Curbs on fireworks ignored

2013-01-02 00:00

NEW municipal by-laws restricting the use of fireworks seem to have had little effect on revellers in Pietermaritzburg on New Year’s Eve.

SPCA spokesperson Maureen Vida said that people were not abiding by the new by-laws, which limit the use of fireworks to between 11 pm on December 31 and 1 am on January 1.

“People were letting off fireworks from 6 pm and throughout the night and into the early hours of Tuesday morning.”

She said that while only four dogs were admitted to the SPCA after fleeing fireworks on New Year’s eve, she expected pet owners to call the SPCA today looking for their dogs.

“The fireworks were horrendous. There were such loud ones that sounded like bombs.”

She said that all the dogs in the SPCA’s kennels had been tranquilised to ensure they were not stressed by the fireworks.

She added that the Staffordshire terriers had been moved to the clinic as an extra precaution, as this breed was more susceptible to being stressed by loud bangs.

Vida said about 15 dogs had been brought to the SPCA to be cared for on New Year’s eve by their owners, mostly children, from Sobantu.

The Witness reported in September that new by-laws approved by the city council, restrict the use of fireworks to just five days a year.

The new rules state that unless otherwise authorised, nobody may set off fireworks on any day or at any time other than from 7 pm to 10 pm on the Hindu New Year, the Jewish festival of Lag B’Omer, on Guy Fawkes Day and at Diwali; and from 11 pm on New Year’s Eve to 1 am on New Year’s Day.

The use of fireworks on any other day or for any other reasons will require permission from the municipality.

The by-law also restricts the sale of fireworks.

Anyone found contravening the by-laws is liable to be charged and to face the penalty prescribed by the law.

If convicted, a person will be liable to pay the cost of repairing any damage resulting from the offence.

Attempts to find out if any policing or prosecutions of people disregarding the by-laws were effected were unsuccessful yesterday because municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma was unavailable.

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