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Reducing Suffering On Animals' Night Of Terror


For Release: 2 November 2001


The Royal New Zealand SPCA has called on New Zealanders to take special care of pets and farm animals on Guy Fawkes Night.

"For countless animals, November 5th is a time of terror," says Chief Executive Officer Peter Blomkamp.

"In addition to being petrified by the screeches, flashes and explosions, all too many animals fall victim to fireworks-related accidents, some of which can have heartbreaking consequences.

"Frightened pets will try to run away and hide. As a result, there's a good chance they'll get lost or even killed or injured on the roads," he says, adding that a few precautions can greatly reduce the suffering and harm caused to animals by what, for humans, is normally an enjoyable night.

"Some dog or cat owners might prefer to stay at home and keep their pets company rather than go to a firework party. But if you don't want to stay at home, a good solution might be to leave your pet in the care of someone else, whom you can trust.

"If that isn't practical, make sure your dog or cat is kept indoors where they can't see or hear the fireworks. You should be able to partially muffle the noise by keeping interior doors and curtains closed and leaving a radio or television on to provide a distracting sound," he says.

"If your dog or cat is nervous, very old or has a heart problem, it's wise to talk to a veterinarian who might prescribe a light sedative for your pet," Mr Blomkamp adds.

According to Peter Blomkamp, horses, ponies and deer are amongst the farm animals most likely to be terrified by fireworks.

"There's a serious risk of injury if these animals are frightened and then blunder into fences or through gates, over bluffs or into ditches. And, of course, the consequences are likely to be particularly serious if the animals escape onto roads, where they can cause serious accidents.

"Anyone with livestock close to the site of a projected fireworks display, should move their animals to a secure well-fenced paddock, well away from the display area, before the fireworks start," he says.

Mr Blomkamp adds that pet owners should think about taking precautions over the pre-Guy Fawkes Night weekend as well as on the night itself, as there will be many families holding their fireworks parties in advance,

For further information, please contact: Peter Blomkamp Chief Executive Officer Royal New Zealand SPCA 09 827 6094 021 179 0072

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