BC SPCA urges animal lovers to sign federal fireworks petition
The BC SPCA is urging Canadians to sign a petition calling on the federal government to protect animals from the dangers of fireworks.
“For many, Halloween is a fun time for candy, costumes and fireworks,” says Meghann Cant, BC SPCA manager of companion animal welfare science & policy. “But, for animals, it’s one of the most frightful nights of the year.”
Exploding fireworks can be terrifying for pets, farm animals and wildlife. For instance, approximately 49 per cent of dogs are fearful of loud noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms and gunshots, while roughly 79 per cent of horses show anxious behaviour during fireworks displays. “Fireworks are creating serious issues for animals in our communities,” says Cant. “Now’s the time to ask the government to take steps to protect them.”
“I don’t think people realize the trauma surrounding fireworks for animals,” says Aleigh Ateyo, who works as an after-hours night emergency officer at the BC SPCA. “On nights when there are fireworks, the call load is always worse. The animals are frantic and once an animal is frightened and running, they are almost impossible to catch.”
She estimates that she receives upwards of 30-50 calls on Halloween night, most of which are related to the effects of fireworks.
“On occasions like Halloween or New Year’s Eve, calls come in rapidly,” she says. “Most of the calls involve a high number of animals that are hit by cars.” Ateyo says she receives a lot of calls from people who are out on a walk with their dogs on Halloween night, only to have their dog bolt due to the sound of fireworks. The BC SPCA also receives frequent calls about lost dogs and cats who ran off or broke through a fence or window because they were spooked by fireworks or wildlife behaving in unusual ways, including instances where raccoons, skunks and birds were trying to get inside a house or underneath a deck to hide from fireworks.
To help protect animals against fireworks, please visit petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3591.
In addition to signing the federal petition, here are some tips to help keep your pets safe on Halloween:
· Ensure your pet has at least two forms of identification in case they go missing. Pets should have a collar with tags and an ear tattoo or a microchip registered with the BC Pet Registry.
· Be mindful when you are opening a door to hand out candy since a lot of calls come in have to do with a dog or cat bursting through an opened door, trying to escape.
· If you must take an animal outside to relieve themselves, make sure they are appropriately leashed or harnessed and hold tight to the leash, even in your backyard.