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Washington County shelter warns pet owners about runaways during air show

Loud jet engines lead many pets to run away during the Oregon International Air Show each year, shelter says.

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Many pet owners will be keeping an extra eye on their four-legged loved ones this weekend as the Oregon International Air Show roars into town. The Washington County animal shelter says that many pets run away from home during the air show because they are afraid of the loud jet engine noises.As the jets and helicopters take to the skies this weekend as part of the Oregon International Air Show, the county’s animal shelter is warning dog owners about the dangers of loud engine noises.

“Here in Hillsboro we can hear the roar of the planes overhead as the Oregon Air Show gets underway,” Deborah Wood, manager of Animal Services at the the Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter, said in an email to The Tribune on Friday. “Unfortunately, this show that is so enjoyable for humans can be frightening to pets. We are hoping you will include a reminder to pet owners to make sure their pets are safe along with your other coverage of this event!”

Like the Fourth of July, the loud noises of the air show often scare pets, Wood said. Every year, pets flee their homes during the annual event because of loud noises.

“When we humans see the magnificent planes flying in formation we are thrilled,” she said. “To a pet, they are a terrifying threat. Animals presented with a threat like that are very likely to do anything they can to escape.”

To prevent pets from becoming frightened and lost, pet owners should be prepared:

Make sure your pet has identification. Every pet should have collar tags and a microchip.

If you live within earshot of the planes, keep your pets inside this week. “Frightened animals can get out of a fenced area they would never leave under normal circumstances,” says Wood.

Make your home a sanctuary for your pet. Have an interior room (such as a bathroom or basement with no windows) where your pet can stay if he’s fearful of the noise. Keep a radio or TV on for “white noise” to soften the sounds of the airplanes. Many people find that ThunderShirts, available at pet supply stores, can also be calming for pets. 

• If you lose a pet, check with the Bonnie Hays shelter. All stray animals are available to view on the shelter's Lost and Found website.

“Also, call the shelter and report a lost pet even if the pet is not on the website,” Wood said. “The shelter may have received a ‘found pet’ report from someone in the community.”

The number to call for a lost or found pet report is 503-846-7039.

 The Bonnie L. Hayes animal shelter is located at 1901 S.E. 24th St., in Hillsboro.