Inside missing pet recovery operation as number of dogs bolting due to fireworks skyrockets

Fireworks are beautiful, but not everyone enjoys them. Especially your pets. There are many families looking for their dogs Friday, following Thursday night’s fireworks.

The number of missing pets skyrockets 30 to 60 percent from the 4th to the 6th of July.

"Around seven, my brother goes outside and can’t find Rita. She’s a rescue dog and a little skittish, but we weren’t expecting the fireworks that early," Brittany Bonetti explained about her family’s missing dog.

Bonetti had her brother’s family and their dog, Rita, a five-year-old Jack Russell terrier, visiting for a holiday party on Thursday. All was going well until Rita took off after hearing the fireworks.

"Some dogs go into flight mode at that point. We were concerned we would never see my brother’s dog again," Bonetti continued. "We got in touch with local trackers and posted on social media, called the police department and animal shelters."

Bonetti contacted Kathleen Tortu Bowles, a volunteer dog tracker in South Jersey, whose phone rings non-stop around the Fourth of July.

"People just don’t realize how these fireworks affect pets, in general," Tortu Bowles stated. "They want to get away from whatever is scaring them. They keep on running to try to get away from the noise."

Tortu Bowles told Bonetti she was following all the right protocols, posting on social media and putting out food and unwashed clothing from the dog owner. Hours passed with no sign of Rita.

The Bonetti’s were scared.

In the meantime, Tortu Bowles was busy trying to help capture another lost dog in Mount Laurel, one who went missing on Tuesday and had been spotted on the turnpike and 295.

"The dog was probably scared to death last night and maybe kept moving and moving to get away from the noises he heard," Tortu Bowles said.

By late morning, thankfully, the Bonetti’s got a tip about Rita, coming 14 hours after her escape. She had been spotted less than a mile away.

Bonetti said, "I ran into the car right away. We went there and there she was! Not everyone has that sort of a happy ending that we were able to have."

"We have had instances where they have not had happy endings and that’s very, very difficult," Tortu Bowles remarked.

Rita was reunited with her family. Tortu Bowles is working with other families to help find their missing dogs. She runs an all-volunteer operation – Bailey’s Bridge to Home Rescue and Recovery. For more information, visit the Facebook page.