Remember, remember the fifth of November- it’s Guy Fawkes and time to take extra care of your furry companions.
While most humans enjoy the fireworks festivities, many pets unfortunately become highly distressed by fireworks, says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen. The SPCA receives dozens of calls at this time of year relating to fireworks issues including; animal injuries, frightened animals, missing pets and occasionally, abuse of animals.
“The loud noises and bright flashes of light can be very frightening to animals and many animals become highly stressed by them,” Ms Midgen says.
“This can sadly lead to animals running away and going missing, injuring themselves or becoming susceptible to traffic accidents. We urge pet owners to keep their pets inside and safe on Guy Fawkes night.”
Planning ahead for Guy Fawkes is key, Ms Midgen says: “Be aware of Guy Fawkes Night and create a strategy for your animals. Making sure your pet has company, is kept inside and has proper identification are just a few easy ways that you can ensure the safety and happiness of your pet.”
While the SPCA does not support the private sale and use of fireworks and has long called for a ban on the sale of fireworks to the public, those planning to set off fireworks in their homes should consider speaking to their neighbours, or leaving a note in their letterbox, so that those with pets can prepare accordingly.
“We ask people without pets to be aware of the stress their use of fireworks can cause others in their neighbourhood and act considerately,” Ms Midgen says. She also encourages people to attend controlled public fireworks displays rather than using fireworks at home.
Unfortunately the public sale of fireworks ensures that there is no 'set' day for fireworks to be used and therefore pet owners must remain vigilant at all times.
SPCA’s Top Tips for Animals and Guy Fawkes:
- Never let fireworks off close to animals.
- Stay home with your pet – they will be less stressed with someone they trust close by.
- Keep them indoors – they won’t see the flashes and the bangs will be muffled. Close doors and windows and draw the curtains. Turn up the volume on your radio or TV to help drown out loud bangs with familiar sounds.
- Make sure that your cat or dog has somewhere comforting to hide such as an igloo, box, crate or somewhere they feel safe to retreat to.
- Both cats and dogs should be microchipped and have a collar and identification tag with your contact details on it. If your pet panics and runs away, it will help rescuers reunite you.
- Comfort your pet – This could mean cuddling them if it helps or giving them space, depending on what your pet needs. Try to behave in a calm and reassuring manner. Take special care of elderly or nervous pets.
- Move horses and farm animals away from fireworks – and make sure all fences are secure. Stable horses where possible.
- Never punish your pets when they are scared. This will only make their fear and stress levels worse.
- Try a compression wrap for dogs, like a thunder shirt.
- Exercise your dog early in the day to avoid being out in the dusk when fireworks could be set off.
- Don’t forget small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs or chickens. Have them tucked away or even inside for the night.
- Keep in mind that for some animals, fireworks can be a real phobia and should be treated with medication. Speak with your vet for options before the fireworks start.
This tiny little kitten's story starts at the dump – he was alone, and scared, in a water-filled rubbish pit. At just two weeks old, he was far too young to be on his own. How he came to be there we don't know, reads a post on the SPCA Tauranga Facebook page.
He might have been a stray who lost his mum, he might have been abandoned by someone who couldn't care for him. Whatever his past, he owes his future to an amazing man, Nigel, who works at the refuse centre. Nigel somehow spotted the tiny kitten in freezing cold water, desperately trying to stay afloat – he was alarmingly close to going under the wheel of a huge rubbish truck.
His rescuer ran toward him and scooped up the little bedraggled kitten. He then took him to his office and held him up under the heat pump. Once he was warmed up, Nigel tucked the kitten under his jacket and raced up the road to the SPCA so that we could take care of him. He had lots of cuddles from a teddy bear who acted as a surrogate mum and was bottle fed every few hours. It was touch and go for a while, but he pulled through. The team named him Liger. When he was big enough, Liger went to a foster family where he lived with two big dogs and a couple of cats, spending many happy hours snuggled up with the dogs.
One of his foster mum's friends fell head over heels for little Liger and decided to adopt him. He is now living a wonderful life in Wellington, under the new name of Luigi. Our days are sometimes tough but we love nothing more than finding a happy home for an animal in need.
Help the SPCA give animals a second chance by donating today
See the full SunLive article here
A Labrador puppy beaten so badly it was left with two leg fractures, a dog hit three times on the head with a hammer and a cat with the tips of its ears cut off are just a few of the horrific stories which makes up the SPCA List of Shame this year.
The SPCA's annual list gives an unrelenting look into the horrific stories of animal abuse across New Zealand. "We dealt with close to 15,000 welfare complaints in 2016," SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen says. "The List of Shame will shock people." Ms Midgen told 1 NEWS. "At the SPCA, we are seeing an increase in abuse - so people consciously doing bad things to animals".
One story of violence and neglect includes a Labrador-cross named Maggie, who is this year's ambassador for the SPCA Annual Appeal. "To think a human being can do something like that to any other being whether it's human or animal, it's unthinkable in my world."
Maggie had been tied up for weeks by a chain that was deeply embedded into her neck. The owner had tied her up away from the house, saying it was to hide her horrific injuries from his children. The SPCA had to remove the chain with bolt cutters, revealing pus-filled wounds up to 7cm wide and 4cm deep around the dog's neck. Having been rescued and treated by the SPCA, Maggie recovered from her injuries and was re-homed to a new loving family in Gordonton, near Hamilton. Her new owner Vaugh Kestel says seeing Maggie for the first time nearly brought a tear to his eye.
"She just had the saddest of eyes. She was just bouncing off the walls when we first saw her. I think she needed to have somebody there."
The SPCA's Annual Appeal fundraising drive to help animals like Maggie will run from November 10-12. Ms Midgen says the appeal for public help and funding is vital for keeping up the work of the organisation. "We receive almost no government funding to run the SPCA Inspectorate, which costs approximately $9 million every year. "The Annual Appeal aims to raise much-needed funds, which will be used to care for abused animals and educating to help prevent cruelty."
Watch the full story on 1 NEWS.
SPCA Inspectors see many cases of shocking animal abuse, neglect and cruelty. This List of Shame is the culmination of these - the very worst cases the SPCA has investiated and prosecuted in 2017.
1. A man convicted of failing to provide veterinary treatment for his dog Maggie was sentenced to 160 hours of community work, ordered to pay reparations of $514.50, court costs of $150.00 and disqualified from owning any animals for 3 years.
He kept Maggie tied up for weeks with a too-short chain embedded in a deep, festering wound around 90% of her neck. Instead of seeking treatment for Maggie, he tired her up in a different part of his yard so his children wouldn't be upset by her horrific injuries.
In the care of the SPCA Maggie fully recovered and was rehomed with a loving family.
2. A cat was rescued by an SPCA Inspector after being found with the tips of her ears cut off. The injuries were consistent with decisive purposeful amputation, and veterinarians ruled it was “virtually certain” to be a deliberate act of cruelty.
After worldwide media coverage the cat, named Pippi, was reunited with her family who had reported her as missing a week earlier. They were distraught at the trauma Pippi had been through, but with care she made a full mental and physical recovery.
Despite an investigation, the person or persons responsible have never been located.
3. A man convicted of ill-treating a dog and a puppy was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, ordered to pay reparations of $355.44, solicitor codts of $750.00 and disqualified owning dogs for 10 years.
The man had gone away and left the dog and puppy without food and water in kennel and run for an unknown period of time. The puppy was found dead and the dog was emaciated. In the care of the SPCA the dog, now named Opal, made a full recovery and has now been adopted.
4. A man convicted of recklessly ill-treating rabbits and guinea pigs was sentenced to 250 hours of community work, ordered to pay reparations of $440, disqualified from owning animals for 20 years and ordered to forfeit all animals in his care.
At his property, SPCA Inspectors found two rabbits and two guinea pigs that had been starved to death and left in a compost bin. There were also floor to ceiling cages of small animals living in their own waste without food or water. This is the second time the man has been prosecuted by the SPCA – he was also convicted of ill-treating a pony in 2013.
5. A man convicted of wilfully ill-treating his dog Brownie was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, disqualified from owning dogs for 10 years and ordered to pay reparations of $125.30.
The man attempted to kill Brownie by hitting her on the head three times with a hammer. Even though he knew she was badly injured he chained Brownie up in a small area by the side of his garage, with no adequate food, shelter or water, and he left her there until the SPCA was alerted two days later. She was found still alive, severely emaciated and dehydrated, and had two huge holes in her head full of fly eggs and larvae. One of the holes opened in to the cranial vault. Sadly, due to the ‘hopeless’ prognosis and Brownie’s pain and distress, she had to be euthanised.
6. A man convicted of ill-treating and failing to provide veterinary treatment for his 4-month-old puppy Floyd was sentenced to four months’ community detention, 200 hours of community work, ordered to pay reparations of $566.74 and solicitor costs of $600.00, and disqualified from owning dogs for four years.
The man was seen by a number of witnesses beating Floyd in the back of his vehicle which was parked in a shopping centre carpark. He left before the police got there, however, approximately four hours later he was observed beating Floyd again at a residential address. Floyd suffered three fractured ribs as a result of the beating. He also had an untreated, fractured leg, which the man said had happened as a result of being accidentally stood on 3-4 weeks earlier. Although his injured leg had to be amputated, Floyd otherwise
made a full recovery in the care of the SPCA and found a new forever home.
7. A man convicted of wilfully ill-treating his 5-month-old Labrador cross puppy Buddy was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from owning animals for 5 years. The man became angry and beat Buddy after he had a toileting incident inside the house, and then later, after he was put back on his chain and started digging a hole.
Buddy suffered two fractures to his left hind leg, bruising and lung contusions. Buddy’s leg required amputation and he recovered well and has now been rehomed.
8. A man convicted of recklessly ill-treating his neighbour’s dog was sentenced to nine months’ supervision, ordered to attend an anger management course, fined $800.00, ordered to pay reparations of $679.00, solicitor costs of $150.00 and disqualified from owning any animals for five years.
Just after midnight the neighbours’ dog, Muffy, a 15-year-old blind, deaf and arthritic fox terrier triggered a sensor light three times on his property. The man, who alleged that he was regularly disturbed by Muffy getting into his rubbish bags, became angry and went outside. He threw a rock with force from a distance of approximately 1.5 metres hitting the dog directly on its head. Due to severe skull and brain injury and extensive haemorrhage, Muffy had to be euthanised.
9. A woman convicted of failing to ensure that the physical health and behavioural needs of a number of animals were met, and of contravening a disqualification order was sentenced to intensive supervision for two years. This sentence included a number of conditions including attending a psychological assessment and completing any treatment or counselling as recommended. She was also disqualified from owning all animals for 10 years.
Despite already being disqualified from owning animals, the woman had multiple animals, most of them living in appalling conditions. The animals were not being provided with proper and sufficient food and water, nor veterinary care when needed, resulting in many of the animals being underweight and sick.
10. A woman convicted of failing to provide veterinary treatment for her dog Sasha was sentenced to 200 hours of community work, ordered to pay reparations of $557.00, solicitor costs of $150.00 and disqualified from owning companion animals for two years.
After a kick from a cow broke her leg, Sasha was left to hobble on three legs for approximately two weeks before SPCA Inspectors were alerted. Despite the fact that she was obviously lame and in pain, the woman failed to seek veterinary treatment for her.
Sasha underwent surgery to amputate the injured limb, made a full recovery and was rehomed to a caring family.
Happy Halloween animal lovers!
Please remember that today can be a little too scary for animals – here are our best pet safety tips.
Stash your treats away from your pets
Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous or lethal for cats and dogs. Be particularly careful with sugar free chocolate or lollies too: anything containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious health problems in pets. Even the wrappers of chocolates and lollies can be dangerous if eaten, as they can cause a blockage. Keep all your sweet treats stashed away in a place where your pets can’t reach them.
Costumes can be extra scary for animals
Think your mask is scary for your friends? Consider how frightening it could be for your pets too! Remember that your animals don’t understand the concept of costumes, and seeing you or strangers wearing strange clothing or covering your masks might make them anxious.
Keep your pets safe inside
Trick-or-treating might be fun for people, but it can be scary and stressful for your pets. Lots of visitors arriving at the door can be too much to handle, so keep your cats and dogs in a separate room away from the front room. Consider keeping your dog inside for the night if they are usually outdoors too – trick-or-treaters may inadvertently leave a gate or door open, leaving your yard unsecured. And always make sure your pet it wearing proper identification—a collar with identification tags and a microchip will help them be reunited with you if they do get lost.
Playing dress-ups? Keep it simple!
We know it’s tempting to try and involve your pets in Halloween costume fun too. But please remember that for many cats and dogs, wearing sometimes restrictive clothing is very stressful. Any clothing your pet wears (for costumes or practical purposes) should not constrict their movement, hearing, make it difficult for them to breathe, bark or meow. Instead, have fun with seasonal collars or festive bandanas!