NEW YORK (AP) — Edward James Olmos has a message for pet owners on the Fourth of July: Stay home.
Noisy fireworks on America's birthday can startle animals and cause them to run away. Olmos has teamed up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to urge owners to comfort their pets or at least leave a TV or radio set on to mask the blasts so they don't get as scared.
"Many animals have actually broken through glass windows and doors to get out of the house," the veteran actor told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "They don't know where the explosion is coming from, all they know is that there are explosions and they immediately take it in a fearful way."
The insurance giant Nationwide, which provides pet health insurance, last year reported that the most common Fourth of July pet injuries were laceration caused by pets breaking through a glass window or fence. Other firework-related pet injuries included being hit by a car after becoming spooked by fireworks, near drowning after falling in pools and strangulation by collars getting caught.
"If you stay with them, it helps them," added Olmos, who starred in "Stand and Deliver" and earned an Oscar nomination. "They'll tremble, they'll shake, but they will at least feel secure enough not to do any bodily harm to themselves."
PETA Latino Senior Manager Alicia Aguayo says that "Fourth of July fireworks can spell disaster for animals who end up in animal shelters or even disappear forever after running in fright from the explosions."
Olmos plans to stay home with his beloved Moe, a 10 year old Labrador retriever whom the actor has tweeted about — photos included — a few times. "He's a really wonderful dog," said the owner proudly. "He is a service dog, so he works at hospitals with children and with people and he is wonderful."
Sigal Ratner-Arias is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner