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