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By Cynthia Hubert

It is the noisiest day of the year, and one of the riskiest for pets.

Every Fourth of July, and the day after, animal shelters are inundated with dogs and cats that bolt their homes to flee the boom and flash of fireworks. Many lack identification and never are reunited with their owners.

The situation might be especially grim this year, with municipal shelters closed on the holiday and the day after – and with outdoor temperatures likely to hit triple digits. The Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals expects to take in many animals that have escaped yards or homes in the midst of holiday festivities, said spokeswoman Lesley Kirrene.

"Loud noises, bright flashes, the hot pavement.

It's no place for dogs and cats to be," Kirrene said. "These things literally can drive animals to the point of insanity."

The best place for pets on Independence Day is inside the house, perhaps with soothing music on the radio or a wildlife program on TV, Kirrene said.

Even though the city and county animal shelters will be closed, animal control officers will be on the road, said city shelter manager Penny Cistaro. The SPCA will be closed Monday but open Tuesday. Wednesday "will be extremely busy with people looking

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