Keep your pets safe this Fourth of July

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - A local animal shelter saw more pet-related injuries than they would've liked last Fourth of July, and want to make sure people don't repeat the same mistakes.

Start Over Rover pairs with TC Fireworks every year, and educates people on how to keep their pets safe during fireworks. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

Start Over Rover has paired with TC Fireworks for the past few years. They receive some of the proceeds, but use it as an opportunity to educate people about how to keep their pets safe during fireworks.

Anne Halbert, the executive director of Start Over Rover, said last year was horrible. They saw many serious incidents that could've been prevented.

"We had a lot of calls with animals who had been running and had been hit by a car. I know when we got a call last year there was an animal that had chased a firecracker and it blew up in their mouth. The damage was extensive. We spent a lot of time at the vet with the animal. The animal didn't make it," Halbert said.

Halbert has lots of tips to ensure your animal doesn't see this fate. She said the best thing you can do is keep your pets inside when fireworks are going off. You should also make sure all doggie doors are closed. This'll prevent them from running off.

If your dog is scared of the loud booms, Halbert said you should ask your vet if there are any medications you can give them.

"We say this because we've seen these things that can happen, and it can happen very quickly and unexpectedly. It's an easy way if you plan ahead. It's safe for everybody," Halbert said.

Animals aren't the only ones at risk of injury on July 4.

Reports show fireworks injury nearly 13,000 people every year.

"It's very dangerous, but if you are going to take part you want to do so as safe as possible," said Chief Corey Schmidt, Grand Island Fire Department. "Watch those kids close. Make sure the fireworks purchased are legal in the state of Nebraska. Any stand here in town, if you can purchase something from them it should be legal."

Schmidt also suggests keeping a water source nearby in case the fireworks start a fire, and to light them off in an open space away from houses.

Firework stands can set up in Grand Island on June 22. Inspectors will check them out on June 28.

Here's the hours and dates you can buy and set fireworks off in the Tri-Cities:

Hastings - 10 a.m. to 10 p.m June 28 through July 2; 10 a.m. to midnight July 3 and July 4.

Grand Island - 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 28 through July 2; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3; 8 a.m. to midnight July 4.

Kearney - 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 28 through July 2; 8 a.m. to midnight July 3 and July 4.