As pet owners prepare to keep their animals safe and calm during tomorrow’s Bonfire Night celebrations, more than 3800 people have also responded to the RSPCA’s call call to contact the UK Government to change firework regulations
The RSPCA, which receives hundreds of calls each year about animals distressed by fireworks , wants to restrict private displays on all but four days of the year. A petition set up Julie Doorne from the FAB Firework Abatement campaign has already generated over 250,000 signatures in less than three weeks.
A new video released today from the charity reveals the stress animals can suffer as a result of unplanned displays.
It shows rescue dog Charlie, a Lhasa Apso cross heavily panting with stress and he took six hours to calm down after fireworks were randomly set off while he was out on a walk in September.
Charlie’s owner Lynette Robb said: “We were in the park at about 5.30pm on a weekday and it was still bright and sunny.
“On the way there a firework went off and Charlie stopped and looked around, after some encouragement he carried on walking to the park.
“Then whilst in the park two more fireworks went off and Charlie stopped – we say he puts his brakes on because you can’t move him – and began shaking vigorously, panting and crying.
“He wouldn’t walk any further and I had to carry him home.
“He’s a six-year-old rescue dog who’s come from an abusive background and is really scared of loud noises.
“He continued to be distressed, shaking, crying and panting for the entire evening and didn’t calm down until about midnight – that is six hours.
“It’s just so unfair and upsetting to see him like that. It’s happened multiple times before and since then too. As it’s daylight you couldn’t even see the fireworks so there was no point.”
In 2011 the RSPCA received 255 calls regarding animals and fireworks, which has steadily risen to a peak of 533 in 2017. In the last five years the charity received 2,300 calls about fireworks.
Incredibly, a Change.org petition set up by Julie Doorne from the FAB Firework Abatement campaign has already generated over 250,000 signatures since it was set up on October 16.
It is now hoped that a Westminster Hall debate will be arranged to discuss the regulation of fireworks – making public support even more crucial.
RSPCA campaign manager Eloise Shavelar said: “Clearly there is widespread public concern about this issue as can be shown by huge number of people signing petitions year on year calling for change.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear Charlie’s story, this shouldn’t be happening in 2018 – we are calling on a urgent review of the current regulations to better protect animals and those who care for them.
“We want to see the UK Government listening to people and strengthening the existing acts and restricting the use of fireworks to traditional days of the year like bonfire night.”
The RSPCA now wants to see the private use of fireworks restricted to certain days; November 5, New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali.
The charity would also like to see the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale reduced from 120 decibels – above the human pain threshold for noise – to 97 decibels. This is likely to further reduce the stress to animals*.
In January 2018, the UK Government set up the Office for Product Safety and Standards following two Parliamentary debates, about the negative impact of fireworks, many months on, there has been little movement on this issue.
Julie Doorne, who started the change.org petition said: “This is the third petition we have started which has far exceeded our expectations really showing people’s strength of feeling on this issue.
“Stories like Charlie’s show that there are animals out there suffering right now and the Government need to react to that and stop these loud, random and unwanted displays.”
An RSPCA survey from February this year shows that 38% of dogs* are fearful of loud noises such as fireworks meaning thousands of animals’ lives are made a misery by fireworks every year.
More information and resources about how reduce stress in animals during fireworks season see: www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks