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03rd Nov 2023

You could be fined for setting off fireworks which cause dogs to suffer

Kieran Galpin


Are pretty lights worth distressed animals?

Ahead of Bonfire Night on Sunday November 5, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has urged animal owners to prepare for a weekend of distressed pets.

Causing unnecessary stress to animals, even in the case of fireworks, is technically a crime and you could receive a hefty fine or even jail time if found guilty of this act.

Those found to have caused “unnecessary suffering to an animal” falls under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 and could see violators hit with an enormous and unlimited fine.

Read more: Two thirds of you think all supermarkets should ban fireworks

The legislation does not specifically dictate what counts as suffering but the RSPCA suggested that animals “trembling” in fear and “shaking, panting, and drooling” are clear signs of distress.

Each year, early November sees an influx of Facebook posts dedicated to animal welfare on Bonfire Night. Though consumer fireworks are illegal in many parts of the world, they continue to be a heavily debated topic in the UK.

“Users of fireworks need to use them responsibly and be aware of animals close by, and those found guilty of causing animals unnecessary suffering can face up to five years’ imprisonment,” a spokesperson from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) told Metro in 2021.

People have begun explaining to firework users about the effect they have on pets.

Klare from the RSPCA shared a video on Twitter of rescue dog Barney who is currently on calming medication. Despite the medication – and his owners playing music to hopefully drown out the noise – Barney is still visibly distraught.

She tweeted: “Sadly, this is the effect of fireworks on @RSPCA_official rescue boy Barney. We have music playing, and he is on calming medication. But he can still hear them and is terrified. Home fireworks may cause a few mins of pleasure but can cause so much misery to pets.”

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