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Sat, Feb. 23
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Halloween shouldn't be terrifying for people's pets

Next Wednesday is Halloween, and many pet owners are looking forward to enjoying a fine celebration of this traditionally spooky evening of costumes and treats. Many pets also enjoy taking part in the festivities, although not all find the excitement and chaos of this day to their liking.

Unfortunately, there can be a dark side to the last day of October. A few people associate cats with witchcraft and bad luck, especially black cats. Others may find it amusing to use a cat as a prop for a thoughtless prank. Because of the possibility of such cruelty, many animal welfare agencies, including the Yavapai Humane Society, cease adopting black cats during the days preceding Halloween. Although this precaution may, to some extent be due to so called "urban legends", we believe it's best to exercise caution even though all our adopters are carefully screened before we release any pet.

To keep your pets safe on Halloween, YHS believes the following precautions are well worth repeating:

• Keep pets safely inside, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. This will ensure that pets won't become frightened or feel threatened at the sight of costumed children. And remember, frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape, which can go unnoticed during all of the commotion.

• Keep candy safely out of pets' reach. Candy, especially chocolate, can be harmful even toxic, to pets. Instead, have a few of your pets' favorite treats on hand.

• For their sake and yours, keep pets away from live flame decorations, such as candles and jack-o-lanterns. Restrict your pets' access to hanging decorations, such as streamers. Pets are curious and can become tangled or even choke if they chew on decorations.

• Don't let the family dog accompany kids on their trick-or-treat outing. Children may have a difficult time handling a pet during the festivities.

• Be sure that your pets are wearing current I.D. tags at all times. In case they become frightened and run away, your chances of their safe return are greatly enhanced when contact information is readily available.

• Keeping your pets safely confined inside on Halloween will ensure that your pet will not fall victim to Halloween pranksters.

By observing these simple precautions, Halloween can be safe and fun for all members of the family - both two and four legged members. Have a happy Halloween!

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