Animal welfare organisations have pleaded with residents to refrain from firework celebrations on November 5 to avoid cruelty to animals.
Animal Welfare Society of South Africa’s head of communications Allan Perrins said the organisation had experienced an exponential increase in the number of stray animals over the Guy Fawkes period, with most admitted without identification. He said many suffered acute anxiety and stress, and in their bid to flee the perceived or, in many cases, real danger, ended up injuring themselves, some fatally.
Civil society activist Nikki Botha said: “To them, it’s like being trapped in a war zone with no way out. Animals exposed to the noise and environmental pollution of fireworks are adversely affected to the point where it often causes death.”
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“They have no way of understanding there is no need to panic, that it’s just a form of human entertainment. To them, it’s the advent of the Apocalypse.”
But it’s not just animals who suffer the brunt of fireworks, people with dementia and PTSD experience fireworks in a traumatic space. Perrins appealed to pet owners to identify their pet(s) with a microchip or a safe collar and tag.”
Below are some tips for keeping pets safe in the event that fireworks are let off:
- Ensure all animals have identification – sudden loud bangs can cause pet(s) to run away and get lost. Remember their hearing is far more acute than ours – i.e. they can hear a grasshopper eating.
- If possible, stay at home with them if you suspect fireworks will be used nearby.
- If you can’t be at home, keep your pet(s) inside and preferably in a room that is safe and secure.
- Try and mask any noise by drawing the curtains and playing calming music at a reasonable volume.
- Put familiar and comforting things around them such as toys, baskets, etc.
- Give your pet(s) a nutritious and balanced meal at night – this is likely to make them sleepier.