Loud fire­works cause dis­tress to pets and wildlife in the city

Eyethu Baywatch - - NEWS • IZINDABA - Gugu Myeni

AN­I­MALS in the city bore the brunt of loud fire­works dur­ing New Year’s eve cel­e­bra­tions.

The Em­pan­geni and Richards Bay SPCAs recorded a num­ber of miss­ing dogs as a re­sult of the loud bangs.

Em­pan­geni SPCA Chair­per­son Cheryl Whit­taker said although there are strict by-laws on fire­works, en­force­ment re­mains a huge chal­lenge.

‘It was not a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence at all and it is not only dogs and cats, but also wildlife that are af­fected.

‘It was very loud and many peo­ple dis­re­garded the by­laws. Fire­works were out of con­trol and went on well after mid­night.

‘Peo­ple do all they can to pro­tect their an­i­mals but it will not help if peo­ple ig­nore the laws.’

City of uMh­lathuze of­fi­cial by-laws state that res­i­dents may not dis­charge any fire­works where do­mes­ti­cated an­i­mals are present, or in any pub­lic place with­out prior writ­ten per­mis­sion from the Chief Fire Of­fi­cer.

In­spec­tor Deb­bie Cross of Em­pan­geni SPCA, who had been part of the pa­trolling team on New Year’s Eve, said four stray dogs were picked up in the area.

‘The SPCA dis­patched three pa­trol ve­hi­cles and we pa­trolled un­til 2am.

‘It was really bad. One res­i­dent re­ported that his dog jumped through the win­dow and ran away, but it was later found.’

She urged the pub­lic to re­port stray an­i­mals that have been found.

‘If you find a dog on the road you can’t claim own­er­ship of it. You need to re­port it to the SPCA,’ Cross added.

The Richards Bay SPCA re­ceived five re­ports of dogs that went miss­ing on New Year’s eve.

‘I also picked up three dogs while pa­trolling.

No in­juries were re­ported,’ said SPCA Vice Chair­per­son, El­iz­a­beth Cordiglia.

Lo­cal res­i­dents also ex­pressed their frus­tra­tion on so­cial me­dia.

Tammy Harmse said: ‘Velden­vlei sounded like a war zone. It started as soon as it got dark and I could still hear it un­til 2:30am when I went to bed. Spent the evening pet sit­ting. Be­ing in­side and tran­quilis­ers didn’t even help for my dogs, they were very trau­ma­tised.’

Other res­i­dents called for a to­tal ban of fire­works.

‘My dogs really suf­fered, even with my mu­sic on loud to drown out the sound of a full-blown bat­tle in a war zone. My Rot­tweiler tried to jump through a closed slid­ing door. Fire­works must be banned out­right,’ Mark van Vu­uren said on Face­book.

Saman­tha Wasser­man said: ‘It was very bad in Meerensee. They even threw them over our wall. Thank good­ness our dogs were in­side as soon as it started. I hate this. Ban it.’

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