This poor dog ended up firmly wedged in a tree after trying to run away from the noise of fireworks amidst the New Year celebrations. His frantic digging only made his situation more frightening for him. Photo supplied.
Date: 14 January 2019 By: Jo Robinson
Many residents of Louis Trichardt dread the approach of New Year’s Eve because they know that fireworks will be let off throughout the night. People with babies and young children, the elderly, the ill, and the light sleepers, no matter how stressed, generally manage to get through the celebrations without loss of life or limb. Pets, on the other hand, are often not so lucky.
Alicia Thomas of the Louis Trichardt SPCA told the Zoutpansberger that this festive season had been the worst, with increasing amounts of reports of traumatised and injured pets due to detonating fireworks. “We had much higher intakes of terrified, lost and hurt animals this year.”
Alicia said that many pet owners believed that nothing would make their usually happy dogs or cats run away from home, and so they confidently headed off to friends or elsewhere to see the new year in. They fail to understand that the sheer manic terror that animals experience when confronted with such loud explosions of noise and light from sources they cannot understand effectively annihilates any caution they would normally exhibit. They will risk their own lives to “get away” from it. Unfortunately, with such celebrations they cannot get away from it and it comes at them from all sides. This continues for hours, with frantic animals running in all directions in the dark.
This unnecessary noise does not only affect pets, but since December is very much the breeding season for many birds and animals, wild babies are going to be left as parents take off in fright. Creatures that usually shelter at night do not have good chances of survival when flying or running around blindly in the dark.
“What is also important for all pet owners, at any time of the year,” said Alicia, “is to make sure that they have current photographs of all their animals. Taking a cellphone snap of them every now and then will help, should they ever end up lost.” She said that the Louis Trichardt SPCA was still holding a lot of stray animals from over the past month and that anyone looking for a lost pet was encouraged to contact them.
Residents who find a lost and frightened dog should immediately take a photo, if possible, and if they are not able to catch it and take it to the SPCA themselves, they should try and stay with the animal and phone the SPCA, giving the most exact location that they can with the closest house number and street name.
The SPCA are escalating their campaign to Ban the Bang right now for the coming year, and they are requesting residents of Louis Trichardt to assist by signing the petition forms available at the SPCA, the Zoutpansberger, Pitstop Bottle Store, Blouberg Animal Clinic, and Marius Brönn Pharmacy. Remember that only one signature per person is allowed.
The SPCA would like to extend their thanks and appreciation to Colonel Bez Bezuidenhout and the Makhado SAPS for all their work in targeting holders of illegal fireworks and the people using them this year. Discharging fireworks in a residential area is illegal, and even in areas designated for this purpose, permits are required. Residents are encouraged to report the illegal use of fireworks to the police, who will then lay the appropriate charges.
Planning is currently in progress between the SPCA and local educators for a competition to “invent” safe, noiseless, animal-friendly fireworks. Alicia said that exciting and substantial prizes can be won and that the details will be released soon. “In the meantime,” she said, “please sign our petition to Ban the Bang this year.” Contact the SPCA for further information by phoning either Lawrence Khodobo (082 965 5151) or Alicia Thomas (084 900 5337).
Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.