Let compassion guide diwali fireworks

2011-10-24 00:00

THE Hindu Dharma Sabha organisation and the Pietermaritzburg Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) are urging pet owners to keep their animals safe during Diwali this week.

The president of the SA Hindu Dharma Sabha, Ram Maharaj, said fireworks have religious and cultural significance for Hindus, but he appeals to devotees to use them responsibly. “In keeping with the fundamental Hindu principle of Prani Daya or compassion towards all beings, we appeal to everyone to use fireworks with a sense of care and responsibility and not cause any harm to people, pets or property,” he said.

The SPCA’s Maureen Vida said there are certain precautions that can lessen the impact of loud fireworks on pets (see box). “It’s unfortunate that it is the inconsiderate hooligans in our community who will take a full advantage of the abundance of easily accessible fireworks on sale this time of the year by discharging these explosive devices, which will once again blemish the beautiful and spiritual festival of lights,” Vida said.

In terms of the Animal Protection Act, it is an offence to ill-treat, neglect, infuriate, torture, maim or terrify any animal.

Joe’s Fireworks Store owner Ayuab Khan said Diwali is his busiest time.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge warned residents who abuse crackers. “Celebrating is a noble thing to do, but the law requires people not to infringe other people’s rights and peace.”

He pleaded with distributors to sell fireworks within the legal framework. — Witness Reporter.

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Protect your pets from the noise:

• The herbal tranquilliser Anxitane should be administered three days before the fireworks date. Tranquillisers will be administered to all dogs brought to the SPCA boarding kennels, specifically for Diwali. This will be at the owner’s expense.

• Stay as close to your animals as possible, close the curtains and turn up the volume on the radio or TV.

• Should your dog flee, report it missing as soon as possible.

• Attach identity discs to enable SPCA staff to identify lost dogs.

• The SPCA in Woodhouse Road will be open from 6 pm until late on Wednesday to assist the public with any animal or firework-related problems at 033 386 9267. There-after the normal emergency number 083 627 9736 will be in operation.

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