LAYTON -- One of the big concerns surrounding Utah's new fireworks law was that the now-legal fireworks, and the extended time period when they can be ignited, would have a negative effect on pets.
Animal service officials are not so quick to confirm that concern, but they are not quick to dismiss the thought, either.
Clint Thacker, director of Davis County Animal Care and Control, said that while his office received more missing-dog calls than usual during the Fourth of July weekend, the number of dogs impounded during that time was not significantly higher.
The new law permits fireworks June 26 to July 26, and legalizes a type of firework that looks like miniature professional displays and can travel as high as 150 feet.
Thacker said that, in 2010, between June 26 and July 17, 225 dogs and 302 cats were impounded in Davis County. During the same time this year, his officers impounded 260 dogs and 281 cats.
While the number of dogs impounded is higher this year, Thacker was quick to point out that other factors could cause the increase.
"You have to look at the population growth in the area as well," he said.
Lt. Chad Ferrin, director of Weber County Animal Services, said it would be difficult to compare exact numbers from 2010 and 2011 because Weber County Animal Services merged with the Ogden Animal Shelter in November.
Weber County Animal Services now shelters lost animals from everywhere in Weber County except South Ogden, Riverdale and Pleasant View.
Obviously, with the added responsibility, Weber County Animal Services is dealing with more impounded dogs this year than last year.
"I don't think I could point the finger at that law, but my personal opinion is it probably had an effect," Ferrin said.
He also said that every holiday that has involved fireworks led to more dogs being brought to the shelter.
Ferrin said he has noticed his dogs barking more at the fireworks this year and expects that to be the case again with Pioneer Day weekend coming up.
With that in mind, he encourages people to protect their outside pets from the noise that will come. "People are going to enjoy the new law and enjoy those family activities, which is a great idea. They just need to take precautions with their animals. It's for a short duration, so they should bring their animals in the house and put them in a crate or the bathroom and minimize the noise they're subjected to."
Carl Arky, director of communication at the Humane Society of Utah, said more stray dogs and cats have been brought in since the fireworks began. He believes it is because of the extended firework law.
Arky said that, in June, four dogs and 15 cats were turned in at the shelter.
During the first 11 days of July, people turned in 19 stray dogs and 31 stray cats.
Arky suggests that all pet owners make sure their animals are microchipped. "Tags and collars can fall off. The chip is always there."