Incessant fireworks spark New Yorkers to flee with their panicked pups
City dogs are having a ruff June.
The seemingly constant barrage of fireworks around New York City over the last month is freaking out Fidos — and even causing some dog owners to leave the city for their pups’ peace of mind.
Complaints over the illegal pyrotechnics have exploded recently — soaring to 3,655 between June 1 and June 19, compared to only 26 grievances over the same time last year, city data shows.
Fourth of July came early this year, local dog owners tell The Post, and their pooches are perturbed.
“He’s literally scared s - - tless,” says Bed-Stuy dog owner Tarran Hatton, who’s been soothing her jumpy Labrador mix, County, late into the night — sometimes until 6 a.m. “[He’s] shivering and pretty much melding his 100-pound body into whatever human he thinks can protect him. He’s not able to go to the bathroom.”
After witnessing a shootout a couple of years ago, 5 ½-year-old County became especially sensitive to loud noises, Hatton says, and the sparkly barrage affecting many neighborhoods from sunset onward is sparking phobias in pooches — and in other neighbors, too.
“Granted, dogs are honestly the least of concern here. There are infants, seniors, vets with PTSD and those battling COVID-19 at home that require broader consideration,” says Hatton, a pastry chef who recently launched mini-doughnut business BlissBomb. Still, she and County are fleeing Brooklyn for a fireworks-free reprieve animal sanctuary in the Poconos.
Bushwick dog walker Dorie Van Dercreek says the fireworks are driving some of her clients out of the city. “It’s causing [puppy] panic attacks,” says Van Dercreek. “One dog is in a trance from the fireworks, he just stands in the corner. And another dog pees on himself now because of the fireworks.”
Meanwhile, Van Dercreek’s cat takes shelter under the bed — or in a cardboard box she created as a “safe space” for the feline — during the nightly light and sound show. “He shuts down and won’t let you pick him up,” she says.
Dog dad Michael Kaplan went so far as to call 911 at 4:30 a.m. Monday morning to complain about the relentless poppers outside his Long Island City window. “I’ve never called 911 in my life,” says Kaplan, whose “morkie” pup (Maltese and Yorkshire terrier) Pancakes is “like a mental patient” from the stress. “It sounds like a war zone.” Kaplan, who hosts the “Lost in America” podcast, says his two young kids, ages 6 and 8, are coping with the noise, but it’s 11-year-old Pancakes who pants, paws, paces and cries into the wee hours.
“Dogs have very sensitive ears. They don’t like thunderstorms and they really don’t like fireworks,” says Kaplan, who’s been dispensing Valium-like drug Sileo every night to try to sedate her. “I ran out of it. I don’t want her to become an addict to this drug. You don’t want to give a dog too much of anything.”
Adds Kaplan, who’s 42 and a heart attack survivor, “I’m afraid she’s going to have a heart attack.”
Manhattan veterinarian Jodie Poller reports an uptick in calls from “panicky” dog owners, many of whom have adopted their pups during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Dogs and fireworks do not mix — they get anxious. It sounds like gun shots,” says Poller, owner of First Avenue Veterinary Hospital near Stuy Town. “People are calling for sedation and meds.” She often prescribes an oral drug called Trazodone that acts as an anti-anxiety agent.
Veterinary acupuncturist Jeff Levy targets “calming points” in pooch patients with “tales of woe.” One of his clients, a Morningside Heights pit bull named Sunny, is “spooked and frightened” and “having a hard time with the fireworks.” Levy also recommends playing pups white noise or music, and cranking up the air conditioner to drown out the fireworks.
Sommer Hixson is escaping Inwood with her terrified 65-pound terrier mutt, Oscar, for quieter pastures near New Paltz.
“I’m escaping because of what’s going on now . . . This year, the fireworks are so bad and clearly are only going to get worse,” Hixson says. “I booked an Airbnb to get away from the city so my dog doesn’t get heart palpitations.”
Even closing the windows and turning up the AC isn’t helping Oscar, 7.
“He won’t go outside after dark — it’s untenable,” she says. “It goes on and on. It doesn’t end.”
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