Loud fireworks cause distress to pets and wildlife in the city
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.’