Thanks for hanging in there with me to finish up with all my data gathering! While it was fun (kind of) I’m not to sure that this is the type of writing I’m cut out for, but I had to try it!
Anywho, after calling all the vet clinics in the county (Rutherford County TN) and reaching out to the my local Police Department, County Sheriffs Office, and County Pet Adoption And Welfare Services (PAWS) I think I have enough for a very small scope (Rutherford County TN ONLY) report on a more accurate view behind all the pet related Halloween horror stories.
If you want to know what got me on this path you should check out last Friday’s post for a quick catch-up.
Phone Query Results:
After reaching out to the 22 Veterinary Clinics and Emergency Veterinary Clinics in our county my results were as follows:
Since none of the Clinics actually kept a detailed log of missing pet reports, this information is based on experience and personal opinions of those employees working at the clinics and not limited to just dark furred pets. For their protection I did not and will not use Clinic or Employee names.
Keeping that in mind, and that this is only for Rutherford County TN, the overwhelming opinion is that there is no correlation between Halloween and missing pet reports.
In fact a majority of the Clinics interviewed all stated that holidays that have fireworks associated with them are actually when they have an increase in missing pet calls.
Rutherford County PAWS
I am very happy to say that after my meeting with Michael, Rutherford County PAWS Director, his opinion was also that there was no correlation between Halloween and missing pet reports.
Unfortunately he did not have a detailed list of missing pet reports, or have a month by month breakdown of their intakes, but he did have an annual intakes list covering the past seven *years. So while I can’t compare this October to previous Octobers I can compare this years intakes to previous years intakes, and those numbers are actually steadily trending downward!
Other consists of Wildlife, Livestock, and Exotics.
* Years start July 1st end June 30th
Another thing to keep in mind, Michael was the one who brought this to my attention, if someone wishes to obtain a pet for anything other than a loving family member, they most likely won’t be putting in the time or money it takes to go through the adoption process. PAWS implements thorough landlord/homeowner confirmations, employment confirmations, salary confirmations, and Veterinary history of current and/or past pets. Who would go through all that just for a ‘disposable pet’ (No I do not think pets are disposable, nor does Michael, and hopefully none of my readers do either).
City Police Department and County Sheriffs Office
When I went to our local PD Records Office to see what information they could give me, I was a little disappointed, but in a good way, if that makes any sense.
The ladies in the Records Office were very helpful, but unfortunately the way the reports are filed any stolen pet reports get lumped in with all other animal reports (read bite reports). So sorting through all the reports wouldn’t be easy, but they did try.
Thankfully the ladies had worked in that office a while, and after conferring with each other as well as attempting to see if they could filter out stolen pet reports for me (which they couldn’t) they all agreed that they rarely see any stolen pet reports come across their desks, and felt confident in saying that there most likely wasn’t an increase or connection with any particular time of year.
Wile at the County Sheriffs Office (we are mostly a rural county so City PD’s don’t have the majority jurisdiction) I was unable to get any detailed information or reports, but I was warned that I might not get much due to a computer system upgrade being in progress. (perhaps I’ll try again later)
Please note: Not all stolen pets get reported as stolen, they most likely get reported as lost or missing since proving a pet theft is not easy, unless pets were strictly indoor only, which in Middle TN is not the usual case.
The only other articles I could find stating that pets (particularly black cats) are at no increased risk of harm than any other time were from the ASPCA website (search black cats I only found one article that even mentioned black cats and Halloween).
So, as a wrap up, it seems that our pets (at least for Rutherford County TN) are NOT in any more danger during this time of year than others. While reassuring that does not mean we start slacking on pet safety!
New people especially ones in costume, the increased foot traffic in neighborhoods (due to trick-or-treating), the prolific amounts of candy (particularly those containing cocoa powder and xylitol, plastic/cellophane wrappers, and other potential choking hazards), and Halloween decor, hold a lot of dangers to our pets.
So please don’t forget them in all the Halloween commotion!
If you find more sources or data elsewhere pertaining to missing/lost/stolen pets during this time of year please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Halloween Pet Safety) or share the information via link in the comments! While I don’t want people to stop thinking of their pets safety, I don’t think we as pet parents/owners should be worrying needlessly over superstition and myth either.