October 28, 2005 15:00 ET

Keep Pets Safe at Halloween Asks The Humane Society of Canada (HSC)

Attention: Assignment Editor, News Editor VANCOUVER, BC--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 28, 2005) - Halloween is a lot of fun for children, but it can be a terrifying time, and even a dangerous one, for many pets says The Humane Society of Canada (HSC). The national animal charity is asking that people ensure that their animal companions don't suffer during Halloween.

"While animal welfare organizations have been effective in getting the word out about protecting black cats at Halloween, we need to be as effective about warning people with pets about more common Halloween hazards," states Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director.

According to Hickey many pets are terrified by the frequent, loud sounds of excited children, ringing doorbells and knocks at the door.

"Dogs, cats and other animals aren't used to the constant commotion outdoors and children arriving at the doorstep every few minutes," continues Hickey. "Some animals become very frightened while others get excited and try to greet their young visitors."

HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan, whose family includes several dogs and cats, wants people to realize what their pets may be going through and to take the appropriate precautions to ensure their safety and comfort.

"Don't keep pets outdoors during Halloween and ensure that they have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren't frightened by all of the noise and excitement and where they cannot escape through the constantly open door," says O'Sullivan. "A quiet, inner room where they can't hear much of the noise from trick-or-treaters usually is effective. Putting a radio or television on in the room can also be effective."

O'Sullivan also recommends that people out trick-or-treating leave their pets at home.

"A dark October right where numerous excited children in scary costumes are going from house to house isn't a good time to take your pet for a walk," suggests O'Sullivan.

10 Do's & Don'ts for Protecting Pets at Halloween

1. DO keep pets indoors in a safe, comfortable, quiet location and check on them frequently.
2. DO keep pets away from Halloween decorations and tell children not to share any candies with their furred friends.
3. DO ensure that pets always have effective identification. The Humane Society of Canada offers free pet ID. The Pet Recovery Team reunites lost pets with their families through a special network which includes giving each one of your pets an id tag bearing your pet's name and your contact telephone numbers. On the other side of the tag, is a unique serial number keyed to each one of your pets' information, complete with The Humane Society of Canada's toll free number, which works from anywhere in the world.
4. DO take a pet suspected of ingesting a harmful item or substance immediately to a veterinarian.
5. DO educate others about looking out for pets and other animals at Halloween.
6. DON'T dress animals up in costumes as many pets find this uncomfortable and stressful.
7. DON'T leave pets outdoors during Halloween.
8. DON'T take pets trick-or-treating. If you must take them, ensure they have effective ID and are safely confined on a leash.
9. DON'T let animals near candles or other dangerous items.
10. DON'T ignore animals in need. Report animal abuse and neglect to local authorities or The Humane Society of Canada at 1-800-641-KIND (5463).

CONTACT: Al Hickey or Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 90 countries during the last 35 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, horses, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, fund non-invasive scientific research, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns please make a donation

/For further information: IN: MEDIA

Contact Information

  • Michael O'Sullivan, Executive Director, The Humane Society of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-368-0405
    Secondary Phone: 416-876-9685
    Toll-Free: 800-641-5463