Guy Fawkes is a holiday that is usually celebrated by setting off fireworks, but animal welfare societies have pleaded for residents to refrain from setting off fireworks this year on November 5.
Each year on Guy Fawkes day, animals are brought into various organisations with injuries. Many also flee from home as they are scared by the noise of the fireworks.
The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS) has said that there is always a rapid increase in the number of stray animals seen during the guy Fawkes period. Most strays are also found without identification.
“To them it’s like being trapped in a war zone with no way out. Animals exposed to the noise and environmental pollution of fireworks are adversely affected to the point where it often causes death,” civil society activist Nikki Botha said to IOL.
“They have no way of understanding there is no need to panic, that it’s just a form of human entertainment. To them it’s the advent of the Apocalypse. But it’s not just animals who suffer the brunt of fireworks, people with dementia and PTSD experience fireworks in a traumatic space.”
AWS has also encouraged pet owners to have their dogs microchipped ahead of Guy Fawkes. The society says that it is much easier to reunite stray pets with their owners if the animals are adequately identified.
They also advise that pet owners living in areas where fireworks will be released take the following precautions to protect their animals:
— Ensure all animals have identification – sudden loud bangs can cause pet(s) to run away and get lost. Remember their hearing is far more acute than ours – i.e. they can hear a grasshopper eating.
— If possible, stay at home with them if you suspect fireworks will be used nearby.
— If you can’t be at home, keep your pet(s) inside and preferably in a room that is safe and secure.
— Try and mask any noise by drawing the curtains and playing calming music at a reasonable volume.
— Put familiar and comforting things around them such as toys, baskets, etc.
— Give your pet(s) a nutritious and balanced meal at night – this is likely to make them sleepier.