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Lockdown surge in private fireworks displays sparks pet warning

PUBLISHED: 16:17 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:10 05 November 2020

Little puppy is hiding under a cupboard. Picture:

Little puppy is hiding under a cupboard. Picture:

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The RSPCA is calling for people to be considerate of neighbours with animals over fears more private fireworks displays will be held after England went into lockdown.

A cat hiding under a couch. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoA cat hiding under a couch. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dr Mark Kennedy, RSPCA animal welfare expert, said: “We understand that people enjoy celebrating Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve and other key dates with fireworks and we don’t want to spoil the fun. We fear there will be lots of little displays taking place over weeks and weeks, spreading out fireworks noise and causing prolonged distress for animals.

“We’d urge people to be considerate and keep neighbours with animals, including those with nearby horses and other livestock, informed of plans well in advance so they can make preparations to reduce the stress to their animals.”

Assistant chief fire officer for Norfolk, Scott Norman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAssistant chief fire officer for Norfolk, Scott Norman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Every year, the RSPCA receives hundreds of calls about fireworks affecting animals.

Over the last four years, the animal welfare charity has received 1,543 calls about fireworks.

Norwich personal trainer Laura Nightingale-Webb, who has a Lhasa Apso x Chihuahua, said: “I like fireworks but having a dog and watching them shake because they are so scared takes the enjoyment out for me. It is unfair to pets. It is heartbreaking watching them suffer.”

MORE: Drive-in firework display moved a day early so it can go ahead

Scott Norman, assistant chief fire officer for Norfolk Fire Service, said: “Bonfire night is always a busy time for our crews and this year we know the cancellation of organised events may lead to stay at home celebrations within households.

“We would encourage people who are planning a bonfire tonight or this weekend to do so safely, ensuring they are sited away from buildings, sheds, trees and fences.

“Please follow instructions if you are planning fireworks at home and ensure that they are not given to children. If there is an accident with fireworks or bonfires get out of control, please continue to call 999 in an emergency.”

Allen Watts, managing director of Asteroid Fireworks on Heartsease Lane, Norwich, said sales of fireworks to the public were down 50pc this year compared with previous years.

He said: “The coronavirus pandemic has made it worse. People are losing their jobs and are not going out spending money on fireworks.”


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