SPCA urges responsible use of fireworks

2010-10-25 00:00

IN the run-up to Guy Fawkes, Diwali and New Year, the SPCA is once again warning people to take special care of the animals as fireworks are discharged.

Pietermaritzburg SPCA spokesperson Maureen Vida warns that according to the Explosives Act, it is an offence to let off fireworks within 500 metres of a petrol station or explosives depot or in any building or public thoroughfare.

It is also an offence to hold a public fireworks display without written permission from the Chief Inspector of Explosives.

No person under the age of 16 may purchase or let off fireworks unless under the supervision of an adult. Any informal sale of fireworks (by hawkers, roadside or any open-air sellers) does not conform to the Act and must be reported to the police.

Vida says the Act is enforced by the police. “It is also a misconception that the sole responsibility regarding fireworks lies with the Explosives Section. Any police officer or member of the public can lay charges against any person who contravenes the Explosives Act and regulations, and if animals suffer due to the misuse of fireworks, charges under the Animal Protection Act will apply.” Vida said fireworks complaints contravening the Explosives Act must be reported to the local police station. She says in terms of the Animal Protection Act it is an offence to ill treat, neglect, infuriate torture, maim or terrify any animal. “All such incidents, whether related to fireworks or not, should be reported to the SPCA.” Public displays will be taking place during the two weekends leading up to Guy Fawkes and Diwali.

The Pietermaritzburg SPCA will be open for extended hours from 6 pm to 9 pm on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6 to assist the public with any animal problems. “There are deeply concerned people among all ethnic groups and all religious persuasions — including those that use fireworks for religious celebrations — who want an end to the ‘big bangs’ an end to the terror, the injuries and death,” Vida says. “The SPCA movement is apolitical and its opposition to fireworks cannot be linked to anything other than to prevent cruelty to animals.” — WR.

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Guidelines to safeguard your pets during this period:

•Ensure all animals have identification. ID discs are available from the SPCA.

•If possible stay at home with your pet when fireworks are being detonated.

•If this is not possible, keep them in a room inside, draw the curtains, put on the radio or TV and surround them with familiar and comforting objects such as their baskets and toys. Provide them with a distraction such as a chewy bone or catnip toys for felines.

•A herbal tranquiliser is available from the SPCA. The 10 day course which must commence a week in advance and costs between R65 and R100 depending on the size of the dog. Rescue remedy may also be used or consult your Vet for other alternatives. Tranquilisers may cause disorientation so it is therefore advisable not to leave your dog unattended for any length of time.

•On no account chain or tether your dogs as their frantic struggles could lead to strangulation or severe injury.

•Please report lost pets immediately and leave all contact details. It is essential to also come into the SPCA and look through our stray block as often as possible.

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