Aaliyah Rugg | ECHO

A charity has issued urgent advice for pet owners this Bonfire night.

Despite bringing joy to many, Bonfire Night can have a detrimental impact on animals and vulnerable people. With many organised displays cancelled, there are fears more people will turn to “at home displays” this weekend.

But with concerns over causing huge distress and fatal injuries to all kinds of animals, the RSPCA is urging people to consider animals in their local area. RSPCA ‘s senior scientific officer Mark Kennedy has also issued advice on what you can do to keep animals calm.

Speaking to the ECHO he said: “We recognise fireworks bring enjoyment to an awful lot of people but the regulations aren’t fit for purpose because they don’t take into considerations animals that can suffer anxiety, injury or even death. We need to see changes.

“Animals can be scared from bangs or flashes, dogs are terrified. Two horses recently lost their lives from fear and injury. I really wish people would be aware of the impact firework fun can have on all animals.”

Mr Kennedy said minimising risks could be introduced such as limited sales and firework control zones as he added: “One thing that could work is a licencing system where people can do a training course on the impact on animals. People think it’s just cats and dogs but farm animals can be impacted too.

“Horses can be startled and will run through fences and get injured or cause an accident on the roads. If people just thought about animals that would be really helpful.”

Some top tips on how to keep your animal calm:

  • Keep dogs and cats indoors and walk your dog during daylight hours
  • Close curtains and windows to muffle the noise slightly
  • Make a safe zone for pets to hide in, put in their favourite toys
  • Put on some music or TV to mask the firework sounds.
  • Ignore the firework noises yourself. Play with a toy to see if your dog wants to join in, but don’t force them to play.
  • For small animals, partly cover outside cages with blankets so it’s soundproofed and hidden, leaving an area for animals to look out.
  • Provide bedding for small animals to burrow in.
  • For horses, talk to the organisers of displays and ask if they can set fireworks off in the opposite direction.

Mr Kennedy added: “The other thing is, don’t take dogs to a display, it’s certainly not a place for a dog. You may get pleasure out of them but your animal won’t.”

Last year, the RSPCA received nearly 12,000 responses to its reporting form on the impact of fireworks on their animals. The charity is once again sharing its #BangOutOfOrder campaign, urging for more controls over fireworks displays.

Sadly, every year the RSPCA receives an influx of calls reporting terrified animals during the fireworks season. And it’s not just pets that are distressed by fireworks; horses and livestock can be affected by the loud bangs and bright flashes of light, putting them at risk of injuring themselves on fencing, farm equipment or fixtures and fittings within their housing.

Wildlife can also be seriously impacted by bonfires and fireworks with wild animals at risk of being burnt alive after making their homes inside bonfires and piles of leaves.

This article originally appeared on ECHO: Warning to anyone with a pet ahead of Bonfire Night

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