2 missing Fresno County District Attorney's Office service dogs found

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The loud booms from fireworks this time of year are known to send scared dogs running from their homes.

That's what happened to two Fresno County District Attorney's Office service dogs.

"One of our very qualified trainers was bringing the dogs in from a walk and there was a loud noise, loud bang that startled one of the dogs," said Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.

Brothers Nicco and North bolted into the darkness near Shaw and Academy Avenues around 7:30 Thursday night.

Chief Investigator Pat McPherson says it was all hands on deck until midnight, and the search resumed at the crack of dawn Friday.

The K-9's are trained to provide emotional support for domestic violence victims, and no one expected them to be on the run the night before their first day of service.

"It's unusual for these dogs because they are trained for noises and stuff but again, the fireworks present a whole other level for these dogs," said Chief Investigator Pat McPherson.

Smittcamp says everyone in the department searched on a voluntary basis. The Sherriff's Office assisted, keeping an eye out overnight.

They also used drones for a better look. The Labradoodles were finally spotted Friday morning not too far from the handler's home. We were there as Nicco was caught around 5:30 and North, about an hour later. They were covered in mud but in good health. Search teams also came across another lost pup who took off because of fireworks.

"Actually, we recovered another dog out here that one of my investigators returned to the owner, and they said the dog got spooked last night and has been on the run all night," said McPherson.

Authorities are now reminding everyone to be mindful of how they celebrate Independence Day.

The Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is issuing the following safety tips to keep pets, especially dogs, safe this week.

Make sure your cats and dogs have identification tags with up-to-date info.

Take a current photo of all of your cats, dogs, and horses.

Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades, and other gatherings.

o Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places, and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there's great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.

o Keep your pets secured inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.

o Consider keeping them in a safe, escape-proof room during parties, if you are hosting.

If guests are over, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don't escape.

Place notes on exit doors and gates to help keep your pet's safety top of mind.

Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal, and kabob skewers away from curious pets.

Too much sun and heat can be dangerous to pets.

o Keep them inside when it's extremely hot and make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors.

o Do not leave pets outside for extended periods of time in hot weather without access to water and shelter, this can be considered animal abuse.

Talk to your vet about a mild sedative for your pet, if necessary. Now is the time to do it, not the day before the holiday.

If your pets become lost, visit your cities animal control office.
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