SPCA hails fireworks decision

2019-10-22 06:00
Cape of Good Hope’s SPCA communications and resource developmental assistant, Tara McGovern, and the camera shy Rupert (dachshund cross) are pleased the City has decided to forego designated fireworks sites for Guy Fawkes and New Year’s Eve.PHOTO: Lebogang Tlou

Cape of Good Hope’s SPCA communications and resource developmental assistant, Tara McGovern, and the camera shy Rupert (dachshund cross) are pleased the City has decided to forego designated fireworks sites for Guy Fawkes and New Year’s Eve.PHOTO: Lebogang Tlou

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The Cape of Good Hope SPCA welcomes the City of Cape Town’s decision to not have designated sites for Guy Fawkes and New Year’s Eve this year.

Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson, Tara McGovern, heralds the decision by the City as a heartening one.

“We’ve got a lot of challenges every day in terms of fighting animal cruelty,” says McGovern.

According to McGovern, animals suffer the most when humans choose to celebrate with fireworks, particularly over the December and January holidays.

“So, that’s been one of our big challenges over the entire course of our history in terms of dealing with animals being injured, frightened or stressed,” McGovern says.

She says the SPCA treats many animals with horrible injuries that are directly caused by fireworks going off and injuring and, or, maiming animals.

“An animal can sometimes try to scale a fence and then they end up getting impaled,” she says. “Or, we see animals escaping because they get stressed by the noise, or they run into the road and they get run over.”

According to McGovern, it is encouraging to see authorities working together from various departments to curb the presence of fireworks in communities.

“Because it’s not only animals that get hurt, children can sometimes find these objects and products, and then hurt themselves,” she says. “Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before the authorities decide to ban the sale of these items in shops,” she says.

McGovern emphasises that the SPCA fully understands and respects the rights of religions to celebrate their festivals using fireworks, and asks only that everyone remains cognisant of the rights of animals as well.

“And while we’re completely respectful of religious festivals like Diwali where they make use of fireworks, we have to be very cognisant that, unfortunately, for all animals, it’s incredibly stressful,” she says.

In a statement Mayco member of safety and security JP Smith says the City’s decision to forego designated fireworks sites does not mean the City has banned fireworks.

He adds that the Community Fire Safety By-law, read in conjunction with the Explosives Act, permits applications for public fireworks displays.

The decision not to have designated sites this year was weighed by many factors, including the cost associated with running the sites, deploying staff and resources, law enforcement, metro police, traffic and, of course, the fire and rescue service, the City announced in an earlier statement.

“However, in the spirit of respecting this Hindu cultural tradition, the City has, in consultation with interested parties, decided to make available the parking lot at Athlone Stadium on Sunday 27 October for Diwali celebrations,” says Smith.

He says the City does have a problem with illegal fireworks imports, sale and detonation. The Explosives Act is strict about the importing and use of fireworks.

  • Members of the public with information relating to the illegal sale or use of fireworks should report this to the City’s Public Emergency Call Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or to the police on 10111

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