Fright night for Illawarra's freaked out pets

This friendly little female dog was one of a dozen confused canines to find themselves at Unanderra's RSPCA shelter after New Year's Eve fireworks.

Yesterday, shelter staff were working hard to reunite pet owners with panic-stricken pooches that had bolted from their backyards in terror.

By mid-morning, 12 dogs had been brought into the shelter, with more expected to trickle in throughout the week.

Shelter manager Judith Wright urged anyone who came across a lost dog in the coming days to confine the animal and bring it to the shelter.

"If they can keep them overnight that's great, but then they really do need to bring them [to the shelter] because we can scan them and if they're microchipped we can get them back to their owners," she said.

People could also call council rangers or police if an animal was roaming on the road, Ms Wright said.

With more fireworks likely as Australia Day looms, Ms Wright urged dog owners to plan ahead.

"If you know there are planned fireworks, you should keep [dogs] inside with you," she said.

"If you're going to be out, keep the dog inside with the radio on and maybe a favourite toy or a bone. Make sure that their microchip details are up to date, and make sure they wear a collar and tag with your phone number on it."

If a pet did go missing, firstly contact the RSPCA and vet clinics, then think about calling radio stations, doorknocking and distributing flyers locally, she said.

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