TEARS Animal Rescue staff have just two days to prepare for the flood of lost and terrified animals who will wind up at our shelter when the firecrackers begin to explode on Saturday 5 November.
Like animal welfare organisations throughout the country, we know that there is nothing to celebrate on Guy Fawkes Day as the terrifying explosion of firecrackers will change the lives of many dogs and cats forever.
TEARS’ Animal Care Manager, Luke Kruyt, says, “A large number of domestic pets, equines, birds and wildlife will suffer severe stress as they do anything to escape the terrifying explosions, sometimes injuring themselves in the process. Animals’ ears are incredibly sensitive to sound. They will shake and hyperventilate at sudden, loud noises and, believing their lives are in danger, will do anything to escape, often with disastrous consequences.”
Dogs have been known to jump through glass windows to escape loud noises and, if terrified enough, will easily scale fences or dig their way out.
“We see injuries to dogs’ faces and paws,” Kruyt says. “Sometimes they have ripped out their nails in fear as fireworks explode around them, and many are hit by cars as they try to escape the noise.”
TEARS is called out often during fireworks season to help animals that become trapped after wedging themselves into narrow hiding places, and it is not uncommon to find dogs stuck in fences or gates, or even impaled or hanging from fences. Others, who manage to clear fences and gates, will end up kilometers away from home; confused, disorientated, exhausted and unable to find their way home.
Kruyt says, “Every year animals are cruelly maimed, killed or have to be mercifully put to sleep as a result of the horrific injuries sustained after having crackers inserted in their orifices or tied to their bodies and then ignited.”
Kruyt has this advice for animal guardian in order to keep their dogs and cats safe during fireworks season:
- Microchip your pet. This is absolutely essential so animal welfare organisations can return as many dogs and cats as possible to their guardians when they become lost. A very small microchip is inserted under the skin with a needle. The procedure is relatively painless and takes just a few seconds to do. Once microchipped, your contact details are kept on a database and, if a pet becomes lost, organisations are able to track down the guardian and reunite them with their pet. As an added precaution; an animal should wear a comfortable collar and tag that displays your contact details.
- Don’t be part of the problem; become part of the solution by refusing to buy or set off firecrackers.
- If you are going to set off fireworks, or someone else in your neighbourhood does this; bring your pets indoors.
- Keep them in a closed room with a secure door and close the curtains.
- Turn on the television, the radio or play soothing music for them – this will block out some of the sound of the fireworks.
- Monitor their stress levels and if they become frantic, stay with them.
- Make sure they have access to water at all times.
- Never chain or tie up your dog to keep them safe during fireworks. They could strangle themselves in a desperate attempt to run away from the noise.
- Remember to include your details on a tag which is fitted to a comfortable and safe collar
TEARS Animal Rescue appeals to members of the public to contact them for any fireworks-related emergencies on 021 785 4482 or 071 864 4849.
You can also contact:
Your nearest police station or SPCA Inspectorate: 021 700 41 58/9 or after hours 083 326 1604
Animal Welfare Society Philippi 021 692 2626
Law Enforcement 021 596 1999