Following a tumultuous year, 2021 is set to start with much less of a bang as a number of big venues have cancelled their traditional New Years’ Eve (NYE) fireworks displays.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA)’s Keshvi Nair says they are heartened by the news that not only the V&A Waterfront on Cape Town but also Monte Casino, Sun Coast Casio, Carnival City Casino and Gold Reef City Casino have called off their traditional pyrotechnic displays.
“Not only will it assist in slowing down the spread of Covid-19 as we battle through the second wave of the pandemic, but it also places the animals in that area in a safer position in terms of the terror they experience as a result of the fireworks,” says Nair.
“It also sets a wonderful example to members of the public to be considerate and follow suit,” she added.
Nair says the laws regarding the discharge of fireworks vary according to the different municipalities.
While some may have a complete ban on fireworks, others have only placed a time frame at which members can discharge fireworks.
“The SPCA has no jurisdiction over these laws,” she notes.
“Each local SPCA, however, works with the SAPS where possible where cruelty has or is likely to be involved in relation to the discharge of fireworks.
She says the NSPCA is thinly stretched over the festive season and not just due to fireworks being set off.
“A number of stray, surrender, sick and injured animals are brought in as a result of drunken drivers, irresponsible pet owners, and all the other issues that come along with the festive season which affects animals and their welfare,” says Nair.
“New Years brings its own set of issues as many animals, again both wild and domestic, are terrified by the discharge of fireworks. Pets go missing when they run away in an attempt to escape the horror of the fireworks, some animals jump through windows and injure themselves severely, wild animals such as birds might get frightened and injure themselves while trying to escape etc.
“The majority of these animals end up at our SPCAs where we take on the responsibility of preventing further suffering. Ultimately, the use of fireworks has proven time and time again to only have a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of animals.”
Nair says while the first prize is for fireworks to be avoided completely, they advise pet owners to take responsibility for their pets at this time.
“We emphasize the necessity to stay home with their pets ( which promotes the safety of pets and now with Covid-19, the owners too) and we list other useful tips to assist in keeping their pets safe during this time,” she says.
The NSPCA’s tips for pet owners include:
- Stay indoors, with the doors, windows and curtains closed. This may assist with muffling out the bangs and blocking out the bright flashes.
- Turn on the TV or radio to block out the loud bangs with familiar sounds.
- Provide toys or some form of enrichment that may assist in keeping your pet distracted from the fireworks.
- Exercise your pets earlier on in the day rather than in the afternoon when fireworks are more likely to be set off.
- Keep your pets away from windows or glass doors which they may jump through.
- Ensure your pet has been microchipped and is wearing a collar. In the event that your pet does get scared and runs away, these forms of identification may assist in getting them back to you.
- Smaller pets like rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as larger pets, such as horses, should not be forgotten. Smaller pets should be moved into a secure, quiet area or brought indoors. Larger animals should be stabled early to become familiar with their surroundings, or moved to a place where fireworks will not be set off well in advance to the days where fireworks are used.
- If you know your pet scares easily, consult your veterinarian beforehand about medical treatment.