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BC SPCA urges federal protection of animals from fireworks

Fireworks can cause death, injury, and stress to animals, petition points out
BC SPCA calling for federal protection of animals from fireworks. (Cory Carruthers file photo)

The BC SPCA is urging the federal government to consider protecting animals from the dangers of fireworks.

Exploding fireworks can be terrifying for pets, farm animals and wildlife, according to Meghann Cant, BC SPCA manager of companion animal welfare science.

“For many, Halloween is a fun time for candy, costumes and fireworks,” said Cant in an Oct. 29 release. “But, for animals, it’s one of the most frightful nights of the year.”

She estimated that 49 per cent of dogs are afraid of loud noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms and gunshots, while about 79 per cent of horses show anxious behaviour during fireworks displays.

“Fireworks are creating serious issues for animals in our communities,” says Cant. “Now’s the time to ask the government to take steps to protect them.”

To sign a petition urging protections of animals, and communities from fireworks, sign e-petitition here.

The petition resolves that the undersigned: “call upon the Government of Canada to support the exploration of permanent legislative changes around the use of fireworks that would result in improved community safety and well-being.”

Anyone who minimize the issue isn’t getting a clear picture.

“I don’t think people realize the trauma surrounding fireworks for animals,” says Aleigh Ateyo, who works as an after-hours night emergency officer at the BC SPCA.

Call loads at the SPCA are always worse when there are fireworks.

”The animals are frantic and once an animal is frightened and running, they are almost impossible to catch,” she said.

On Halloween night, Ateyo estimated they can get upwards of 50 calls about fireworks. Many of the calls are about animals that are hit by cars.

Sometimes people report being out on a walk with their dogs on Halloween night, only to have their dog bolt due to the frightfully loud fireworks. Lost dogs and cats who run off can break through a fence or window because they were spooked by fireworks or wildlife behaving in unusual ways, including instances where raccoons, skunks and birds were trying to get inside a house or underneath a deck to hide from fireworks.

BC SPCA tips on keeping pets safe on Halloween:

• Ensure pet has at least two forms of identification in case they go missing. Pets should have a collar with tags and an ear tattoo or a microchip registered with the BC Pet Registry.

• Be mindful when opening a door to hand out candy since a lot of calls come in have to do with a dog or cat bursting through an opened door, trying to escape.

• When taking an animal outside to relieve themselves, make sure they are appropriately leashed/harnessed and hold tight to the leash, even in the backyard.

RELATED: ‘It’s time for Chilliwack to put down the fireworks: Mayor

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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