Howick people and pets march in protest against loud fireworks

2009-12-31 00:00

WITH placards and furry friends in attendance, Howick residents made a statement yesterday while trekking through the CBD during the second annual Anti-loud Fireworks Protest March.

Concerned about the distress and trauma deafening fireworks cause to animals during New Year’s Eve celebrations, uMngeni SPCA sought permission from the municipality before roping in local residents to help heighten awareness for their cause.

“If we want to get the by-laws changed, we need to make known how we feel about this annual terrorisation,” said Adrienne Olivier, a Howick resident who was instrumental in spreading the word about the march.

Heather Summerville, public relations officer for uMngeni SPCA, said that although they do not have a problem with fireworks per se, it is the loud bangs that are a cause for concern as they leave animals severely traumatised.

“And it’s not just dogs, but all animal species. They get so terrified that they break out and jump through windows and injure themselves,” she said.

Summerville says the animals often escape on to the road and many are struck by cars.

She says SPCA employees on standby for New Year’s Eve also have the difficult task of having to capture some of the tormented animals.

“It’s almost impossible to catch a dog in panic. Although we’d like to see no fireworks, we have to be realistic and are asking people to use them in a controlled manner if they have to.”

Summerville commended the SA Police Service, which is actively clamping down on retailers and street vendors who are selling fireworks to children or without the necessary permits.

Summerville gave the following advice to pet-owners during fireworks season: “Shut them somewhere secure and play some music with a good beat, but not so loud that you deafen them. Think of them and keep them safe, and if it’s in your power, don’t set off fireworks.”

Pietermaritzburg SPCA spokeswoman Maureen Vida urged pet owners to take the normal precautions. She advised them to stay with their pets and to seek medication from a private vet if necessary.

She said the SPCA will ensure there are extra staff members on standby and encouraged people to report any pet-related fireworks problems to the SPCA. Local police will handle any other fireworks-related problems.

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