LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Although Los Angeles County health officials have barred fireworks shows this year, animal-advocacy officials are warning that pets can still get spooked by illegal pyrotechnics.

“Pet owners are not always aware that their pets may react to the sounds and bright flashes of fireworks,” said Marcia Mayeda, director of the county Department of Animal Care & Control. “This can trigger the fight or flight instinct.”

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Dogs and cats can escape from small openings in houses and fenced yards in search of a safe place, officials warned. They then may be injured by a vehicle or wind up in a crowded local shelter.

Each year, animal shelters fill with household pets that have been scared off by the fireworks.

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Animal-care experts advised owners to:

  • Make sure pets have up-to-date identification tags and, if possible, a microchip registered with owner contact information.
  • Keep pets inside in an enclosed room or, if they must go outside, make sure gates and fences are very secure.
  • Create a safe space at home, with windows closed and covered, and plenty of water and food.
  • Be sure to leave animals with a responsible party if leaving town for the holiday.

If your pet does flee, owners are urged to quickly post signs in the neighborhood and go to the nearest city or county animal shelter.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)