Distressed dogs bolting away and becoming lost, cats cats killed by fireworks, and a dead horse; with more than 80 incidents reported to the RSPCA in the past two weeks, the charity is once again calling for more stringent laws to limit the sale of fireworks to the general public through its #BangOutOfOrder campaign.
The RSPCA has received 82 calls related to animals and fireworks between 26 October and 9 November.
“Dozens of dog owners reported their pets cowering in fear or uncontrollably trembling for hours, while others revealed their dogs had bolted in a panic,” a statement reads.
One such dog is Yorkshire Terrier Sansa, who was spooked by fireworks while out on a walk with her owner in London and bolted away. The tiny dog has yet to be found.
Faye, a nine-year-old rescue greyhound who found a new family in the UK after being rescued from a dog meat farm in China, was also spooked by fireworks in Fleckney, Leicestershire, and bolted; unfortunately, this incident would turn fatal.
Owner Richard Wilford said, “She was fine in the house. We’d been watching TV and I waited for a break in the fireworks to take her out into the garden to go to the toilet before bed. All of a sudden there was an almighty explosion, followed by two more as three fireworks were set off nearby.
“Faye panicked and bolted for the house, running straight into the patio doors. The sound of the impact was as loud as the firework. She fell onto the ground and started convulsing. Within two minutes she was dead. It was horrendous.”
Fireworks were also used for deliberate acts of cruelty across the country, costing the lives of several cats.
An RSPCA spokesperson said, “We were contacted on 2 November after a cat was killed in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, when a firework was attached to him and lit. On Bonfire Night itself we were made aware of two incidents – one in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and one in Kenilworth, Warwickshire – in which fireworks had been strapped to kittens before being set off. And on Friday (6 November), the burned body of a cat was found strapped to a firework in Queensferry, Wales.”
Dozens of animals and staff at the RSPCA’s Harmsworth Memorial Animal Hospital in North London were left distressed on Thursday night (5 November) as the hospital and the street were pelted with fireworks.
The charity is expecting “more incidents over the coming weeks as sales and displays continue into Diwali this weekend (14 November) before Christmas and New Year”.
A young horse, Flashy, also died after being frightened by fireworks.
Her owner Emma Jones said, “We had a call from someone at the yard saying she’d gone down in her field. We rushed down to her and found her collapsed in the mud, paralysed with fear. She had clearly been spooked and was very distressed; she was sweating, her paddock had been trashed and all of the fencing was down.
“Flashy was a fit and healthy youngster with a clean bill of health. She had clearly been spooked by something which had sent her careering around her paddock and injuring herself. It was Bonfire Night and I can only believe that fireworks were to blame.”
She added, “My 14-year-old daughter, Lola, sat and cradled her in the mud for hours until a vet arrived and we made the heartbreaking decision to have her put to sleep. Examinations later revealed that she’d fractured her spine and wouldn’t have been able to be saved. Flashy meant so much to us already, it was heartbreaking to lose her like this.”
RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Mark Kennedy said, “Fireworks are extremely stressful and frightening for many animals. Around 62% of dogs, 55% of horses and 54% of cats in the UK show signs of anxiety when they hear fireworks.”
“All too often we hear heartbreaking stories of animals like Flashy and Faye who seriously injure themselves in a blind panic after being spooked by fireworks. Perhaps even more shockingly, we seem to be seeing more incidents reported to our inspectors of animals being deliberately targeted and injured using fireworks.
“Enough is enough; we need tighter controls over the sale and use of these potentially lethal explosives.”
Images and video by RSPCA