Pets go missing more on the 4th of July than any other time of year

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COLUMBIA -  More pets go missing over the 4th of July holiday weekend than any other time of year, according to Boone County Joint Communications, largely because they are frightened by the noise of fireworks.

Dog owner Leigha Fanning said one of her dogs gets very afraid.

"There was a year that she freaked out so much she was trying to break out of her cage, the metal cage, and she broke off part of her tooth and her tongue was bleeding. She was freaking out about the fireworks outside," she said.

Fanning said the fireworks could be in a close distance or even further away and her dogs still get scared of the sound.

Bryana Larimar, a spokesperson for the Columbia Police Department said, because of the close proximity of houses and residents in Columbia, the city makes it illegal to have and set off fireworks within the city limits. 

"If you were caught in possession or discharging a firework you would be given a citation and you would have to go to municipal court," she said. "You could be charged with a misdemeanor offense and could be penalized anywhere from $100 to $500 fine and up to three months in jail."

In order to ensure Columbia residents are not using fireworks, the Columbia Police Department is adding about 10 extra patrol officers starting from Thursday until Tuesday to look out for fireworks possession. 

"Annually, we get calls with fireworks complaints during this time of year," Larimer said. "So this year we're actually increasing patrol enforcement, specifically for fireworks."

Larimer said "your animals, they're not used to the loud noises and so, in a lot of cases, those animals are going to run and hide," she said. "In some cases you have them outside, maybe you're barbecuing, you're hanging out with your families and you don't notice it then, because someone set off a firework, that your dog is not over at your neighbor's house." 

Fanning said, "I want people to have fun on the fourth, just make sure your pets are somewhere safe."