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Halloween in FW: Tricks, treats and pet safety

Desiree Westberg and Dennis Travica are offering a haunted house at their Federal Way home, which the couple has decorated with handmade Halloween spooks for the past six years. The tour runs Halloween night from 6 to 9 p.m. at the corner of 30th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 314th Street in Federal Way. Entry is a can of food. Proceeds will be donated to Northwest Harvest.  - Jacinda Howard/The Mirror
Desiree Westberg and Dennis Travica are offering a haunted house at their Federal Way home, which the couple has decorated with handmade Halloween spooks for the past six years. The tour runs Halloween night from 6 to 9 p.m. at the corner of 30th Avenue Southwest and Southwest 314th Street in Federal Way. Entry is a can of food. Proceeds will be donated to Northwest Harvest.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

Holiday decorations, strange visitors and spooky sounds and sights can be enough to send a pet running on Halloween.

A few precautions can decrease the chances that a furry companion is lost or injured on the holiday, said Nancy McKenney, King County Animal Care and Control spokeswoman. Equipping pets with identification, properly storing treats and knowing who to call if a pet turns up missing are suggested by the agency.

Pet owners should ensure their animals bear two forms of identification. A pet license can be purchased, renewed or updated online at http://payments.metrokc.gov/petlicenses/. For spayed or neutered cats and dogs, a license cost $20. These do not have to list the pet owner’s personal information on the tag, but do allow animal control to identify the owners through corresponding licensing information.

A personal identification tag can also be useful. These can be picked up at many pet supply stores. Also, a microchip placed just beneath a pet’s skin can assist in locating a lost animal that has ventured from home. If an animal wearing identification is found by Animal Care and Control, owners are notified of the animal’s whereabouts.

“It’s cheap insurance on the animal,” McKenney said.

Another safety hazard for pets is Halloween candy. Chocolate contains theobromine, a deadly toxin to dogs. If enough of this is ingested, it can be lethal. As little as one ounce of baking chocolate can be deadly to a 10-pound dog, veterinarian Jody Thomas said. Toxicity varies from animal to animal and depends on the dog’s size, she said. The bigger the dogs, the less affected they will be, she said.

White chocolate is the least harmful and bakers chocolate is the most harmful, Thomas said. Storing candy out of the reach of pets around the holidays can prevent an accidental poisoning.

If a pet manages to escape, knowing where to look to locate the animal is useful. Lost pets found in Federal Way are taken to a Kent shelter. Stray pets without tags are held by Animal Care and Control for 72 hours, while licensed animals are housed for five days, according to the agency’s Web site.

A roster of lost pets is maintained and can be accessed by phone as well. Animal Care and Control also suggests posting lost pet flyers.

“Anybody who loses an animal, they definitely need to visit that closest animal shelter to them,” McKenney said. “Time is of the essence.”

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@federalway.mirror.com or (253) 925-5565

Find a lost pet:

• Call (206) 296-7387 to access a roster of lost pets.

• Visit the Web site www.returnmypet.com to place a free lost or found pet advertisement.

• Call King County Animal Care and Control at (206) 296-3945 to find where the agency shelters lost pets.

• Visit the Kent shelter at 21615 64th Ave. S.

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