Warn­ing over burn­ing tyres, il­le­gal fire­works

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Devon Koen & Gareth Wil­son koend@ti­soblack­star.co.za

PO­LICE of­fi­cials and an­i­mal ac­tivists have is­sued stern warn­ings to those wish­ing to see Guy Fawkes in with a bang.

Yesterday, po­lice spokes­woman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said ad­di­tional po­lice had been de­ployed, par­tic­u­larly in the north­ern ar­eas, to en­sure rev­ellers acted re­spon­si­bly and within the con­fines of the law.

“No sym­pa­thy will be given to any per­son found to be dis­re­gard­ing the pro­vi­sions of the Crim­i­nal Mat­ters Amend­ment Act,” she said.

The act, which came into ef­fect on June 1 last year, al­lows for harsher pun­ish­ment for those who da­m­age es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture, such as roads.

“Ev­ery year dur­ing Guy Fawkes, thou­sands and thou­sands of rands worth of da­m­age is done to es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture. This year we are warn­ing peo­ple, you will be ar­rested and de­tained,” she said in ref­er­ence to those who burn tyres or set off il­le­gal fire­works.

Chil­dren un­der the age of 16 should be su­per­vised or un­der di­rect su­per­vi­sion of an adult and fire­works lit only in des­ig­nated ar­eas as set out by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Naidu said.

Un­der the mu­nic­i­pal fire­works by­law, of­fend­ers could also be is­sued a sum­mons to ap­pear in court or fined R2 000.

Naidu said if an an­i­mal was in­jured as a re­sult of fire­works be­ing used, the per­pe­tra­tor could face charges un­der the An­i­mal Cru­elty Act.

An­i­mal Anti-Cru­elty League (AACL) spokes­woman Linda-Louise Swain said all pets in­clud­ing birds and live­stock were at risk dur­ing Guy Fawkes cel­e­bra­tions, with an­i­mals at risk of be­ing hurt when they pan­icked on hear­ing fire­works.

“A dog’s hear­ing is eight times more sen­si­tive than our own hear­ing and fire­works, to them, sound like bomb blasts and war­fare.

“The an­i­mals panic and will run blindly into traf­fic,” she said.

“We have had cases of an­i­mals im­pal­ing them­selves on spiked fences, in electric fenc­ing and ra­zor wire.”

Swain said in some cir­cum­stances dogs tried to ex­tin­guish the fire­works and had their mouths or paws blown apart.

“Sadly, there are peo­ple who also de­lib­er­ately in­jure and scare an­i­mals with fire­works. The ef­fect on all an­i­mals is dev­as­tat­ing.”

An­i­mal Wel­fare So­ci­ety Port El­iz­a­beth branch man­ager Hannes Stander said pre­vi­ously there had been an in­crease in stray an­i­mals taken to shel­ters dur­ing Guy Fawkes cel­e­bra­tions af­ter run­ning away.

“The pets are ter­ri­fied and run away from the noise. It is not only a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence for the pets but for the own­ers as well who have to now try and find their lost pets,” Stander said.

Both Swain and Stander said if pet own­ers knew their pets were sen­si­tive to noise they should keep them in­doors and visit their lo­cal vet, who could pre­scribe calm­ing med­i­ca­tion.

Mount Road Clus­ter Com­man­der Ma­jor-Gen­eral Funeka Si­ganga said po­lice would not tol­er­ate peo­ple set­ting off fire­works.

“The po­lice could be at­tend­ing to more se­ri­ous mat­ters in­stead of hav­ing to douse and re­move tyres from the road,” she said.

Si­ganga said ev­ery year, in the north­ern ar­eas, po­lice had to de­ploy ad­di­tional man­power to pre­vent in­fra­struc­ture da­m­age.

Contact AACL in­spec­tors – Bev­er­ley on 082-654-2852; Patsy on 063-150- 8541.

Re­port il­le­gal fire­works to the mu­nic­i­pal con­trol room on (041) 585-1555 or the po­lice’s 10111.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: EU­GENE COET­ZEE

SPARKLING FUN: Fam­i­lies in Jameson Road, Schaud­erville, en­joyed fire­works last year as other parts of the north­ern ar­eas were lit up with burn­ing tyres

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