RSPCA warns New Year fireworks displays could spark fear in animals - with 11,000 reports this year alone

An online reporting system set up for the first time this year by the RSPCA has received more than 11,000 reports of animals terrified by fireworks, with more expected over New Year.

With many large public displays cancelled this year the charity fears people will be taking to DIY firework displays in their gardens and neighbouring animals could be left shaken or injured as a result.
With many large public displays cancelled this year the charity fears people will be taking to DIY firework displays in their gardens and neighbouring animals could be left shaken or injured as a result.

With many large public displays cancelled this year the charity fears people will be taking to DIY firework displays in their gardens and neighbouring animals could be left shaken or injured as a result.

RSPCA campaigns manager Carrie Stones said: “The RSPCA’s Bang out of Order campaign is calling for regulation changes to the way we use fireworks.

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Bobby suffers from feline idiopathic cystitis brought on by stress. After being terrified during November fireworks Bobby had to be rushed to the vet as his bladder had become completely blocked, he was given emergency treatment at a cost of hundreds of pounds.

“We’d like to see a restriction in use to specific traditional dates - not the days and weeks either side of them - a reduction in noise levels, public fireworks displays to be licensed and private firework boxes to be labelled with noise levels so people can choose low noise fireworks.

“We know from the response to this well established campaign that the vast majority of the public are behind us on this issue - we would encourage anyone who wants to do their bit to email their MP via our website to make their feelings known.

“We have seen some terribly sad stories of all kinds of animals from dogs and cats to rabbits, horses and deer left traumatised and injured by fireworks as they do not understand what is happening and in some instances their owners have no prior warning to help prepare them.

“If you are thinking of having a fireworks display please consider where you live and who is around you before going ahead.”

German-Shepherd cross Zena lived with her owner Robert Hyslop and his five other rescue dogs in Newport on the Isle of Wight until November 4 this year. Sadly at just 3pm in the afternoon a neighbour set off loud fireworks leading to a nervous Zena collapsing, violently shaking and shortly after, losing her life.

So far the RSPCA has seen 14,500 people take action and email their MP, 67 councils have also requested a toolkit pulled together by the charity and five councils have put forward their own motions on restrictions.

Case study

Zena

German-Shepherd cross Zena lived with her owner Robert Hyslop and his five other rescue dogs in Newport on the Isle of Wight until November 4 this year. Sadly at just 3pm in the afternoon a neighbour set off loud fireworks leading to a nervous Zena collapsing, violently shaking and shortly after, losing her life. Owner Robert said: “Zena was around six years old, she’d lived with me about four years as she’d previously been in the care of a local rescue centre.

“I knew from Zena’s history that she was a very nervous and anxious dog, on days we were expecting fireworks or thunderstorms I’d always try to make sure the dogs ate and settled early in the evening.

“Zena would have her own safe space - her crate covered in a blanket, or she would like to sit on the sofa and watch TV.

“I was just giving her her food when this firework went off, we weren’t expecting it so early in the day and she was terrified. She collapsed immediately, shaking, then within minutes she was gone. She had been absolutely fine up to this point.

“If people want to enjoy fireworks, why does it have to be the loudest ones, and why for weeks on either side of the actual date? Being more considerate could save a dog like Zena’s life.”

Bobby

Two-year-old Bobby lives with his owner Kathryn Magee in Newcastle. Bobby suffers from feline idiopathic cystitis brought on by stress. After being terrified during November fireworks Bobby had to be rushed to the vet as his bladder had become completely blocked, he was given emergency treatment at a cost of hundreds of pounds. Kathryn said: “Poor Bobby spent the whole evening hiding absolutely terrified in my cupboard. I had all the lights on and the radio but he was so scared. I’m already dreading New Year. If it was just one evening it wouldn’t be so bad but in the winter the fireworks feel constant, I just wish people could be more considerate to animals and people living around them.”

For more information about the RSPCA’s #BangOutOfOrder campaign and to support our calls for more controls over fireworks displays, as well as guidance on sending a letter to your council please visit our ~BangOutOfOrder webpage here. And to support the FAB Firework Abatement UK, please sign the petition online.

For more tips to help animals during fireworks season, please visit the website.

Our rescue teams will be out in all weathers this winter, rescuing animals from abuse, neglect and suffering. To Join the Christmas Rescue and help our rescuers be there for the animals in need, please visit www.rspca.org.uk/rescuexmas