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Animal injuries and deaths in week of fireworks celebrations

Media Release

Animal injuries and deaths occur in week of fireworks celebrations despite restrictions on firework sales

WELLINGTON: 9 November 2012. The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is pleased with the reduced number of animal welfare incidents reported this Guy Fawke’s week as a result of fireworks.

“However, it is still sad to see animals frightened and hurt by this annual ritual of fire and explosions, and even one animal injured is one too many. Fireworks are a serious animal welfare issue and selling these to the public should be questioned, ,” NZVA Chief Executive, Julie Hood said.

The NZVA has undertaken an informal audit of veterinary clinics throughout New Zealand and there have been a number of reports of dogs and cats needlessly hurt.

“Most reports are either of animals that have panicked and fled, often under the wheels of a moving car, or who have become hugely distressed by the noise caused by fireworks and who have needed calming medication – or in extreme situations, to be put down.

And, while the usual horror stories of dogs killed by cars and one even jumping through a glass conservatory window in fright requiring sutures, such as happened in Upper Hutt, these were balanced by at least two clinics reporting no issues at all during the week.

In the Manawatu, one clinic reported five animals were hit by cars on Guy Fawke’s night – far in excess of a normal night. While one was unrelated to fireworks, but evidence of injury secondary to taking off in fright from fireworks was pretty plain to see in others.

“The Massey University Animal Hospital treated an injured dog with several fractures to its leg, and a Christchurch clinic was obliged to euthanase another dog who was too badly injured to be saved. These two are probably the tip of the iceberg and are two too many,” Dr Cath Watson, the president of the NZVA’s Companion Animal Society said today.

Dr Watson also advised dog and cat owners to ensure their pets are microchipped so they can be easily identified and reunited in times of trauma.

Microchipped animals should also be added to the NZ Companion Animal Register for microchipped pets. Data from this following the Christchurch earthquakes found 80% of homeless cats with microchips after the Canterbury earthquakes were reunited with their families, often within a few hours. Yet, only 15% of unchipped cats were identified and returned to their owners – some even months after the quakes had occurred.

ends…

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