Dozens of scared dogs escaping homes
Jenny Stokes and her daughter Olivia, reunited with their dog Jet at the Lost Dog's Home in North Melbourne. Photo: Eddie Jim
Illegal New Year's Eve fireworks across Melbourne have frightened dozens of dogs into fleeing their homes, according to the Lost Dogs' Home.
But the upside is that numbers are inexplicably lower than in previous years.
General Manager Sue Conroy said the North Melbourne Home had received just under 50 dogs since New Year's Eve, with one dog arriving dead after being hit by a car. The Cranbourne Shelter had 36.
"It's about a third of what we'd normally get by this time," said Ms Conroy. "We are thrilled. We've got an array of workers here and we're all thrilled."
She did not know why numbers were down. "Maybe illegal fireworks have become harder to get. Maybe there's more awareness among dog owners, who are wising up to illegal fireworks in the suburbs," she said.
"We experience this problem each and every year ... despite our strong stance against backyard fireworks, there are reckless members of the public that continue this serious act with appalling consequences."
But Ms Conroy said she expected about another 50 dogs to come into the Home through Tuesday and Wednesday.
She said the official fireworks in Melbourne's CBD did not present a problem as there was not a big dog population in the city and owners were aware of when fireworks would occur. Additionally, Melbourne City Council text messaged owners to inform them of the firework times, she said.
The Home urges all owners with microchipped or tagged pets to ensure their contact details are up to date.
"If your pet is carrying an out-of-date phone number, address or email address on their ID, there is simply no way you can be contacted and reunited with your pet," Ms Conroy said.
Many pets given as Christmas gifts are also abandoned over this period, she said.
The North Melbourne shelter is currently caring for over 200 dogs and half-price adoptions are being offered until the end of January to reduce the numbers.