Dear Editor:

Halloween is a fun time for everyone but it can be deadly for any animals. When the doorbell rings, be sure your pets are kept in a separate room where they can remain calm and, most important, they can feel and be safe (with the door closed). Otherwise, it is quite likely they will try to escape by running out of the door and then your chances of getting them back home again become very slim, if not impossible. All the noise, costumes and merriment will, in most cases, quickly take the animals out of their natural comfort zone. New smells and sights from all the decorations may cause them to become skittish and run.

Never, ever give your animals chocolate because it could become fatal because of the contents which can damage the internal organs and central nervous system. Instead of giving them candy, which they are not used to and which can become lodged in their throats, have a good pet treat handy instead.

To protect your pets safe and healthy, remember these tips for Halloween:

Keep them indoors for the day and the night. Don't let pranksters harm them. Black cats, especially, should be kept indoors as they are often stolen and used in sadistic rituals. Dogs normally left outside should be brought in as well to prevent teasing and taunting.

Don't take your dog trick or treating. You can't be l00 percent sure of the dog if it is frightened – it may strike out and bite, wind itself around you or a child with its leash, or get loose and run. You will have enough to do to keep the children safe.

Avoid dressing your animals in costumes – they would rather be natural and be comfortable in their own skin.

Beware of decorations and strings and wires. These can cause tripping; pets can be easily caught in them and may get chewed on, and anything electrical can be hazardous.

Think like a cat or a dog – provide a quiet, safe haven until Halloween is over. Then they can come out.

If you love your animals and want them safe for Halloween, please follow these simple rules.

Elgrit B. Russell,

Rescue Coordinator

The Animal Defenders