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SPCA calls for fireworks ban

2015 FireworksTuesday, 3 November, 2015

The SPCA is urging people not to buy fireworks this year to avoid causing fear, injury and disruption for pets.

SPCA New Zealand CEO Ric Odom says the public has known for many years that private fireworks are a danger to both people and animals. Calls for a ban on public sales have still not been met despite a petition attracting more than 32,000 signatures.

“Fireworks are traumatic for animals. The loud, unexpected bangs are distressing for many animals. It can cause them to run away creating more safety issues for people and animals.”

“The short sale period for private use fireworks doesn’t stop people lighting fireworks for months after Guy Fawkes. People with pets have to be alert to the danger far beyond the 5th of November. There is only one solution in the SPCA’s eyes and that is to ban firework sales to individuals and allow people to enjoy controlled public displays only,” says Ric.

Research shows that when exposed to fireworks, animals routinely displayed fearful behaviour including trembling, escaping, urination or defecation, vocalisation and destructive behaviour.

The SPCA still hopes a ban on public sales is not far away, but until then the organisation has these tips to help animal owners keep their pets safe throughout fireworks season.

  1. Stay home with your pet – they will be less stressed with someone they trust close by.
  2. 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.
  3. Put a collar and registration tag on your dog – if your dog panics and runs away, it will help rescuers reunite you. Attach a disc with your phone number. Have your pet microchipped in case they do escape.
  4. Comfort your pet – This could mean cuddling them if it helps or giving them space, depending on what your pet needs. Take special care of elderly or nervous pets and if your pet is very stressed consult your vet for advice on keeping them calm.
  5. Move horses and farm animals away from fireworks – and make sure all fences are secure. Stable horses where possible.
  6. Never punish your pets when they are scared – This will only make their fear and stress levels worse.

Guy Fawkes week coincides with the SPCA Annual Appeal which runs between Monday 2nd and Sunday 8th of November. If you would like to support the work of the SPCA, donations can be made to street collectors around the country from today until 8 November, at any ASB branch or click here to donate online.