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SPCA Calls For Care Of Animals On Guy Fawkes

27 October 2005

SPCA Calls For Special Care Of Animals On Guy Fawkes Night

Checklist Attached

The Royal New Zealand SPCA has issued a call for special care to be taken of animals on and around Guy Fawkes Night.

The Society has also released a checklist aimed at reducing the harm and fright that animals suffer as a result of fireworks.

"There's no doubt that the period around Guy Fawkes night is a time of terror for very many animals. Fireworks, with their screeches, flashes and loud explosions, can be a horrifying experience for them," says the Royal New Zealand SPCA's National Chief Executive, Robyn McDonald.

"By Guy Fawkes Night 2006, we hope there will be legislation in place banning firework sales other than for licensed public displays. It's our intention to raise this matter with the new government at an early opportunity.

"In the meantime, we need to do all we can to make this year's firework season as safe and free from terror as possible for both pets and farm animals. Our checklist is intended to help achieve this," she says.

At the top of the SPCA's list is a reminder that fire works should never be let-off close to or around animals.

The Society also recommends that at least one family member should stay home on Guy Fawkes Night to keep pets company and to comfort and reassure them.

"The next best solution is to find a reliable person who will stay with your pets and look after them in familiar surroundings. And a third solution is to take your pets to the home of someone you know for certain will look after them.

"Whichever approach you adopt, it's important to keep pets indoors whilst fire works are going off and to ensure doors are securely shut to prevent the animals bolting in panic. And, make sure your dog or cat has their collar on, just in case they manage to get out and then go missing," says Robyn McDonald

Other recommendations for helping pets through Guy Fawkes Night are to drown out the noise of the fireworks with the sound of radios, televisions and stereo systems and to let animals hiding under chairs or in cupboards stay there. Attempts to coax them out will probably upset them further.

If a cat or dog is elderly, nervous or has a known heart condition, the SPCA recommends that owners talk to a veterinarian, who might provide a light sedative.

As Robyn McDonald points out, farm animals are also prone to firework-induced fright, with horses, ponies and deer amongst those most likely to be terrified.

"Injuries can be quite serious if a large farm animal bolts in panic and blunders into a fence, through gates, over a bluff or into a ditch. The consequences could be more serious still should a farm animal escape onto the road and cause an accident.

"To prevent accidents and injuries, livestock should be moved well away from the site of a fireworks party long before it commences and kept in a securely fenced paddock," she says.

Other SPCA recommendations include advising neighbours in advance of a firework display by putting leaflets in letter boxes and, in the case of larger displays, notices in shop windows and local newspapers.

ENDS

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