opportunity for escape. Make sure all pets wear collars with identification tags just in case.
Do not give in to the temptation to let your pets have candy. Candy can be harmful to them, and chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets.
If you use candles in jack-o-lanterns, make sure your pet stays away. Accidents can happen, and the candles can quickly burn or set fire to a pet’s fur. Playful pets can become entangled in hanging decorations like streamers, and other decorations can be a choking hazard.
It may sound like a cute idea to take your dog with you for trick-or-treating, but a dog could become frightened or confused by the noise and costumes. A dog bite or lost dog will end the fun.
Every outside animal is at risk for being hurt by pranksters or cruel people, but black cats are especially at risk during this time of year. If you do have a black cat, the safest place for him for a couple of weeks before Halloween is right by your side.
Many animal shelters will not adopt out black cats for the week before Halloween, although that practice is becoming less popular. We have guidelines in place that protect the animals year-round, but we do look very carefully when people want to adopt a black cat right before Halloween.
We offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of someone who participates in ritual sacrifice or cruelty. If you know, or even suspect, someone may be involved, please call us.
(Critter Corner is co-sponsored by the Register & Bee and the Danville Area Humane Society. Questions or comments should be mailed to Critter Corner, P.O. Box 3352, Danville, VA 24543 or e-mailed to email@example.com).