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Guy Fawkes Care For Animals Isn't "Rocket Science"

ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

31 October 2003


Spca: Guy Fawkes Care For Animals Isn't "Rocket Science"


Common sense and forward-planning can make Guy Fawkes Night far less terrifying and dangerous for animals, according to the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

"Most people enjoy the noise and colour of a fireworks display. However, it doesn't involve 'rocket science' to work out how frightening the experience can be for pets and other animals," says the Society's Chief Executive, Peter Blomkamp.

"Cats, dogs and many other species have far more sensitive hearing than human beings. Just imagine what it's like for them when, without warning and for no apparent reason, their ears are assaulted by all the booms and hisses of fireworks!

"Similarly, try imagining the fright you'd receive if, all of a sudden, your eyes started registering strange, unaccountable flashes and glares, from just about every direction," he adds.

Mr Blomkamp says that animals frightened by fireworks will try to run away or hide. Unless they are in a safe place, there is a very high risk of them getting lost, with all too many being killed or injured on the roads. There is also a danger of fatal heart attacks, which can even affect pets in their own homes, particularly if they are elderly or sensitive.

"It may not take rocket science to understand the problem. But nor does it take rocket science to work out safeguards. Pets should be kept in doors on Guy Fawkes Night, with interior doors and curtains closed to muffle the sound. It's also sensible to leave the radio or television on, so as to provide a distracting noise.

"The kindest approach, and the one we recommend, is for someone to stay with your animals, to comfort and reassure them throughout the evening. Owners might consider staying home themselves or finding a reliable person to look after their pets. If neither of these steps is practical, it's still essential that animals be kept safely indoors and as protected as possible from the sound and sight of fireworks," he says.

"If you have a nervous dog or cat, or a very old pet or a pet with a known heart problem, we also recommend that you talk to a veterinarian ahead of Guy Fawkes Night. The vet might decide to supply a light sedative for the animal.

"In addition, it's vitally important that pets have their collars on, just in case they get lost. Dog collars should have their registration disc firmly attached and cat collars should have a contact phone number as well as an elastic insert to prevent strangling if they get hooked up somewhere," Mr Blomkamp adds.

The SPCA has also called on the rural community to help ensure the safety of farm animals on and around Guy Fawkes Night.

"There is a real danger of serious injury if frightened farm animals blunder into fences, through gates, over bluffs or into ditches. Worse still, they can escape onto the roads, causing accidents that can involve pedestrians and motorists as well as themselves," says Mr Blomkamp. "Anyone who has livestock close to a fireworks display should move their animals to a safe place beforehand," he says, adding that this means a well-fenced paddock, some distance away from the site of the projected display.

The SPCA recommends that firework display organisers provide neighbours with advanced warning of their plans, putting leaflets in letter boxes or, in the case of larger displays, placing notices in shop windows or in local newspapers.

A further recommendation is that Guy Fawkes parties opt for fireworks which explode close to the ground and avoid those with particularly loud bangs or screeches.

ENDS

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