Guy Fawkes was celebrated on Monday and the noise of fireworks was heard in neighbourhoods around Benoni.
While Benoni SPCA manager Vicky Finnemore said fireworks were not as bad as in previous years, mostly due to the rain, she reiterated that the disruption caused by fireworks poses a risk to animals.
“Setting off fireworks is a selfish, dangerous and unnecessary disturbance,” said Finnemore.
“In past years, we’ve found the areas affected mostly during Diwali, Guy Fawkes and New Year are Actonville, Mackenzie Park, Western Extension and Atlasville.”
According to the director of Benoni Animal Rescue Centre (Barc), Lauren Kelly, the areas mostly affected by Guy Fawkes on Monday night included Farrarmere, Morehill and Western Extension.
“We also had reports of fireworks disturbances from Benoni Agricultural Holdings, with some pet owners saying their dogs were going crazy,” said Kelly.
She added that with the festive season upon us, fireworks will no doubt be prevalent.
“During this period animals are sometimes left alone at home by their owners.
“With no one to comfort them and a tremendous amount of noise generated from the fireworks, they escape their homes to look for refuge.
“This results in many stray animals wandering the streets.
“If they are lucky enough, these strays are picked up by shelters and stay at the kennels, sometimes up to two weeks, before their owners come back home and realise they’re gone.”
Kelly said fireworks affect domestic animals as well as wildlife, such as owls and jackals found in the agricultural holdings.
“We understand and acknowledge that fireworks form part of some religious activities, however, there are specified times available for the burning of fireworks.
“The community is getting irate with people who are not adhering to this.
“As the Benoni community, we will come down hard on offenders,” Kelly said.
According to the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), the Explosives Act 26 of 1956 is a law applied nationwide with no exceptions.
The Act dictates it is unlawful to discharge any firework in any building, on any public thoroughfare or in any public place or resort without prior written permission of the local authority to do so, according to section 10.34.
The NSPCA provided guidelines for pet owners to safeguard their animals during fireworks:
• Ensure all animals have some form of identification.
• If possible, stay home with them if you suspect fireworks will be let off in your area.
• If you can’t be home with them, keep them inside and preferably in a room, such as a kitchen, where the windows are higher.
• Attempt to mask any noise by drawing curtains and playing calming music at a reasonable volume.
• Put familiar and comforting things around them, such as toys, their basket, etc.
• If your pets react badly, seek professional advice from a vet.
• Give your pets a hearty and nutritious meal around nightfall as this will make them more likely to be sleepy.
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